Rice Is Nice

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What do oatmeal, popcorn and brown rice have in common? They are all grains and whole grains can be delicious as well as nutritious. September is whole grain month. To learn more about the many delicious types of whole grains, we will be focusing on a different grain and feature a new recipe each week of the month.

Every grain starts life as a whole grain. The whole grain is the entire seed of a plant, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Together as the whole grain, these components provide protein, fiber and many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Research shows that eating whole grains can help reduce heart disease, may reduce the risk of certain cancers and may aid in weight maintenance. Try some of these hints to make at least one half of your grains while and enjoy some whole grain goodness today.

This week’s whole grain is brown rice, a delicious part of many main dishes, side dishes and desserts. Rice is the most popular grain globally and the primary dietary staple for more than half the world’s population. A one half-cup serving of rice contains only 100 calories. Rice is naturally sodium-, cholesterol-, gluten- and GMO-free and it provides more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals including folic acid, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium, fiber, iron and zinc.

Tips for Increasing Whole Grain Intake:

  • Make your rice colorful. Brown, wild, black, red and purple rice are 100% whole grain varieties.
  • Try mixing brown and white rice together in your favorite dish for more complex flavor and texture. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to eat more whole grains.
  • Cook a double batch of brown rice and keep it on hand for a quick start to your next meal. Cooked rice can be stored int he refrigerator in a tightly covered container for 3 to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

Brown Rice Salad

Photo of brown rice salad.

This is an example of a recipe that can be made literally hundreds of ways. Add one or two vegetables, one or two fruits, a grain, a bean, and dress with citrus vinaigrette. This recipe uses avocado and orange. You could use cucumber, tomato, onion, or shredded squash – really any vegetable. For the fruit component, any citrus, mango, or pineapple works well. Choose any whole grain and any canned bean. This is a great way to use up leftover grains from other meals. This can be a side dish or served on top of a mixed green salad.

Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes



  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, chilled
  • 1 orange, cut in small pieces
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons herb (parsley, mint, cilantro, basil) (optional)


  • Juice from 1 lime or lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine avocado, brown rice, orange pieces, black beans, and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Combine juice, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir to coat.
  4. Add herbs into large bowl with other ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Can be kept refrigerated for several days.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
(Based on 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper)

  • Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Vegetables: 3/4 cup
  • Fruits: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 337 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 48 grams
  • Fiber: 12 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 155 mg