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Rice: The Short, Medium and Long of It

I’m not one to pass on the carbs — pasta, bread, rice, potatoes — bring ‘em on! Too few of those wonderfully starchy carbs and I feel sluggish and moody. At home I enjoy rice often and (gasp) it’s not always the brown variety! Mixing it up keeps my diet interesting and my belly satisfied.
If you take a close look at the GI index (that table the shows how quickly foods affect your blood sugar), many of the rice varieties fall in the low to medium range and are welcome additions to a healthy diet when combined with other foods. Whole-grain varieties do offer more fiber and nutrients, but white rice (those polished kernels that have had the outer layer of bran removed) is more easily digested; both are gluten-free and a good source of energy. Boutique brands, like Mighty Rice, boast claims of sustainability and offer both brown and white rice with low GI values.


Basmati, an aged, long grain rice, has a nutty flavor and a GI rating of 52.

Before you go shopping, know that all rice is not created equal. Grains come in short, medium and long with unique textures, flavors and eye appeal that compliment different dishes. When cooked, it can be extra starchy and sticky (short-grain, perfect for sushi), dense and chewy (medium-grain, ideal for casseroles) or long with distinct, thin grains that work well in pilaf.
Purchased in bulk (approximately thirty cents per serving), rice is some cheap eats. No wonder more than half of the world’s population consumes this staple food on a daily basis and relies on it for their nutrition!
A diet composed of 45 to 65 percent carbs improves workouts; just be sure to include a mixture of both simple and complex (those starchy ones) to keep it balanced.
Excluding foods from your diet only leads to boredom and food cravings. Discover aromatic Basmati, creamy Arborio, nutty Himalayan Red, or one of the other 40,000 species of cultivated rice.
What’s your favorite rice? —Karen

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