When we think of comfort food, our mind halts at ‘garma garam’ dal chawal. The aroma of Basmati is enough to evoke our hunger and set our mouths watering. Rice is a superb grain and is one of the most cultivated crops in India and that is why it is a staple food in almost all parts of India. However, with the health and diet shift towards gluten-free and healthier grain alternatives, rice has lost its lustre. People steer clear of rice thinking that it will add pounds to their bodies. But,that’s a fad because some nutritionists and dietitians beg to differ. They say one can eat rice without gaining weight but with a little tug and pull.

Health Shots spoke to Surbhi Aggarwal, lifestyle management coach and dietitian, who laid out various methods to eat rice without worrying about the inches on your waist.

Aggarwal says, “Rice is one of the most energy dense foods and is an economical option among grains. It is easy to cook and has a great taste when combined with any curry or vegetables. In the diet industry, rice has a bad reputation due to its fast release of carbohydrates. Hence, it increases blood sugar fast and makes a person hungry faster. But the truth is that rice is a great option when it comes to a gluten free, cholesterol free, fat free diet.”

If that has shocked you and left you in guilt of quitting rice. It’s time for resurrection. Indulge in your Rajma rice, chhole chawal but with some caution.

Listed below are 5 ways to eat rice without gaining weight:

1. More curry, less rice

When you’re eating rice but don’t want to end up bloated and thick, the key is to exercise the 1/3 rule. There is a balanced way of eating rice in which a portion is eaten with 1 portion of curries or dal and one portion of veggies or salad. This helps you stay fuller for longer and gives you a good amount of fiber too.

fermented rice
Yes, you can eat rice without gaining weight! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Kudos to khichdi

When rice is combined with any dal or lentil, it becomes a complete protein rich meal which includes all 9 essential amino acids. That is why khichdi is hailed as an Indian superfood. Make khichdi often and enjoy it with a portion of your favourite raita, pickle, ghee and salad.

3. Choose Basmati

The Indian Basmati variety is not only aromatic but is a godsend for diabetics who can’t keep away from rice. Stick to one cup of it and do not eat it in excess as it spikes blood sugar and creates hunger pangs faster. The best way to eat rice is to include good sources of fibre like beans and salads when eating rice as fibre prevents blood sugar from spiking suddenly.

4. Eat in a bowl

Whenever you’re eating rice, serve it in a small bowl rather than a thali. It will prevent you from overindulging. Eating in a small bowl doesn’t mean you can take more servings of it. Hold your spoon, ladies, if you wish to eat rice without gaining weight.

5. Portion control

Aggarwal told Health Shots that one can eat rice in every meal. If this made you gasp with shock or made your eyes twinkle a bit, read on. “One must stick to portion control even when you are consuming rice in each meal. It is the only way to eat rice without gaining weight,” she adds.

brown rice or red rice
Red rice tastes a lot better, and comes with higher nutritional values and has inflammatory benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Please remember not to discard the water in which rice is boiled as the water contains a major part of the vitamins and minerals beneficial for the body.

Here are some lesser known benefits of rice:

  1. Opt for an unpolished version. The Indian vegetarian diet is not that rich in vitamin B but unpolished rice is one of the richest sources of Vitamin B and also contains folic acid, selenium, magnesium.
  2. People also consume rice in the form of Kanji, a fermented probiotic drink. It is an economical and superb food for the gut and great skin.
  3. “There are varieties of rice present in India, namely black rice which is high in antioxidants, brown rice which is high in fibre, and red rice which is used in the anti cancer diet for its anti inflammatory properties,” says Aggarwal.