If you have followed my personal blog, Gazing In, at all you have seen how much Kirk and I have shifted our eating. One area I have really changed is the grains/carbs we consume at home. This has played into how we eat while hiking as well.
It isn’t easy at first to change the types of grains – it took me a looooongggg time to warm up to Quinoa. I still cannot stand whole wheat pasta, cardboard has more flavor – so now I treat white pasta like a treat. The easiest switch I found was going to brown rice from white rice. At home I bake it and get a fluffy rice. In trail food the best way is to work up to it. By that replace ¼-½ of the instant rice called for with instant brown rice. Eventually work up to all brown. BTW, that baked rice? It dries nicely as well for homemade instant brown rice – just leave out the called for olive oil.
Look at these nutritional stats and make your decision. Our serving will be ½ cup dry instant rice (which is 1 servings as listed on the box). Both use easily found Minute® Brand rice.
- Calories: 150
- Fat: 1½ grams
- Total Carbs: 34 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 0
- Total Carb: 45 grams
- Fiber: 0
- Protein: 5 grams
While the white rice has more calories and protein it has no fiber and no natural fat. It is also higher in pure carbs. meaning it will spike you and leave you hungry sooner, not sticking around in your tummy keeping you happy. Another thing to consider is that the brown rice is denser – that ½ cup dry serving will make 2/3 cup cooked, where as the white makes 1 cup cooked. Last but not least, the vitamins in the commercial brown rice are naturally there, unlike with the white they are added in.
Is it worth it? It depends on how you eat at home really. Once you get used to brown rice you enjoy the “bite” between your teeth and instant white tastes…well….mushy. On the cooking process: while the instant brown rice is not claimed to be “instant” like the white rice, as long as it sits for a good 15 minutes in a cozy or pot cozy you will good success – if at high altitude give it 20 minutes. You can also cut the water back by about 10% if needed. Worse case scenario if you have a bit extra water in your rice? Add in shelf stable Parmesan cheese and it will thicken up and taste good.
Need ideas? Head over to TrailCooking for plenty of rice recipes – and remember you can always add brown rice to nearly all of them!