Is it safe to meal prep rice? Food safety & storage techniques

Rice and chicken is probably the quintessential meal prep meal. However, rice being a starch has led people to question whether rice is actually safe to consume various days after cooking. In this article, we will discuss whether is it safe to prepare meal prep meals with rice and what you can do to minimise bacterial growth in the rice.

Meal Prep Tips
Is it safe to meal prep rice? Food safety & storage techniques
Huma Khurshid

Huma Khurshid

Consultant Nutritionist And Qualified Health And Fitness Writer

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6

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In short the answer is: Yes, it is safe to meal prep rice. However, there are thighs to be said in terms of ensuring food safety.

Meal prepping rice is a great way to minimise your meal preparation time and sort out your upcoming week. This article will guide you towards an optimal way to prepare rice, tricks to cook it properly and ways to prevent it from going bad.

Some research recommends eating pre-cooked rice rather than freshly cooked rice, as reheating cooked rice after getting it out of cold storage can lower the dietary glycemic load.[i]Resulting in preventing the risk for type 2 and gestational diabetes. 

Does Cooked Rice Go Bad?

Yes, cooked rice does expire, but there are various methods to extend its shelf life. Firstly, as soon as your rice is cooked spread it on a flat surface such as a baking tray so that the rice can cool down as fast as possible. The objective is to minimise the time the rice stays at a warm temperature because that is the range bacteria quickly multiplies at. Once cooled down, portion your rice in the tupperware and store in the fridge. If you follow these steps, your rice should last at least 4 days and up to a week.

A Comprehensive Guide to Meal Prep Rice

Rice is one of the most common staple foods in the world. Fun fact, according to Wikipedia, rice was cultivated from over 13,500 to 8,200 years ago. Despite common perception rice is not a very high caloric food, whilst high in carbohydrates, a full plate of white rice usually corresponds to about 200 calories.

Get the basics rights

Cooking rice is easy yet technical. It’s crucial to utilise the right amount of water, to get the rice and water to the right temperature and to use the right pan.

 

Types of Rice

There are two types of rice, white and brown. Both have different water to rice ratios as outer bran coating in brown rice needs more water and a longer cooking time.

White rice has had its husk, bran, and germ removed, making it easier for your body to digest. Brown rice still contains these parts, taking longer for your body to digest and containing more nutrients than white rice.

 

How to cook rice

Following are easy step to cook rice using a stove and a pan. Of course, there are various methods of cooking rice such as by using a rice cooker or a pressure cooker.

○ Step 1: Rinse the rice.

○ Step 2: Measure rice. You're cooking 1 cup of rice; add 1 full cup and another ¾ cup of water into a medium-sized pan.

○ Step 3: Boil the water over high heat and add a big pinch of salt.

○ Step 4: Give a quick stir and let it cook without peeking or stirring.

○ Step 5: Cover the pan and slowdown the heat to medium.

○ Step 6: Cook your rice for 20minutes (checking once in between 17 to 18 minutes)

○ Step 7: If there's some water left, tilt the saucepan slightly to drain the remaining water out. 

And your perfect rice is ready!

An extra tip for you: If you're too busy to make rice yourself, you can also order from meal prep companies on the Marvin’s Den mobile app which is a marketplace with a lot of meal prep companies. 

What is the Best Method of Storing Rice?

After cooking rice in large batches, store them in serving-size containers, so the humidity doesn't get disturbed every time you take out a serving.

The following are 3 things that participate in safely storing rice for a long time. 

Temperature

The temperature of the environment in which the rice is stored can greatly affect its quality. Rice should be stored at a temperature between 40 degrees Fahrenheit (° ) and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (°).

Humidity

Humidity is the amount of water vapour present in the atmosphere. Rice should be stored in an environment with a relative humidity of about 55%. More or less can make rice mushy or dry as a rock.

Moreover, Bacillus cereus bacteria might grow and thrive in cooked rice's moist and warm environment and spoil it.

Packaging

The packaging material used for storing the rice will significantly affect how long it lasts. It is best to use airtight glass containers, #10cans, and plastic bags rather than paper bags for storing rice. 

Why Rice Should Be a go-to Choice for Meal Prep

Rice is a major source of carbohydrates and energy. It contains essential nutrients needed for maintaining a healthy diet, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. 

All types of rice are considered healthy, including white rice, brown rice, and wild rice.

A nutritional analysis from2014 demonstrates that wild rice is low in fat and loaded with minerals, vitamins, protein, starch, dietary fibre, and several antioxidant phytochemicals. [ii]

According to research, brown rice contains many anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol, cardio-protective, and antioxidant properties that can benefit health. [iii]

Brown rice has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. According to Harvard Health, whole grains consumption lowers cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.

The bottom line

Rice can be tricky to cook. One minute it’s not cooked enough and the next it could get soggy rice, and the other minute it could get too hard and burnt!

Don’t be afraid of storing cooked rice in the fridge, but be thoughtful in your rice cooking and storing procedure. 

If you feel like this is too much work or you are too busy to properly prepare and store rice, don’t despair. We are Marvin’s Den, a mobile app marketplace to order from meal prep companies.

Install Marvin's Den on your Android or iOS to order meals with perfectly cooked rice!

References:

[i] Lu, L. W., Venn, B., Lu,J., Monro, J., & Rush, E. (2017). Effect of cold storage and reheating ofparboiled rice on postprandial glycaemic response, satiety, palatability andchewed particle size distribution. Nutrients, 9(5), 475.

[ii] Surendiran, G.,Alsaif, M., Kapourchali, F. R., & Moghadasian, M. H. (2014). Nutritionalconstituents and health benefits of wild rice (Zizania spp.). Nutritionreviews, 72(4), 227-236.

[iii] Ravichanthiran, K.,Ma, Z. F., Zhang, H., Cao, Y., Wang, C. W., Muhammad, S., ... & Pan, B.(2018). Phytochemical profile of brown rice and its nutrigenomicimplications. Antioxidants, 7(6), 71.

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