Dietitian ranks the healthiest microwavable rice in Australian supermarkets

Love microwavable rice? Here are the healthiest brands to stock up on according to dietitian Melissa Meier. 

There’s a common misconception that being healthy takes a lot of time, money and effort – but as a dietitian, I wholeheartedly disagree.

Case in point: microwavable rice. Ready in a minute or two for a little as 75 cents a pop and absolutely no washing up. And you bet it’s a healthy pantry staple.

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Is rice good for you?

The short answer is: yes. Rice can be extremely good for you – but there’s a few disclaimers. The first revolves around the type of rice you choose. I’d encourage you to opt for wholegrain rice (think: brown rice) over white rice, because wholegrains are much more nutritious than their refined counterparts. That’s because wholegrains contain all three layers of the grain:

1. The outer layer called the bran, which is fibre-rich

2. The core called the germ, which is chock-full of micronutrients

3. The middle layer called the endosperm, which is mostly starchy carbs

Another thing to consider, which may seem a bit novel, is the length of the rice grain. Short grain rice, like Arborio rice, has a high glycaemic index. That means your blood sugars will quickly spike and crash, which will leave you feeling lethargic and hungry pretty soon. Long grain rice like basmati, on the other hand, has a low glycaemic index, so your blood sugars will gently rise and fall, providing long-lasting energy and a fullness factor.

Portion size is also key. Yes, rice (and quinoa, couscous and so on) is healthy – but too much of anything isn’t a wise idea. I’d recommend you cap your rice intake at just one cup of cooked rice per meal (read: not the mountains you’re usually served up at your local Chinese restaurant). That will leave enough room in your meal to fit an adequate portion of veggies and lean protein.

The healthiest microwavable rice

Tilda Brown Basmati ($3.40 at Woolworths)

This variety is made with long grain basmati rice and so is my top recommendation.

Per 125g serve:

  • 667kJ (158cal)
  • 3.5g protein
  • 0.6g sat fat
  • 2.1g fibre
  • Less than 12mg of sodium

Imperial Grain Steamed Brown Rice and Chia Seed (in-stores at Aldi)

Made with three per cent chia seeds, this pouch offers a hit of healthy fats to support your heart and brain.

Per 125g serve:

  • 786kJ (188cal)
  • 4.5g protein
  • 0.4g sat fat
  • 37.3g carbs
  • 4g fibre
  • 10mg sodium

SunRice Steamed Rice Super Grains Active Blend ($3 at Coles)

For something a little different, this product contains millet, quinoa and buckwheat along with brown rice. These wholegrain additions offer extra fibre and protein.

Per 125g serve:

  • 774kJ (185cal)
  • 5g protein
  • 1g sat fat
  • 43.4g carbs
  • 3.4g fibre
  • 16mg sodium

Coles Black Rice (at Coles)

A goodie for salads, black rice offers a different flavour to the usual white and brown varieties.

Per 125g serve:

  • 935kJ (223cal)
  • 4.6g protein
  • 0.4g sat fat
  • 47.6g carbs
  • 2.1g fibre
  • 250mg sodium

Imperial Grain Steamed White and Red Quinoa (in-stores at Aldi)

Ok, so technically not rice, but it sits in the same category and is a nice alternative if you eat a lot of rice.

Per 125g serve:

  • 808kJ (194cal)
  • 5.4g protein
  • 0.8g sat fat
  • 31.1g carbs
  • 7.3g fibre
  • 9mg sodium

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.