Rice Cakes

rice cakes

I was grocery shopping without a list tonight, just wandering down each aisle to see what I thought I should buy, which is sometimes almost always a bad idea!  Tonight it worked out pretty well.  One of the things I bought that I wouldn’t have thought to put on a list was a package of rice cakes.  Not the little “Quakes,” the bite-size snacks that taste like caramel corn, but the big, round, plain rice cakes.  I had forgotten how much I like them!

I think rice cakes get a bad rap from all sides, and I think it is undeserved.  One side sees rice cakes as “diet food,” to be consumed with grapefruit and cottage cheese, by anorexic girls who are eating 200 calories a day.  The other side says you should not count on rice cakes to be part of a healthy diet, weight-loss-related or not, because they have very little nutritional value, no fiber to speak of, and basically aren’t worth anything.

Like iceberg lettuce.  But that’s another issue.  🙂

Here is what I think about rice cakes…they are tasty!  Crunchy and slightly salty, you can put almost anything on top of them (peanut butter, hummus, cheese, any flavor of cream cheese…not all those things at once, of course!) and it will taste good.  They are light and don’t make you feel too full. 

I also want to argue for the nutritional value of a rice cake.  First of all, the ingredients: “whole grain brown rice, salt.”  No preservatives, no ingredients I can’t pronounce, nothing that doesn’t sound like food.  Just those two simple things.  You’re right, no fiber, according to the package.  However, one rice cake is just 35 calories.  One serving of cooked whole-grain rice, a half cup, is about 100 calories, and only has 1.7 grams of fiber.  One rice cake is equivalent to about one seventh of a serving of rice, or (if my math is correct) about three and a half teaspoons of cooked whole-grain rice.  Therefore, one rice cake should have about 0.24 grams of fiber.

Of course there isn’t any measurable amount of fiber or other nutrients!!!  A quarter of a gram???

Okay, maybe they are like iceberg lettuce, which is just pale green pieces of water.  It absolutely won’t harm me in any way, but it won’t do anything beneficial for me either.  It’s a sandwich filler or a carrier of ranch dressing.  🙂  If you ask me, iceberg lettuce shouldn’t really be considered a “serving” of vegetables.  Same thing, I’m pretty sure a rice cake isn’t worth a “serving” of grains.

But, as far as options for putting peanut butter on top of, rice cakes are a pretty good choice.  The crunch and the lightly salted flavor make me feel like I ate something, with fewer calories, fat, and chemicals than a lot of snack foods.

Plus, they taste good!  🙂


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Jul 02, 2009 @ 09:15:04

    You are right, especially when they are made with whole grain rice rather than white rice.


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