Rice is packed with nutrients that support a lean body and a good night’s sleep. But, we should cook rice with certain foods to prepare a great dinner for weight loss.
Is eating rice at dinner good for weight loss?
Many studies have been conducted about rice consumption and its effects on body weight and health. Researchers have analyzed large groups of people and traditional dietary patterns in which rice is a staple food.
Brown rice is a great source of energy that doesn’t make you fat when consumed in moderation, as part of a well-balanced diet. On the other hand, high amounts of white rice have been associated with obesity.[1,2,3]
Populations who thrive on rice and maintain a slim physique traditionally consume only unrefined rice.
In fact, rice can help you lose weight and even maintain a lean body year round, as it contains decent amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that involved in energy metabolism.
As a rule of thumb, we lose weight when we burn more calories than we consume. Therefore, it’s important to consume lots of filling foods with a few calories.
A cup of cooked rice has between 200 and 300 calories, depending on serving size, rice variety, as well as processing and cooking methods. Other rice products, such as rice crackers and noodles, have a medium calorie content as well.
As a rule of thumb, 1/3 cup of raw rice is needed for a cup of cooked rice. A serving size of raw rice weights about 75 grams. A medium cup of cooked rice weights about 230 grams.
Although rice isn’t pretty low in calories, it may help you lose weight because it has decent amounts of fiber. A cup provides more than 11% of the Daily Value!
A diet high in fiber is beneficial for weight loss. Fiber promotes satiety, as it delays digestion. Also, it expands in the stomach, taking a lot of space. It helps us eat less.
The role of rice protein in weight loss
Also, rice has some protein. Brown rice, in particular.
Protein also plays a key role in weight loss and maintaining a lean body year round.
Firstly, meals high in protein and fiber are the most filling ones. Secondly, protein has the highest thermic effect. About 30% of protein is burned during digestion!
Furthermore, protein prevents the loss of muscle tissue during dieting. Increased muscle mass is crucial for a lean body. It burns many calories.
Also, rice protein appears to inhibit the synthesis of new fat tissue! It may have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels as well.
Moreover, rice supports weight loss because it’s packed with many essential nutrients for the body.
For instance, rice helps us meet our daily needs of iron. Especially, brown rice. A cup provides about 5% of the recommended daily intake. On the other hand, white rice contains negligible amounts of iron.
Iron deficiency is very common, and it has been associated with increased risk of obesity.
Following a hypocaloric diet for weight loss, while treating iron deficiency anemia, can reduce waist circumference and substantially reduce body mass index in obese people.
Additionally, rice contains decent amounts of zinc. A cup provides more than 12% of the Daily Value.
Brown rice contains about 37% more zinc than white rice.
Overweight people who want to lose body weight should have normal levels of zinc. Zinc helps you follow a calorie-restricted diet for a long time because it regulates appetite. Also, it has favorable effects on insulin sensitivity and plays a beneficial role in obesity-induced, low-grade inflammation.
Rice is an excellent dietary source of manganese. A cup of brown rice provides up to 87% of the Daily Value. A serving of white rice provides 36% of the DV.
Brown rice has about 145% more manganese than white rice.
Obese people have significantly lower levels of manganese. Manganese is a crucial cofactor for several enzymes involved in fat metabolism. Also, it’s necessary for fighting oxidative stress and reversing many metabolic dysfunctions.
Moreover, a cup of cooked rice has about 19 mcg of selenium. This amount is 35% of the Daily Value.
High selenium intakes are vital for a lean body. Selenium improves body composition, as it prevents muscle loss while following a hypocaloric diet for weight loss. It may even help increase fat-free mass if you do resistance training.
In addition, rice contains decent amounts of vitamin B6. A cup provides about 9% of the Daily Value.
Getting adequate amounts of vitamin B6 is absolutely vital for weight loss. It improves waist to hip ratio as well as total body composition. Vitamin B6 also helps burn belly fat.
Among other health benefits, vitamin B6 has beneficial effects on insulin resistance, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Furthermore, rice is particularly high in niacin. A cup of brown rice has 4.7 mg of niacin. This dose is 30% of the Daily Value.
White rice has decent amounts of niacin as well. A cup provides 8% of the DV.
It’s important to get the recommended daily intake of niacin from our diet in order to lose those excess pounds. Niacin is crucial for glucose and fat metabolism.
But, too much niacin from supplements can make you gain weight.
May promote a good night’s sleep.
Last, but not least, consuming rice at dinner may have a beneficial effect on weight loss because it appears to support sleep quality and duration. Especially brown and wild rice are packed with compounds that are necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Getting enough sleep at night is key for maintaining a healthy body weight.
Fortified rices contain more beneficial nutrients for fat burning
Also, you could consume fortified rice products before bed. They’re usually enriched with folate, thiamine, or iron.
Regular rice has negligible amounts of folate. Only wild rice is naturally high in folate. A cup provides almost 20% of the DV.
On the other hand, fortified rice has about 230 mcg of folate per 100g. A cup of fortified rice provides 43% of the Daily Value. Most noteworthy, added folate (folic acid) is highly bioavailable.
Folate is involved in protein and fat metabolism. Obese people are more likely to have low levels of folate. In fact, just by rising serum folate concentrations by 1 ng/mL, the chance of successful weight loss is increased by 28%!
Also, a cup of fortified rice can provide 44% of the recommended daily intake of thiamine.
About 30% of people who follow the standard American diet are estimated to be deficient in thiamine. In addition, obese people have higher thiamine needs. Thiamine deficiency has been linked to increased risk of obesity, as it negatively affects metabolism.
Meat is the main dietary source of thiamine for many people.
However, you can naturally boost your daily intake by eating healthy, plant-based foods with thiamine. In fact, rice bran is the richest vegan food in thiamine.
White or brown rice for weight loss?
Certainly, brown rice is a much healthier food option for weight loss than white rice. As already mentioned, brown rice is much richer in vitamins and minerals.
The bran of all whole grains is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and many other health-promoting phytochemicals.
As white rice has a much poorer nutritional value, we should consume only small amounts if we want to lose weight.
After all, many studies have associated the regular consumption of refined grains with obesity.
There is no wonder why brown rice consumption as part of a well-balanced diet can significantly reduce body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference as compared to white rice. Brown rice has potent anti-obesity effects.
Moreover, rice bran may limit the metabolic diseases associated with obesity. It may also help burn belly fat.
Brown rice appears to have beneficial effects on LDL cholesterol and endothelial function in obese people.
Pre-germinated brown rice, in particular, decreases body weight. Also, it improves lipid profile and fasting blood glucose levels compared to white rice.
What’s the Glycemic Index of rice?
Another reason why white rice isn’t suitable in a hypocaloric diet for weight loss is because it spikes blood sugar levels.
Among others, increased glucose and insulin levels prevent weight loss because they keep you hungry all the time.
Therefore, white rice can lead to overeating.
We should neither consume too much brown rice at dinner, though. It can also cause high postprandial glucose responses. We should eat brown rice only in moderation while dieting.
Although most brown rices have a lower glycemic index than white rices, they should still be classified as staple foods with a high glycemic index.
The glycemic index of rice ranges from 55 to 104! Only high-amylose rice varieties may have a low glycemic index.
Best rice for weight loss according to science
Black rice is the best rice for weight loss as well as good health. Among others, it has the highest antioxidant capacity.
It can substantially improve antioxidant enzyme (e.g. glutathione peroxidase) activity as compared to white rice. That’s why black rice may help decrease total cholesterol.
Also, black rice can greatly reduce body weight and also improve body composition as compared to white rice.
How to eat rice at dinner for a lean body?
It’s vital to eat boiled rice with certain foods at dinner for good health and maintaining a normal body weight.
Firstly, we should eat rice with protein-rich foods at dinner. Protein plays a key role in blood glucose control.
Also, about 30% of calories of protein are burned during digestion.
Last, but not least, protein may help you sleep better at night.
Common foods high in protein that taste great with rice are meat, cheese, eggs, tofu, mushrooms, quinoa, chia, and hemp seeds. Even certain vegetables, like spinach and kale, are particularly high in protein.
Beans are excellent plant-based sources of protein as well. But, they have too many calories. Prefer combining rice with lentils for dinner. Lentils and fava are the beans with the lowest calorie content. Moreover, lentils are more easily digested as compared to other beans. Still, if you have a sensitive stomach, better avoid consuming them before bed.
Foods high in fiber
Furthermore, it’s crucial to eat rice with foods high in fiber at dinner. Fiber manages postprandial glucose responses and promotes the feeling of fullness until bedtime. Hence, it helps you prevent late night snacking.
All vegetables and herbs are great dietary sources of fiber. Whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fruits help meet your daily needs as well.
Beans can skyrocket your daily fiber intake as well. A serving may provide more than 50% of the Daily Value.
You could prepare a dinner with rice and peppers, onions, carrots, tomato, mushrooms, beans, spinach, kale, quinoa, chia seeds etc.
In addition, you should eat rice with foods high in melatonin at night. Melatonin is the most important hormone for a good night’s sleep!
Moreover, it’s beneficial for weight loss. Among others, melatonin controls appetite and increases metabolism.
Peppers, tomato, and mushrooms are common foods with melatonin that could be used in many rice recipes.
Moreover, tomatoes and peppers are among the best sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is necessary for weight loss. Among other, it plays a role in fat metabolism.
Also, vitamin C is beneficial for sleep onset latency and duration.
Other foods containing vitamin C that can be incorporated in a rice recipe are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and spinach.
Additionally, you should prepare dinner with foods high in vitamin E. Rice contains negligible amounts.
Vitamin E plays a key role in glucose metabolism and may even improve your metabolic profile!
Furthermore, obese people are more likely to be deficient in vitamin E.
Wheat germ oil is the richest food in vitamin E. Just a tablespoon provides more vitamin E than the recommended daily intake. It’s pretty cheap as well.
Sunflower oil, almonds, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, and tomato are other common favorite foods with decent amounts of vitamin E.
In addition, if you cook rice for dinner, you should prepare it with foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidant compounds fight oxidative stress and chronic low-grade inflammation, which are common causes of obesity.
As a rule of thumb, herbs and spices are the richest foods in antioxidants.
Vegetables are also excellent sources of antioxidants. For instance, carrots, peppers, squash, turnip greens, dandelion greens, collards, sweet potato, and spinach are the best dietary sources of carotenoids.
As plant-based foods aren’t good dietary sources of vitamin B12, vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty common, and it has been associated with obesity.
Only tempeh, nori, and nutritional yeast are vegan foods naturally containing some vitamin B12.
Rice is also a poor source of vitamin B12.
Hence, we should eat rice with foods containing some vitamin B12, such as eggs, poultry, red meat, fish, or dairy products.
Furthermore, you should eat rice with foods high in magnesium at dinner. Magnesium supports weight loss, as it regulates glucose metabolism.
Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, black beans, spinach, and kale are among the richest common foods in magnesium.
Moreover, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are among the richest foods in omega-3s. Omega-3s appear to play a role in burning belly fat and improving body composition. Additionally, they may improve sleep quality and duration.
You could add these seeds to many healthy dinner recipes with rice.
20 easy recipe ideas for dinner with rice!
There are countless easy recipe ideas with rice. Here are 20 popular and quick recipes with rice.
10 easy Vegan recipes with rice for dinner
- Spicy Vegetable Fried Rice: Heat up some oil in a frying pan. Add garlic, sliced carrots, bell peppers, and any other vegetable of your choice. Add cooked rice and stir-fry everything together. Season with soy sauce, chili flakes, turmeric, and black pepper. Garnish with chopped green onions and fresh cilantro.
- Vegan Paella: In a large pan, sauté onions, garlic, and chopped bell peppers. Add cooked rice and stir well. Pour in vegetable broth. Add chopped tomatoes, saffron, smoked paprika, and dried thyme.
- Curry Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté chopped onions, and garlic. Add diced sweet potatoes and cauliflower florets. Cook until they start to soften. Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Pour in vegan milk and let everything simmer until the vegetables are tender. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Mushroom Risotto: In a large pot, heat up some oil and sauté chopped mushrooms. Add rice and stir until coated. Pour in vegetable broth. When the rice is cooked, add chopped fresh thyme and parsley, nutritional yeast, and black pepper.
- Red Beans and Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pot, sauté diced onions, bell peppers, and celery until soft. Add canned red beans, garlic, and smoked paprika. Pour in vegetable broth and let it simmer. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Tomato Basil Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced onions and garlic until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes. Season with dried basil, oregano, and thyme. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Bell peppers & celery Rice: In a large pot, sauté diced onions, bell peppers, and celery until soft. Add sliced vegan sausage, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and rice. Season with smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Let it simmer until the rice is cooked.
- Mexican Rice Bowl: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced onions and garlic until fragrant. Add canned black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn. Season with chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Serve over the cooked rice with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro.
- Rice Pilaf: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pot, sauté diced onions and garlic until fragrant. Add vegetable broth and let it come to a boil. Stir in chopped fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Tofu Fried Rice: In a large wok or frying pan, sauté diced onions and garlic until fragrant. Add crumbled tofu and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add cooked rice and chopped carrots. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. Garnish with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.
10 favorite recipes with rice to eat at dinner for weight loss
- Chicken and Mango Rice Bowl: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced chicken until cooked through. Add chopped mango, red bell pepper, and green onions. Season with curry powder, cumin, and coriander. Serve over the cooked rice with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Tuna and Avocado Rice Bowl: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate bowl, mix together canned tuna, sliced avocado, cucumber, and scallions. Season with lime juice, soy sauce, and chili flakes. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Egg Fried Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a frying pan, scramble eggs until cooked through. Add cooked rice and diced carrots. Season with soy sauce, oil, and black pepper.
- Turkey and Cranberry Rice Bowl: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced turkey until cooked through. Add raisins, chopped almonds, and fresh parsley. Season with dried thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole: Preheat oven to 375 °F. Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced chicken and broccoli florets until cooked through. Mix together cooked rice, chicken and broccoli mixture. Add cheddar cheese. Season with garlic powder and dried basil. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for 20–25 minutes.
- Yogurt and Herb Rice Salad: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate bowl, mix together Greek plain yogurt, chopped fresh mint, dill, and cucumber. Season with lemon juice, garlic powder, and black pepper. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a large pan, sauté diced chicken until cooked through. Add sliced bell peppers and tomatoes. Season with garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Stir in cooked rice and cheddar cheese until melted.
- Tuna and Cheese Stuffed Bell Peppers: Preheat oven to 350 °F. Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate bowl, mix together canned tuna, cooked rice, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped red onion. Season with lemon juice, dried basil, and black pepper. Stuff the mixture into bell peppers. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes.
- Turkey and Sweet Potato Rice Bowl: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté diced turkey and diced sweet potatoes until cooked through. Add sliced scallions. Season with garlic powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Serve over the cooked rice.
- Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice: Cook rice according to package instructions. In a pan, scramble eggs until cooked through. Add sliced bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Season with soy sauce, ginger powder, and black pepper.
Can eating rice before bed make me fat?
Eating rice at dinner isn’t a good idea if you want to lose weight. Actually, eating rice before bed can easily make you fat.
Above all, you should be very cautious with portion sizes. Most people consume more calories than they believe.
Moreover, you shouldn’t cook rice with fatty ingredients, like vegetable oils or butter. They have too many calories, as they’re almost 100% fat.
You should only consume boiled rice before bed. Serve it with other low-calorie foods, such as veggies or mushrooms.
How much rice can I eat at dinner when on a diet?
People who follow a sedentary life should avoid consuming foods high in carbs at dinner if they try to lose some weight. Only athletes and active people can eat some rice or any other carbohydrate-rich food before bed without gaining weight.
Certainly, small amounts of rice at night, as part of a well-balanced diet, won’t make you fat. You could eat 1/3 cup of cooked rice at dinner. It’s the equivalent of a serving.
However, you should be very mindful of portion sizes. According to a study, it’s very easy to gain more than 6 lbs per year if you regularly eat too much white rice at dinner.
Should I eat rice at dinner?
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid consuming rice before bed if you’re on a diet. Especially, white rice. It’s easy to consume more than the maximum recommended amount. Prefer consuming vegetables, or whole fruits, instead.
How long before bed should I eat rice?
Having dinner right before bed increases the risk of weight gain 5 times! You should have dinner at least two hours before bedtime. As rice is high in net carbs, it may be better to eat rice early in the afternoon.
What’s the best time of the day to eat rice for weight loss?
The best time of the day to eat rice for weight loss is after strenuous exercise. Especially white rice is great post-workout food. It promotes muscle recovery, as it helps the body replenish muscle glycogen stores.
Other great late-night snacks for weight loss
In fact, there are too many foods you can eat for dinner. Yogurt, vegetable salad, fruit salad, popcorn, and even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich are great late-night snacks. They may help you lose weight and even sleep better at night.