Frugal Food Friday – Start Eating More Parboiled Rice

Welcome to the second edition of Frugal Food Friday where we debunk common food myths and show you how to buy crazy healthy food on a budget made for paupers.

This week we’re talking about rice.

Not exciting you say?

Well, you’re in for a jaw dropper.

parboiled rice

What did we buy?

(Keep in mind that our location in Texas does not charge sales tax on groceries, so the prices you see here are exactly what we paid.)

Parboiled rice- $1.48 per bag.

green beans- $0.98 per pound.

New York strip steak- $5.38 per pound. (This week we splurged on really nice steaks.)

What did we make?

I didn’t use a recipe for this meal because I already knew how to prepare it.

Steak – Bring steak to room temperature. Add salt and pepper to both sides of steak. Heat skillet on high until butter or oil is smoking. Sear steak on both sides, then let cook from 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how you like to eat your steak.

Green beans – Steam for 5-10 minutes, checking for firmness. Add Himalayan pink salt to  taste.

Parboiled rice – Rinse rice. Boil for 20 minutes. Let cool in refrigerator overnight. Scoop rice into pan with salted butter and spices to taste. Fry rice.

Why does it matter?

Most people view brown rice as the healthiest rice.

Everywhere you go, brown rice is offered as the “healthy” alternative.

In fact, the other day at a restaurant, brown rice was offered for an extra $1.50. Outrageous. You can buy an entire bag of parboiled rice for that same amount and come out ahead nutritionally.

What is parboiled rice? puts it this way,

“Parboiled rice (boiled in water for a short time) is a type of white rice that has been boiled in the husk and precooked before being dried again. It is actually prepared from brown rice that has been soaked, steamed under pressure to force water-soluble nutrients into the starchy endosperm, then re-dried and eventually milled…This method drives nutrients, especially thiamine, from the bran into the grain, so that parboiled white rice is nutritionally similar to brown rice” (1).

So, parboiled rice is nutritionally comparable to brown rice. Better yet, parboiled rice has a lower glycemic index and is better for your gut than brown and white rice.

We decided to add parboiled rice to our diet for 2 reasons:

1. Low glycemic index.

In layman’s terms, glycemic index (GI) is the scale that measures how quickly a food gets converted to sugar (glucose) in the body. The higher the score, the more that food will cause a blood sugar spike.

Frequent spikes in blood sugar are unhealthy because they cause the body to produce insulin. This insulin then goes into fat storing mode, which can lead to weight gain. Furthermore, individuals with digestive problems, blood sugar problems, and even chronic illnesses are negatively impacted by big glucose spikes. In healthy people, it’s less of an issue, but probably still isn’t ideal.

Parboiled rice has a GI of about 38, which is lower than brown rice that ranks in at 55 on the GI scale, and white rice which has a glycemic index of 89. So not only does parboiled rice have similar nutrients as brown rice, it also won’t spike your blood sugar as much.

You can further reduce the glycemic load by eating rice with other foods, including fat and protein. Instead of eating rice, eat chicken stir fry with butter and olive oil!

2. Good source of resistant starch when cooked then cooled.

The reason that parboiled rice must be cooked and then cooled before consumption is because the cooling process changes the structure of the starch in parboiled rice, lowering the GI further and increasing the amount of resistant starch.

Cooling brings retrogradation, this increases the formation of type 3-resistant starch which can act as a prebiotic and benefit gut health in humans.

The majority of people have no idea what resistant starch is. I know I didn’t until Jacob started researching and why the good bacteria in our gut needs to be fed.

Wait, what? Why would we feed bacteria. Don’t we want to get rid of bacteria?


Bacteria has such negative connotations in our world today. But many types of bacteria found in our digestive track are beneficial and crucial. Your gut is full of various species of bacteria that keep it functioning properly.

Kris Gunnars explains, “Resistant starch feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine, having a positive effect on the type of bacteria as well as the number of them (34)…Resistant starch has several beneficial effects on the colon. It reduces the pH level, potently reduces inflammation and leads to several beneficial changes that should lower the risk of colorectal cancer, which is the 4th most common cause of cancer death worldwide (56, 7)” (8).

Amy Nett, M.D. has shared a ridiculous amount of great information on resistant starch in this post. It’s full of relevant research.

Still not convinced? Check out the video and other resources at Free the Animal (9).

Most people don’t realize how important resistant starch is to the body. While parboiled rich isn’t the richest source of resistant starch, it is still a good food source to include in your diet. Not to mention, it’s super easy to make!

Next time you go shopping, opt for parboiled rice instead of the others. You can find the Great Value brand at Walmart, or other brands online.


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