Let There Be (USA) Rice This Holiday Season

Did you know that USA Rice is among the three most widely produced and consumed grains in the world?

If you ask me, it also happens to be in the top three most delicious category too!

That’s exactly why I did not think twice about collaborating once again with the USA Rice Federation as part of their Think Rice Campaign. The Think Rice campaign is to spotlight rice’s versatility and the idea it can be enjoyed in many different ways on different meal occasions.

I appreciate that the holiday season brings with its additional pressures in the both the economic and health realms.

Pressure that has certainly been amplified in what has been an incredibly challenging year.

In today’s post my goal is help my fellow Canadians appreciate why U.S.-grown rice is an affordable, versatile and extremely nutritious choice that they should not think twice about preparing both for themselves and their loved ones.

I really want you guys to be able to enjoy a happy healthy holiday season and know that you don’t need some obscure expensive foods, or to avoid carbohydrates, to do so.

A single serving of rice (½ cup) only costs about 10 cents from grocer to plate.

That’s one of many fast facts on rice I plan to introduce to you guys in today’s post.

Oh and,

Did You Know…. The vast majority of rice consumed in Canada is U.S.-grown!

Don’t believe me?

Take a closer look at your rice products at home, you might be surprised to learn that many of them come from south of the border.

The rice that you see me pictured with in the cover photo was actually grown in …….  ( TBD, let me see what rice I have at home!)

The states that produce the most rice include Texas, Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Missouri.

I think it’s very important to have some level of understanding of where your food comes from, and hopefully you guys agree with me on that.

Why It Needs to Be Rice This Holiday Season

I’m sure many of you can appreciate that the accessibility, affordability and ease of preparation means that rice is a strong choice this, and every, holiday season.

But I also want to expand the dialogue to include an honest discussion of the health benefits associated with rice consumption.

My most recent book on the DASH diet explores the dietary strategies an individual could employ to reduce their blood pressure and improve their health in the process.

Rice is a DASH friendly grain, particularly because it is a source of both potassium and magnesium, two nutrients which are considered fundamental to blood pressure lowering.

Oh, and for those that may not know, rice is also naturally sodium-free.

These are really important considerations because the reality is that 1 in 4 Canadians are suffering from high blood pressure and high blood pressure medications are among the most frequently prescribed pharmaceuticals in Canada.

I also find that some of my clients spend time thinking about the glycemic index of their foods, and it’s important to know that both brown rice and parboiled white rice are considered moderate GI foods.

Brown rice, by the way, also contains a considerable amount of beneficial antioxidant compounds as well!

Make The Most Of Your Rice This Holiday Season

There is no denying that rice is widely enjoyed and has a big role to play in the diets of many Canadians.

But how can you make the most of your rice consumption?

Once purchased, unopened rice has an incredible shelf life.

Brown rice will last 6 months while milled rice will last a lifetime, not bad right?

So, once you have your rice, what is the most nutritionally savvy way to utilize it?

As a dietitian, I generally recommend combining it, when possible, with a source of protein (fish, chicken, shrimp, lentils, chickpeas, tofu) and veggies.

So, let’s find out how we can bring this to life in fun and unique ways.

Five Ways To Use Rice In A Balanced Meal

The Think Rice campaign you to use rice in 5 different ways for 5 different days, and I’m going to provide a wide variety of examples to help bring to life just how versatile U.S.-grown rice really is.

Let’s see what I came up with:

Want To Pair With Fish?  Try Brown Rice Sambal Trout Lotus Leaf

With Tofu?  Try this Sheet Pan Tofu With Sesame Rice

With Lentils & Chickpeas? Try this Spicy Cilantro Lime Rice

With Chicken? Try this Thai Green Chicken Curry

With Shrimp? Try this Two Tone Rice Salad

For other recipes using USA Rice, check out www.riceinfo.com.

And Before You Go Don’t Forget That…

Cooked rice, once cooled and sealed, can be safely stored in the fridge for 3-5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

I will leave you with that.

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH