Brown rice is better than white rice. Research studies have shown that compared to white rice, brown rice may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, is richer in fiber and contains higher levels of magnesium which is linked to bone and heart health. However, knowing the health benefits of brown rice does not necessarily translate into incorporating it into your diet. So here are a few tips that may help you replace white rice with brown rice in your diet.
- Plan Your Meals
One of the keys to a successful fitness journey is planning, not just your workouts, but also your meals. By planning your meals, you empower yourself to make thoughtful decisions about what you eat and when you eat. As you plan your meals you can identify the meals where brown rice will be your staple. One way to implement your meal planning is to do meal prep. If you are new to meal prep be sure to read my posts Getting Started with Meal Prep and Meal Prep: An Overview.
- Use Your Favorite Side Dishes
It may take some time before you begin to prefer brown rice over white rice. So in the interim (and I promise you’ll begin to appreciate brown rice), when planning meals that include brown rice incorporate a side dish that you enjoy. You will make your meal more enjoyable by pairing brown rice with a favorite side dish. You are more likely to replicate an experience that you enjoyed than one that was unpleasant.
- Treat It Like White Rice
Although its texture and taste are different from white rice, you can treat cooked brown rice just like you would cooked white rice. All your favorite recipes, including rice and beans and even jambalaya, can be made using brown rice instead of white rice. So the next time you do your meal planning take a moment to think of how you can use brown rice to upgrade your favorite rice dishes.
- Be Creative
Think of brown rice as a blank canvas patiently waiting for you to add to your signature colors and flavors. Brown rice naturally has more flavor than white rice, however, you can add more. On my website, My Body My Kitchen, I have several recipes that use everyday spices, fresh herbs and vegetables to transform brown rice into tasty, healthy dishes. Take a moment to read some of these recipes to get some inspiration.
Below is a dish that you can try the next time you decide to cook rice. This recipe uses brown rice and incorporates several colors and flavors in the form of fresh bell peppers, green onions and okra. Yum! I recommend that you have this dish with broccoli or sautéed spinach.
Okra Dirty Rice with Smoked Chicken Sausage
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook time: 45 mins | Servings: 5
2 Cups Okra, chopped
1/2 lb. Smoked Chicken Sausage, cooked & sliced
2 1/2 Cups Water
1 1/4 Cups Brown Rice
2 Cups Red Bell Peppers, chopped
1 Cup Red Onions, chopped
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Tsp Coconut Oil
1 Tsp Honey
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
- Bring water to boil then add rice. When water begins to boil again, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for about 40 minutes until rice is tender; stir once after about 20 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium-high heat in nonstick; add okra and sauté about 6 minutes; remove okra and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil and sauté onions, garlic, thyme and chicken sausage for about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add cooked rice, honey, okra and spices; cook for about 3 minutes and mix well.
- Add salt pepper to taste.
Macronutrients: 247 Calories, Protein 13g, Carbohydrate 25g, Fat 11g
Mohan V, Spiegelman D, Sudha V, et al. Effect of Brown Rice, White Rice, and Brown Rice with Legumes on Blood Glucose and Insulin Responses in Overweight Asian Indians: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. 2014;16(5):317-325. doi:10.1089/dia.2013.0259.
Sun Q, Spiegelman D, van Dam RM, et al. White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women. Archives of internal medicine. 2010;170(11):961-969. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109.