White rice is a great post-workout meal. Only then, even 1–2 cups support weight loss and muscle growth. Brown rice is a much healthier food choice, though. Especially when combined with nutrient-dense foods high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
White rice after a workout supports weight loss!
Consuming reasonable amounts of rice as part of a well-balanced diet is good for weight loss and maintaining a lean body year round.
Certainly, caloric deficit plays a key role in weight loss. However, meal timing could also play an important role in weight loss.
The body’s sensitivity to insulin varies greatly throughout the day. It is high in the morning or after exercise, but deteriorates at night. That’s why the best time of the day to eat white rice is after a workout.
Rice helps replenish muscle glycogen stores
After strenuous exercise, the muscle glycogen stores are depleted. Athletes should consume foods high in net carbs to replenish them as soon as possible.
Therefore, eating rice after a workout won’t make you fat. On the contrary, it’s a good source of easily digested carbs that the body needs.
Muscle glycogen replenishment is vital for muscle recovery. Especially for athletes who perform exhaustive exercise every day. Otherwise, you may feel fatigue and have poor athletic performance.
Rice is mainly starch. About 85% of its calories come from starch. Also, it has some sugar, fiber, and protein.
Rice keeps you full
Moreover, rice promotes the feeling of fullness with only a few calories. A large cup of cooked rice has fewer than 300 calories.
But, only boiled rice is suitable on a hypocaloric diet for weight loss. We shouldn’t cook rice with too much vegetable oil, butter, or any other calorie-dense food.
It’s easier to follow a long-term diet for weight loss if we consume lots of filling foods containing a few calories.
Rice is filling because it has some fiber and protein. Fiber and protein delay digestion. Especially when combined.
Fiber also regulates postprandial glucose responses and insulin levels. Hence, prefer consuming rice varieties with a fiber-rich content.
Moreover, eating rice after exercise supports weight loss because it’s an excellent dietary source of zinc. A cup of brown rice provides about 12% of the Daily Value. White rice is poor in zinc, though.
It’s crucial to get the recommended daily intake of zinc if you try to lose weight.
Firstly, athletes have increased zinc requirements. High zinc intake is vital for a lean body and athletic performance.
Also, zinc helps you lose weight. Among other health benefits, it controls hunger and insulin sensitivity. In addition, zinc fights obesity-induced, low-grade inflammation.
You could eat rice with common foods high in zinc, such as meat, fish, or other seafood. Vegan foods with decent amounts of zinc are beans, seeds, and nuts.
However, among the richest foods in zinc is wild rice. A cup provides about 40% of the Daily Value. In fact, wild rice has a great nutritional value. You should combine it with white or brown rice.
Furthermore, rice is one of the best dietary sources of manganese. A cup of brown rice provides up to 87% of the Daily Value. White rice has decent amounts as well.
A diet high in manganese is necessary for weight loss. Manganese helps maintain a lean body because it’s involved in protein, fat and glucose metabolism.
Also, it’s necessary for strong bones and immune system. It may help neutralize exercise-induced oxidative stress, promoting muscle recovery.
Hence, it’s vital for athletes to get the recommended daily intake from their diet.
However, modern diets are poor in manganese as compared to traditional diets followed by people a few decades ago. Only plant-based diets are high in manganese.
Moreover, certain rice varieties contain decent amounts of selenium. For instance, a cup of cooked, long-grain rice has about 19 mcg of selenium. This dose is 35% of the Daily Value.
Selenium is a key mineral for weight loss. Among other health benefits, selenium regulates thyroid hormones and helps burn more body fat, especially belly fat, while dieting. Most noteworthy, it minimizes muscle mass loss while following a low-calorie diet for weight loss.
Additionally, athletes who do resistance training require high selenium intakes in order to build muscle mass and maintain a lean body.
Also, rice is a good dietary source of vitamin B6. A serving provides about 9% of the recommended daily intake.
We have to get high dosages of vitamin B6 for weight loss.
Vitamin B6 plays a role in insulin resistance, as well as LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
In fact, high vitamin B6 intakes help athletes build a leaner body. It appears to improve total body composition and waist to hip ratio! Vitamin B6 helps burn belly fat in particular.
Furthermore, rice is a great dietary source of niacin. A serving of brown rice provides up to 30% of the Daily Value. On the other hand, white rice provides only 8% of the DV.
It’s crucial to get adequate amounts of niacin from diet for a lean body. Among others, it’s involved in glucose and fat metabolism.
How much rice can I eat after a workout if I am on a diet?
As a rule of thumb, overweight people who want to lose weight should eat only small portion sizes of rice. The regular consumption of high amounts of white rice has been linked to increased risk of obesity.
Hence, a cup of rice is the maximum safe limit for most people on a diet. Less is better, though.
A cup of boiled rice has between 200 and 300 calories, depending on cooking method and rice type.
Most athletes have increased requirements in carbs and calories, though.
Bodybuilders and athletes who work out for muscle hypertrophy and strength should benefit by eating rice after exhaustive exercise. Rice promotes muscle recovery, as it replenishes muscle glycogen stores.
In this case, athletes could eat more than a cup of rice after exercise without gaining weight.
Also, endurance athletes could eat 2 cups of white rice after a workout.
Only bodybuilders who are on the cutting phase or athletes who want to lose body weight fast should consume less rice after their training sessions.
How long after exercise should I eat rice?
You can eat white rice right after a workout. White rice, in particular, is a great post-workout meal. It quickly replenishes muscle glycogen stores.
On the contrary, brown rice shouldn’t be the first meal after strenuous exercise. As it has more fiber, it’s digested more slowly. It’s preferable to be the second post-workout meal. So, athletes could eat brown or wild rice a couple of minutes after consuming a snack high in sugar or starch.
Right after exercise, we could eat candy! The first snack after exercise should be high in easily digested carbs as well as some protein.
White or brown rice after exercise for weight loss?
White rice is the best option for elite athletes who daily perform demanding exercise and have huge energy requirements.
Brown rice is preferable for most amateur athletes and fitness enthusiasts, though. Simply, it has a superior nutritional value as compared to white rice.
Rice bran is more than vitamins and minerals. It’s packed with potent antioxidant compounds that have many health benefits. They fight inflammation, protect the heart, and may lower blood pressure! Also, rice bran may prevent the growth of fat tissue and the development of obesity.[7,8]
White rice isn’t as nutritious. The milling process removes health promoting compounds present in rice bran.
Brown rice contains significantly higher amounts of dietary fiber, proteins, iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, niacin, vitamin B6, and several bioactive compounds.
Athletes could even eat French fries after exercise without gaining weight.
What’s the healthiest rice for weight loss?
Brown rice is the best common rice an athlete should eat. However, there are much healthier food options.
Colored (red or purple) rice varieties have high amounts of bioactive compounds, such as flavonoids.
Germinated brown rice may be the healthiest rice you can eat for weight loss, though. It has up to 10 times more antioxidant compounds than milled rice.
In fact, according to studies, pre-germinated brown rice may improve obesity-related measurements, blood pressure, as well as blood glucose and lipid levels. It may improve HDL./LDL cholesterol ratio.
In addition, wild rice supports weight loss and good health, as it has richer nutritional value than white or even brown rice.
Should athletes eat fortified rice for a lean body?
Moreover, athletes could eat fortified rice. It’s usually enriched with folate, thiamine, or iron.
Common white and brown rices are poor dietary sources of folate. Only wild rice is naturally high in folate. A cup provides almost 20% of the Daily Value.
However, there are fortified rices containing up to 230 mcg of folate per 100g. A serving provides 43% of the Daily Value.
It’s important for athletes who dieting for a lean body to get high folate intakes from their diet.
Firstly, folate is involved in protein and fat metabolism. In fact, just by rising serum folate concentrations by 1 ng/mL, the chances of successful weight loss are increased by 28%!
Obese and overweight people are more likely to have low levels of folate, though.
Additionally, folate protects the heart of athletes. It seems to decrease elevated homocysteine levels. Intense exercise may cause high concentrations of this amino acid. High levels of homocysteine may be dangerous for the heart, though.
Also, fortified rice is usually enriched with thiamine. A serving can provide up to 44% of the Daily Value.
About 30% of people who follow modern Western diets are deficient in thiamine. But, thiamine deficiency greatly increases the risk of obesity.
Moreover, overweight people have increased thiamine needs.
Although meat is the main dietary source of thiamine for many people, you can boost your daily intake by consuming plant-based foods with thiamine. Actually, one of the richest vegan foods in thiamine is rice bran.
How to prepare the ultimate post-workout rice-based meal?
Eating rice after a workout isn’t enough for fast weight loss and muscle recovery. You should prepare a meal with certain food combinations for the best results.
Firstly, rice should be combined with at least one source of protein. Besides meat, tuna, egg, and dairy products, you could add vegan protein sources to rice recipes, such as beans, tofu, avocado, seeds, quinoa, spinach, kale, and many more.
Protein is necessary for preserving and even building muscle mass while dieting. Increased muscle mass improves basal metabolism and helps you maintain a lean body year round.
Moreover, protein-rich diets support weight loss because protein has the highest thermic effect. About 30% of calories of protein are burned during digestion! Also, protein promotes the feeling of fullness for many hours. Hence, it regulates total energy intake.
Fiber has a high satiety effect as well. Especially when combined with protein.
Fiber delays digestion and takes a lot of space in the stomach. So we feel full for hours.
Only plant-based foods are high in fiber, though. Eat rice with beans, vegetables, mushrooms, or fruits (e.g. avocado) to skyrocket your daily fiber intake.
Above all, we should cook rice with foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidant compounds fight oxidative stress, which is a common cause of obesity. Herbs and spices are the richest foods in antioxidants. Vegetables and fruits are particularly rich in antioxidants as well.
For instance, vegetables and fruits are the main dietary sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a key vitamin for weight loss. Also, athletes require much higher dosages of vitamin C than the general population.
In addition, it’s beneficial for weight loss to eat rice dishes containing foods high in iron.
Iron deficiency is very common worldwide. It has been associated with increased risk of obesity and fatigue.
Dandelion greens. spinach, kale, quinoa, and raisins are among the best vegan sources of iron that can be great ingredients to many rice-based recipes.
People who want to lose some extra pounds should also consume foods with omega-3s.
Modern diets are pretty high in omega-6s, while they’re low in omega-3s. The omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 15 or higher. Our ancestors used to get the same amount of omega-6s and omega-3s, though.
A high omega-6/omega-3 ratio can cause chronic low-grade inflammation and even obesity.
Besides, fish, we can get high amounts of omega-3s from certain seeds and nuts. Avocado is also a good dietary source of omega-3s.
Moreover, a post-workout meal high in omega-3s can help athletes build muscle mass!
Another common nutrient deficiency is observed in the case of vitamin B12. Actually, only a few foods are good dietary sources of vitamin B12.
Athletes should be very mindful of getting high dosages of vitamin B12. Adequate amounts are important for increased energy and endurance. Most noteworthy, vitamin B12 protects the heart, as it’s involved in the metabolism of homocysteine.
Foods with vitamin B12 that can be used in many rice recipes are eggs, fish, chicken, as well as milk and other dairy products.
30 easy & quick post-workout rice recipes for weight loss
There are countless ways to prepare a great post-workout meal based on rice. As a rule of thumb, try to use herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits in your recipes to increase your nutrient and antioxidant intake.
Here are 30 easy and quick vegan, vegetarian, and protein-rich rice recipes to eat after intense exercise for weight loss and a lean body.
Vegan rice-based recipes
- Mediterranean Rice Salad: Cooked rice tossed with chopped fresh parsley, mint, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, black olives, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Pineapple Fried Rice: Sauté cooked rice with diced pineapple, bell peppers, peas, carrots, chopped scallions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of red pepper.
- Lemon Herb Rice: Cook rice with vegetable broth. Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Curried Vegetable Rice: Sauté cauliflower, bell peppers, and peas with curry powder, garlic, and ginger. Mix in cooked rice and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Herb and Tomato Rice: Cook rice with vegetable broth. Stir in diced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
- Mango Salsa Rice: Prepare a salsa by combining diced ripe mangoes, red onions, jalapeños, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Mix the salsa with cooked rice. Garnish with additional cilantro.
- Spicy Mexican Rice: Sauté rice with diced onions, garlic, and cumin. Stir in tomato sauce, vegetable broth, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Cook until rice is tender. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Ginger Sesame Stir-Fry Rice: Sauté cooked rice with broccoli, green peas, and carrots in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, and garlic. Top with sesame seeds.
- Coconut Curry Rice: Cook rice with coconut milk instead of water. In a separate pan, sauté mixed vegetables with curry paste, garlic, and onion. Combine the cooked rice with the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Cilantro Lime Rice with Avocado: Cook rice with vegetable broth. Stir in freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, salt, and black pepper. Serve as a side dish.
Vegetarian recipes with rice to eat after exercise
- Vegetable Fried Rice: Sauté cooked rice with carrots, peas, bell peppers, onions, minced garlic, and ginger. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and scramble in some beaten eggs.
- Tomato Basil Risotto: Cook rice in vegetable broth. Stir in diced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper.
- Spinach and Feta Rice: Sauté cooked rice with fresh spinach, crumbled feta cheese, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole: Cook rice with vegetable broth. Mix in steamed broccoli florets, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, garlic powder, and some milk. Bake until cheese is melted.
- Mediterranean Rice Bowl: Combine cooked rice with chickpeas, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, crumbled feta cheese, chopped fresh parsley and dill, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Curry Vegetable Rice: Sauté cauliflower, carrots, and green peas in a blend of curry powder, minced garlic, and ginger. Add cooked rice and milk.
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers: Cut the tops off bell peppers and remove the seeds. Stuff them with cooked rice, black beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, cumin and chili powder. Bake until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.
- Egg Fried Rice: Sauté cooked rice with mixed vegetables, scrambled eggs, soy sauce, minced garlic, and ginger. Add a drizzle of olive oil for extra flavor.
- Yogurt and Cucumber Rice: Mix cooked rice with diced cucumbers, Greek plain yogurt, minced garlic, chopped fresh dill, salt, and black pepper. Serve chilled.
- Apple and Walnut Rice Salad: Combine cooked rice with diced apples, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
Rice recipes high in protein & vitamin B12
- Chicken Stir-Fry Rice: Sauté bite-sized pieces of chicken with bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots. Add cooked rice. Season with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
- Shrimp and Pineapple Rice: Sauté shrimp with diced pineapple, green peas, carrots, corn, minced garlic, and ginger. Mix in cooked rice. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken Rice: Grill chicken breasts seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Slice and serve cooked rice seasoned with lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl: Sauté thinly sliced beef with broccoli florets, minced garlic, and soy sauce. Serve cooked rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Tuna and Vegetable Rice Salad: Mix cooked rice with canned tuna, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, chopped fresh parsley and dill, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Sausage and Peppers Rice Skillet: Cook sliced sausages with diced bell peppers, onions, and minced garlic. Mix in cooked rice. Season with paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
- Mango Chicken Curry Rice: Sauté chicken with curry powder, diced mango, green peas, bell peppers, and minced ginger. Add cooked rice and simmer in milk. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turkey and Cranberry Rice Stuffed Peppers: Cut the tops off bell peppers and remove the seeds. Stuff them with a mixture of cooked rice, ground turkey, dried cranberries, diced onions, garlic powder, and thyme. Bake until peppers are tender.
- Tofu, Shrimp, and Vegetable Rice: Sauté cubed tofu and peeled shrimp with zucchini, mushrooms, and peas in a sauce made with soy sauce, minced garlic, and ginger. Add cooked rice.
- Citrus Glazed Salmon Rice: Pan-sear salmon fillets with a citrus glaze made from orange juice, honey, soy sauce, and minced garlic. Serve cooked rice and garnish with chopped fresh herbs, like cilantro or parsley.
Are there any other great times of the day to eat rice while dieting?
Certainly, the best time of the day to eat white rice for weight loss is after a workout.
Another great time to eat rice is at lunch. However, you should only eat reasonable amounts of brown or wild rice.
Avoid consuming white rice at any other time of the day. White rice spikes blood sugar levels, as it has an extremely high glycemic index (90+). Foods that skyrocket postprandial glycemic responses have been associated with increase risk of obesity.
What’s the worst time of the day to eat white rice for weight loss?
Maybe the worst time of the day to eat white rice for weight loss is right before bed. The body’s ability to store net carbs as muscle glycogen worsens in the evening. Thus, we should avoid consuming foods high in starch or sugar at dinner.
In fact, according to a study, people who used to eat white rice at dinner gained more than 6 pounds in a year!
However, we could eat reasonable amounts of brown or wild rice at night. They’re packed with compounds that support weight loss and a good night’s sleep. Also, fiber in brown and wild rice prevents spikes of blood glucose.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep during nighttime is key for weight loss. People who don’t get a rejuvenating night’s sleep are more likely to be obese.
Moreover, the body builds muscle mass at night. So, athletes should have a quality sleep for a lean body.