I was never a big fan of rice. I ate it occasionally but it wasn’t something that I ever went out of my way to make. That is until I first had basmati rice. The taste and texture of it appeals to me in ways which I cannot describe. I’m now craving it so much I have to tell myself to relax and space out my meals that include rice. After all, foods that are white are bad for you, right?
Well, it all depends what we’re talking about. Whole grain bread, pasta, and rice will contain more fiber than their processed, white counterparts. Whole grain rice also has more calcium and vitamin E than white rice. But is all white rice bad?
Something that’s common to all rice–white or whole grain–is that it’s virtually fat-free, low in sodium, and it’s gluten-free, too. People who have legitimate conditions where they cannot consume gluten can eat all the rice they want. White and whole grain rice also contains eight essential amino acids, vitamins, iron, and potassium. So white rice isn’t something that should be written off completely the way some people say all white bread is bad.
I think the key to eating rice is to have it as part of a meal rather than your entire meal. Sure, I could sit down and eat an entire bowl full of basmati rice with nothing else, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll use a bit of basmati rice as the base and then add things into it to complement it. A little bit of chicken and a lot of vegetables combined with the rice is a healthy way to satisfy my craving for rice while enjoying a balanced meal that’s delicious and filling.
I try to eat healthy, avoiding carbs and starches whenever possible. That means I stay away from potato and tortilla chips, french fries, and pasta as much as I can. The one thing that I can’t seem to give up though is bread. I love it as toast in the morning, made into a grilled cheese at lunch, and as a side of garlic bread with a steak for dinner.
Like everything, there are good and bad options, and bread is no exception. Knowing which is which is important, especially with bread, as what you think might be healthy is anything but. White bread is bad, everyone should know that by now, it’s no secret. With all traces of husk and brain stripped away from the grain, refined white flour is then bleached with chemicals which eliminates anything that your body would recognize as being good for you. What’s left then has gluten and sugar added to it before it’s baked into white bread.
At the grocery store you may think that skipping the white bread in favor of whole wheat is a smart choice, but it’s really not. Unless it says 100% whole grain bread, you’re simply buying white bread with wheat added to it to disguise it as a healthy product. You’ll still experience the same sugar high that you’d get from white bread, and the inevitable crash that follows.
As I mentioned, the key to finding a healthy bread at the supermarket is to look for breads labeled as 100% whole grain. This means that the flour has not been refined so it still contains its nutrients. Whole grains contain fiber, which helps you stay full, vitamins, and protein as well. While all breads contain sugar to activate the yeast, you’ll want to make sure that it’s not the first or second ingredient. Four or five ingredients deep and you’re likely making a good choice.
But there are so many different types of breads to choose from, so which one is truly a good choice? Rather than looking at the packaging of the bread, flip it over and look for the nutritional information. The fewer ingredients the better. Avoid breads made with high fructose corn syrup, honey, or any kinds of coloring. The old adage of “less is more” proves once again to be true when it comes to the foods we eat.