Rice is a staple in many cuisines and family meals. This month, September, not only celebrates Family Meals Month, but also Rice Month!
Rice is a grain and common as a side or part of the main dish such as in a casserole. Rice is predominantly a source of carbohydrates which provides energy for the body.
When it comes to rice, there are many varieties. White rice is refined and while not the most nutritious variety, white rice can still be part of a healthy, balanced diet. White rice is fortified so it contains added vitamins and minerals which support health. Brown rice is the whole grain version containing more fiber. Wild rice is also a whole grain and is most commonly blended with white or brown rice. Arborio, basmati, and sticky rice are also common options, but are nutritionally similar to white, refined rice.
When it comes to choosing rice, for the healthier options, look for those that are ‘whole grain’ such as brown rice and 100% wild rice or wild rice blended with brown rice.
Rice also comes in a variety of precooked forms. Rice is sold in packages and can be: pre-cooked, partially cooked, or not cooked. In addition to choosing a whole grain rice, choose an option that fits your budget and lifestyle. While a rice that is not cooked costs less, it takes longer to cook. Instant or prepackaged, 90 second rice, costs a little more, but saves time in the kitchen and allows you to put a quick and nutritious meal on the table.
The serving size for rice is actually 1/3 cup, but you may see it listed as 1/2 cup on the Nutrition Facts panels on the packages. One serving of rice contains 15 or so grams of carbohydrates, or one carb/carbohydrate choice. Brown rice adds fiber and vitamins and minerals where white rice only adds vitamins and minerals. Since half of our grains should be whole, a good approach is to eat whole grains at home and not worry if whole grain when dining out.
To get you started cooking at home, here is an easy and delicious recipe to try tonight:
Broccoli Cheesy Rice Skillet
Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home
- 2 tablespoons Our Family extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 medium onion, diced (use 1/4 cup for a less onion-y flavor)
- 1 pound Open Acres boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small, bite-sizes pieces
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 cup Our Family brown rice, uncooked
- 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups of Our Family reduced sodium or Full Circle low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups Our Family shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook until tender.
- Add the chicken and garlic to the pan. Cook until chicken reaches 165 degrees F and is no longer pink.
- Add the uncooked rice to the cooked chicken and cook for a minute while continuingly stirring.
- Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid.
- Cook covered for about 12 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and stir to combine. Continue to cook covered another 8 minutes or until broccoli and rice are both tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of cheese.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover with a lid, letting it sit for 1-2 minutes or until cheese has melted. Enjoy!
This month gather your family at the table to celebrate Rice Month and Family Meals Month with a nutritious meal!
This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.