Oatmeal Vs Brown Rice: Is One Better For You?

When talking about healthy complex carbohydrates, the two that often get mentioned are oatmeal and brown rice. But is one healthier than the other? The answer, of course, is that it depends on your fitness, health, and weight loss goals.

From a calorie-only perspective, the oatmeal is going to be the lower calorie option of the two, with 145 calories per cup compared to the 216 calories in a cup of brown rice. Both oats and rice provide moderate protein — six grams for oatmeal and five for brown rice — and two grams of fat, while the rest is carbohydrate (via Livestrong). Because oatmeal has the lower calorie count, it contains less grams of carbohydrates per serving, so if you are on a lower-carb diet, it may be the better option. 

Remember though, these counts are for a cup of cooked rice and cooked oatmeal, measured after they have had water added. People often make the mistake of equating the cooked measurement to the uncooked measurement with grains that absorb water. When measuring out a scoop to cook, make sure you read the instructions, since a serving of oatmeal is only a half-cup of uncooked oats (and even less for steel-cut varieties that are more compact). The oats, like rice, will puff up as they absorb water.

Which is better nutrient-wise?

Oats and brown rice are both whole grains, which means they're unrefined and packed with nutrients, unlike the more processed options of boxed cereals or white rices. Oats have more iron and zinc than brown rice, both critical micronutrients for muscle and immune health (via SF Gate). 

Most people assume that oatmeal is strictly a sweet breakfast food while rice is reserved for savory dishes, but that isn't entirely true. Oatmeal, especially when using steel cut oats that have a less creamy texture, can easily be made into a savory dish with the addition of toppings like eggs, avocado, and hot sauce (via The Star). And rice can replace cereal easily. Just swap your Rice Krispies for actual brown rice and load up your fruit and nut topping and splash on your milk of choice for a different breakfast that gets rid of leftover brown rice.

Ultimately, both brown rice and oatmeal are great healthy, versatile whole grains that can fit in almost any diet. So go with your gut (or your taste buds) and pick the one that tastes best to you, or switch between them depending on the meal you're making (via One Green Planet).