Working so often with people with food intolerance, one of the most common complains clients make to me is ‘I can’t have rice, it makes me bloated’.

But is it really the rice that is making you bloated, or could it be something else is causing that feeling? And why might rice be a better option than you may have thought?

First of all, rice is a seed from a plant and is minimally processed. There are many different types of rice, but all are considered ‘low allergenic’. This means the likelihood of the rice causing intolerance or allergy is incredibly low.

Here are three other things that maybe contributing to that bloated feeling, instead of rice:

1. FODMAPs

High FODMAP foods commonly cause bloating, due to the fermentation that can be triggered in our gut. High FODMAP foods include things like onion, garlic. And when you think about it, many rice based dishes are served with toppings that are rich in these foods – be it a stir fry, a curry, or something else.

2. Food Chemicals

Similar to FODMAPs above, naturally occurring food chemicals can also trigger bloating. Salicylates and amines are the most common types, and again, rice based meals are often served with other foods rich in these compounds. Think a rich curry sauce or a spicy stir-fry; the more flavoursome a sauce is, the more of these food chemicals are likely present.

3. Is the portioning correct?

Often when eating rice dishes out, there can end up being a plethora of food, with larger than needed portions of everything, including the rice being served. Aim (for most people) for a fist size portion of rice, palm size of protein and two cupped hands of veggies or salad as a guide for a well-balanced meal.

4. Are you bloated.. or just full?

After eating, your stomach should be feeling relatively full. It should not be Insta-model flat; a small amount of distention is normal due to the bulk of fibre that has been consumed. If you’re so bloated you’re looking 6 months pregnant, this is a different story (and number 1 or 2 above may be playing a role). But more often than not, if we’re not used to or feel uncomfortable at the thought of this level of ‘satisfied’, where we won’t be looking for something to snack on in the next couple of hours, as were still full from lunch.

So, how do you incorporate more whole grains, such as rice, into your diet (now knowing it probably isn’t the rice that is making you bloated!)? Luckily rice is a versatile, quick and easy-to-cook cupboard essential. I’m a big fan of SunRice Microwave Rice Quick Cups – the Brown Rice variety is my favourite and are an absolute game changer when it comes to being organised, as you’ll have your wholegrains for your meal sorted in just 40 seconds. Also, SunRice’s new SuperGrains range is a premium blend of other grains, which makes it even easier to get that variety of 30 plant foods across the week in!

Rice is a heathy and convenient essential to any diet. If I’m after a meal to be ready in less than 5 minutes, taking a SuperGrains Quick Cup, and serving it with pre chopped mixed salad (from most supermarkets), a can of tuna and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is a tasty, convenient way to go.

As you can see, rice is not just an accompaniment; eating rice helps you get a lot of other healthy stuff in – including veggies, fibre and antioxidants.

Remember to share your rice creations on insta by tagging @sunrice and #riceandsimple !

Please note that from time to time I work with companies who’s products I love, to help spread the word of good nutrition, good times and how to be your healthiest self. I do only ever work with companies who are an authentic fit with my ethos.

About Chloe McLeod