Brown Rice Gaining in Popularity for Those Who Seek Fitness Foods

The words natural and whole-grain are "buzz-words" among today's fitness-conscious groups. People everywhere are enjoying more active life styles and are opting for diets containing less-processed foods and are putting more grains, less fat, salt and red meat into their bodies. Brown rice has always been popular with the nutrition-conscious, and with today's appeal for fitness, the chewy, nut-like flavor of the grain is increasing in popularity.

The only processing that brown rice undergoes is a mechanical one that removes its outer hull. Once removed, the rice is left with a light tan layer of bran, which contributes to making brown rice more nutritious than its overprocessed cousin, enriched white rice. But, because of the high fiber and oil content of the bran layer, brown rice takes longer to cook (up to 25 minutes longer) and its shelf life is slightly shorter. The firm texture of brown rice adds greatly to meatless cheese, egg and vegetable main dishes as well as satisfying hearty appetites in meat dishes.

In the suggestions offered here, brown rice is partnered with vegetables like corn, green pepper, tomato and a hint of ham in Vegetable Confetti Brown Rice. The low-calorie total of 261 per serving makes it ideal luncheon fare. Another low-cal winner is Fruited Rice. At 229 calories per serving, it is a good accompaniment to broiled or curried chicken. Round out the meal with a serving from the dairy group for a well-balanced family supper.

Broccoli-Brown Rice Salad Bowl has a heaping 622 calories with the addition of mayonnaise, cooked ham and Swiss cheese in its prescription. Brown Rice Country Captain Skillet and New England Brown Rice Supper, however, are only moderately high in calories and can still come out winners in today's fitness game. NEW ENGLAND BROWN RICE SUPPER

3/4 pound smoked ham, cut into 2 1/2x1/4-inch strips

1 medium onion, chopped

2 2/3 cups water

1 cup brown rice

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage

1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Brown ham in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Remove ham from skillet and drain on paper towels. Saute onion in drippings until tender but not brown. Add water, bring to boil. Add rice and ham. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until most of liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Stir in carrots, cabbage and horseradish. Cover and continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed and vegetables are tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Makes 5 servings.

PER SERVING: 359 calories; 16 gm protein; 36 gm carbohydrate; 17 gm fat; 641 mg sodium; 512 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 25% Riboflavin 11% Vitamin A 65% Niacin 24% Vitamin C 37% Calcium 06% Thiamine 44% Iron 16% VEGETABLE CONFETTI BROWN RICE

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1 tablespoon butter

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth

1 cup brown rice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (7-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped cooked ham

1 tomato, chopped

1/3 cup whipping cream

Saute onion in butter in large saucepan over medium heat until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add enough water to chicken broth to equal 2 2/3 cups liquid.

Add liquid to saucepan and bring to boil. Add rice, salt and pepper. Cover tightly and simmer 45 minutes. Stir corn, green pepper and ham into rice and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cream. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 261 calories; 8 gm protein; 36 gm carbohydrate; 10 gm fat; 883 mg sodium; 344 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 12% Riboflavin 07% Vitamin A 15% Niacin 16% Vitamin C 45% Calcium 04% Thiamine 13% Iron 11% BROCCOLI-BROWN RICE SALAD BOWL

2 2/3 cups water

1 cup brown rice

2 teaspoons salt

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 cup julienne strips cooked ham

1 cup julienne strips Swiss cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Add rice and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat until all water is absorbed, about 50 minutes. Spoon rice into large bowl. Add broccoli, mushrooms, ham and cheese.

Place mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in blender container and blend. Stir mayonnaise mixture into rice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PER SERVING: 622 calories; 20 gm protein; 68 gm carbohydrate; 30 gm fat; 1,160 mg sodium; 433 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 31% Riboflavin 18% Vitamin A 31% Niacin 29% Vitamin C 56% Calcium 28% Thiamine 30% Iron 16% BROWN RICE COUNTRY CAPTAIN SKILLET

1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) chicken, cut up

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (16-ounce) can tomatoes

1 cup brown rice

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 medium green pepper, chopped

1/4 cup peanut halves

Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Brown in oil in large skillet about 7 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Drain off all but about 1 tablespoon drippings. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion is tender but not browned.

Coarsely chop and drain tomatoes, reserving juice. Add enough water to make 2 2/3 cups liquid. Add to skillet and bring to boil. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, rice, curry and thyme. Cover tightly and cook over low heat 25 minutes. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and continue cooking over low heat 20 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and keep warm. Stir tomatoes and green pepper into rice. Cover and continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Serve chicken with rice. Sprinkle with peanut halves. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 404 calories; 34 gm protein; 31 gm carbohydrate; 16 gm fat; 840 mg sodium; 325 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 52% Riboflavin 38% Vitamin A 37% Niacin 58% Vitamin C 39% Calcium 05% Thiamine 18% Iron 23% FRUITED RICE

1 cup sliced carrots

3 tablespoons oil

1 cup sliced green onions

2 cups sliced, unpeeled apples

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup seedless raisins

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Saute carrots in oil about 10 minutes. Add onions and apples. Cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in rice, salt and raisins. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is heated through. Add sesame seeds and toss lightly. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 229 calories; 3 gm protein; 38 gm carbohydrate; 8 gm fat; 574 mg sodium; 302 mg potassium.

USRDA Protein 05% Riboflavin 03% Vitamin A 62% Niacin 07% Vitamin C 14% Calcium 04% Thiamine 08% Iron 07%

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