ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- It's rice for dinner! With chicken, vegetables or beans, eighty-three percent (83%) of moms with children up to 18 years of age say they serve rice as a side dish, according to a just-released survey of more than 500 U.S. moms, sponsored by the USA Rice Federation. With growing interest in improving child nutrition and health, and efforts such as the White House Let's Move program, news that moms are serving rice is well received by many nutrition and health professionals. Research recently published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA) confirms that eating rice helps improve overall diet and potentially reduces the risk for many chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Many Reasons to Love Rice. Taste, versatility and nutrition are the most frequently cited reasons (73%) moms serve rice to their families. Convenience and price are also appreciated by moms, rounding out the assets that make rice a top choice for family meals.
Moms of all Ages Serve Rice. Moms ages 18 to 55 are united in their preference for rice, with almost eighty-three percent (83%) reporting their favorite way to serve both enriched white and whole grain brown rice to their families is as a side dish. One-pot meals and rice bowls also are mentioned, reflecting popular family cuisine choices.
Family Favorites…Broccoli? Not surprisingly, chicken and rice is a family favorite, with thirty-two percent (32%) of moms reporting this familiar pairing. Rice with vegetables, including broccoli, is served by twenty-seven percent (27%) of moms. Moms also serve rice with cheese, beans and various other vegetables, demonstrating the grain's versatility.
"We're delighted that moms and their families appreciate the great taste and versatility of rice," says Anne Banville, vice president for domestic promotion programs for USA Rice Federation. "Rice can go in many flavor directions -- such as Asian, Mexican, Indian and Southwest -- so it fits well with popular cuisines today's families like. We want moms also to be aware of the important health benefits of rice. Brown rice is a whole grain and diets rich in whole grains are shown to have many benefits, including a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease," explains Banville. "And, U.S.-grown white rice is fortified with folic acid, which helps prevent certain birth defects, and provides health benefits throughout the lifecycle."
More Reasons for Moms to Love Rice:
Childhood Obesity. In the past four decades, obesity rates have risen in U.S. youth at an alarming rate. Today, more than 23 million children and teenagers ages two to 19 are obese or overweight. This epidemic puts America's children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke. Including a healthy, low calorie complex carbohydrate such as natural whole grain brown and enriched white rice into a balanced diet can help improve overall health and provide energy for physical activity.
"I'm pleased to see that moms recognize rice fits into a healthy balanced meal and is good for their children and family," explains Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA, associate professor of pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Research shows that rice eaters have better overall diets and healthier body weights. Mixing rice with vegetables makes rice an ideal 'vehicle food' for getting kids to eat more vegetables. Moms like knowing how to provide great tasting meals that also help promote life-long healthy eating habits for their families."
Brown & White. Moms serve enriched white and whole grain brown rice equally.
Rice contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals, is low in calories, is sodium- and cholesterol-free, gluten-free and has only a trace of fat, with no trans or saturated fat. One cup of whole grain brown or wild rice provides two of the three recommended daily servings of whole grains, while enriched white rice has many important vitamins and minerals like folic acid.
Home-grown U.S. Rice. And rice is good for families in other ways. Seventy percent (70%) of moms surveyed say it's very or extremely important to them to use domestically grown rice to support U.S. farmers and the economy. Consumers are now becoming aware that eighty-five percent (85%) of rice consumed in the U.S. is grown here. According to Banville, "Choosing U.S.-grown rice not only supports our farmers, it also helps consumers reduce their food miles. I encourage moms to look for the 'Grown in the USA' logo on packages of 100% U.S.-grown rice."
"Bowl us Over" Contest
To get consumers excited about rice, USA Rice Federation launched the "Bowl us Over" contest during September, National Rice Month. "Rice is the healthy partner that combines well with other healthy foods," says Banville. "Rice bowls are an economical and easy way for moms to serve rice to their families, and fit today's needs for quick, nutritious, one-dish meals. "Consumers can visit www.usarice.com/bowlusover to enter the contest to win free groceries or an Aroma® Rice Cooker, by sharing their favorite rice bowl ideas. For recipes and nutrition information, visit www.usarice.com.
USA Rice Federation
The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for the U.S. rice industry, conducting programs to inform consumers about domestically-grown rice. U.S. farmers produce an abundance of short, medium and long grain rice, as well as organic and specialty rices including jasmine, basmati, Arborio, red aromatic and black japonica, among others. Farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri grow some twenty billion pounds of rice each year. For more information and rice recipes, visit www.usarice.com
This Russell Research Omnibus Survey, sponsored by the USA Rice Federation, was conducted online from August 20 – August 23, 2010, among 502 moms across the U.S. with children under the age of 18.
SOURCE USA Rice Federation