The Secret of Eating Rice Without Getting Fat - Veronica Toh
veronica toh
health promotion board, My Healthy Plate, rice, fat
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The Secret of Eating Rice Without Getting Fat

03 Apr The Secret of Eating Rice Without Getting Fat



Question from a reader, Lynnette says, “I’ve carbohydrate phobia, specifically rice and I associate with feelings of guilt if I eat them and feelings of deprivation if I don’t eat them. And I don’t quite like the taste of brown rice although I know it’s the healthier option. Any advice?”


As an Asian, I loveeeee rice! I’ve never come across anyone in my life who said that rice is yucky. Never.

But I hear this so many times – Rice makes you FAT.

I hate when people say that. Why?

Look, it’s not the rice that makes you fat. What makes you fat is having a GIANT BOWL of it, basing the meal around the carbohydrate source.

My point is: To protect your waistline, don’t build a meal around the rice.

Eat rice like a condiment, like a side dish.

What is the focus food on the plate, you ask? Veggies, darling! They do have carbs. If you’re looking at roots and starchy vegetables, here are some good options with interesting micro-nutrients and decent amount of fiber – sweet potato, beetroots, pumpkin and taro.

Notice I didn’t say, “Don’t eat rice or give up your rice!”. That’s because rice isn’t the problem.

Screenshot 2016-04-03 22.06.37Here’s the IDEAL plate (click on image to enlarge) or maybe you know that you should be eating. When you order economical rice or ‘chap fan’, half the plate is filled with your favourite veggies with slightly more than half the plate with meat, tofu and less than a quarter of rice. ‘My Healthy Plate’ is what the Health Promotion Board SG is currently promoting following USDA’s ‘MyPlate’ recommendation of healthy eating style.

Screenshot 2016-04-03 22.03.41But here’s the REALITY when the guy at the stall takes your order. He slams a bowl of rice on the plate and you point to the side dishes that you want which includes the norm of 2 veggies and 1 meat.

And even if you say less rice, he reduces only a tiny bit of rice away. And the portion of vegetables/meat stays the same. No wonder you’re still hungry!

In fact, I was so annoyed that after my countless attempt of saying less rice and the guy didn’t understand my definition, I did the REVERSE the subsequent time.

I got him to scoop a big portion of vegetables FIRST, and then followed by 2 other side dishes, and finally I told him a little rice.

Guess what?

Yes, he looked at me amusingly, trying to find space on the plate and as a result, scooped less than quarter of rice equivalent to a side dish portion.

This is not the best part. Compared to previous cost, now I get to save 30 cents every time I order from that stall! How cool is that?!

So try this trick, especially if you do take out most of the time.

If you’re eating home cooked food (still the best!), use this strategy of  scooping your favourite vegetables first on your plate. Chances are you won’t get to fill much on the plate with rice later on.

Now, if anyone of you like Lynette who don’t like the taste of brown rice, try this:

Swop key: Mix half white and half brown for a while, and gradually switch to brown rice entirely. It’s not that brown rice is “good” and white rice is “bad”. They are both high starch but brown rice in its whole grains contain most fibre to fill you up. If you love experimenting, try other whole grains like millet or quinoa. If you still can’t take brown rice, that’s totally ok because the…

Bottom line is, like all carbs, regardless of white or brown rice should be eaten like a side dish or a supplement to a balanced meal while upsizing servings of fiber-rich carbs like green leafy vegetables.

In that way, you won’t leave the table hungry.

And remember, you don’t have to use every strategy shared. I’ll always encourage you to take what works for you and leave the rest.

Rice Rice Baby,

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