Growing up in a Cuban household meant the white rice was part of dinner at least 4 to 5 times per week, if not every day. Yes the rice was often accompanied by frijoles negros, lenteja or frijoles colorados. Long grain white rice was also used for congri which is red or black beans and long grain white rice. Short grain rice was used in dishes like arroz con pollo (yellow rice and chicken) and paella. Rice was also included in arroz con leche aka rice pudding.
Now that I run my own household I started to realize that perhaps white rice was not the best choice for me. It seemed harder to lose weight when we ate carbs at every dinner. But why? Don’t they consume rice in China daily and most people seem to be skinny? It also seems that white rice is processed and most of the good benefits are removed, so it is empty calories. It’s low in fiber and can be hard to digest.
So if you are looking to keep rice in your meal plan, the best rices to eat are brown rice, wild rice, red rice or black rice. These all have fiber and other nutrients. Also try to buy organic whenever possible.
So then which is better – brown rice or quinoa? If you compare a cup of each cooked, you would find that brown rice has a few less calories, half the fat (1.8 g vs 3.6 g), it has less sodium, higher vitamin B3 and more selenium which the body uses to produce antioxidants. Quinoa does have a lot more protein (8 grams vs. 5 grams,) more fiber, 4 times the iron which helps with your immune system, more phosphorus, potassium and folate. Quinoa does cook faster than rice and has lower arsenic levels.