Is Microwave Rice Still Good For You?

We've all heard the cautionary tales of microwaves. One of the more well-known warnings is that microwaving our food can zap it of its nutrients. For this reason, some of us might try our best to avoid microwavable meals, but is this actually true? According to Science Focus, while some amount of nutrients will inevitably be lost during any form of cooking, generally speaking, microwaves don't destroy nutrients any more than a stovetop does. In fact, microwaving our food can preserve essential vitamins to the same extent that steaming our food would. Does this same rule hold true for microwavable rice?

While there are thousands of different kinds of rice, each one brings something unique to the table. Brown rice, for instance, is rich in fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins, while white rice contains the nutrient folate (via Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center). Not to mention, the carbs in rice are great for keeping us full and active.

Unfortunately, rice can sometimes take a good bit of time to prepare. Instant rice products are an easy fix to this problem, but do they still give us all those same great health benefits?

Look for this on the product labels of microwavable rice

Brown rice can give us a great dose of whole grains, which are essential for heart health and an abundant source of vitamins and antioxidants (via Spoon University). When it comes to specific food products, the Whole Grains Council can determine which are best for us, so be on the lookout for their mark on product labels the next time you're at the store. For microwavable rice products that have received the official A-OK, the Whole Grains Council says that these products are just as healthy as regular rice, including options from Minute Rice, Signature Select, and Riceland Foods Inc., among many others.

Registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Caroline West Passerrello tells Eat This, Not That! that the difference between instant and slow-cooked brown rice is minimal in terms of nutritional value, stating, "While instant brown rice is slightly pre-cooked and then dehydrated (and this does result in a loss of some nutrients), the difference is inappreciable." However, Passerrello cautions against the hidden additives found in rice that's been flavored, saying, "When instant rice is flavored there is a greater chance the product will be higher in sodium or even sugar in some instances."

So the next time you're in a pinch, fear not when it comes to microwavable rice. Stick with brands approved by the Whole Grains Council, and you'll have yourself a delectable and whole grain rich addition to your meal.