Now that you’ve kicked off the New Year, this is a great time to strategize how you can go about fulfilling your resolution to eat better. Sometimes, a healthier diet doesn’t necessarily mean you give something up altogether. It may be sufficient just to replace one type of food with a healthier version.
For example, it is widely known that brown rice is a better option than white rice. While it’s true that white rice is usually enriched with vitamins that are lost during the milling process, brown rice retains its natural nutrients while providing an extra dose of fiber. According to the National Institutes of Health, fiber is essential to gastrointestinal health and may also help lower cholesterol. When it comes to blood sugar, research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that eating at least two servings of brown rice per week instead of white rice may significantly improve blood sugar.
So what’s the best way to prepare brown rice? Consider these three delicious recipes, which come courtesy of Eating Well and Deliciously Healthy Dinners:
Moroccan-style stuffed peppers
- 1 and 2/3 cups of cooked brown rice
- 4 medium-to-large bell peppers, with seeds and tops removed
- 1 pound of lean ground beef or turkey
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/2 cup of currants
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups of low sodium vegetable juice
- 1/4 of fresh mint (use more for optional garnish)
- 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
Place all peppers upside down in a microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with half an inch of water and cover it with a lid or dinner plate turned upside down. Microwave for 3 to 6 minutes to ensure peppers are tender while still holding their shape. Drain the water and turn peppers right side up. Cook the ground meat for 4 to 6 minutes, then stir in the currants, cumin and cinnamon for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook for 30 more seconds. After removing from heat, add 1/2 cup of vegetable juice along with the salt, pepper, orange zest and mint. Add this mixture to insides of your bell peppers, and add the rest of the vegetable juice into the microwave dish. Cook in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.
Savory brown rice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of chopped onions
- 1 cup of Portobello mushrooms that have been rinsed, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup of celery, rinsed and diced
- 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup of uncooked instant brown rice
- 1/4 cup of dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- ground black pepper
Warm the oil in a saucepan and stir fry the onion, mushrooms and celery until they are soft but before they are brown. Add the chicken broth, rice, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, then drain off excess liquid before serving.
Rice, cheese and spinach pie
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed out and dried
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice
- 1 cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of nonfat milk
- 4 eggs
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat, and cook the onions until they start to brown. Stir in the spinach and garlic, and cook for 1 more minute. Move this to a large bowl, then add the rice, cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk in the eggs and milk, and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a 9-inch cooking pan that's been generously coated with cooking spray. Bake until parts of the pie start turning light brown. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.