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Brown Rice Bears and Benefits


As a grain, brown rice is much superior to white rice.  Brown rice contains:

  • 349% more fiber,
  • 203% more Vitamin E,
  • 185% more Vitamin B6,
  • 219% more magnesium, and
  • 19% more protein.

Impressive, right?  Do your kids like brown rice?  One reason I don’t cook with it more often, is simply the time it takes to cook.  I put 1 cup of brown rice into my rice cooker at 7:45 this morning. It wasn’t finished cooking until 9:15!  90 minutes is a long time to cook!  We love to eat brown rice, but it definitely takes thinking ahead.

One of my favorite thing to do with brown rice is to make rice balls.  We learned this process from our exchange students.  These girls would make a rice ball to pack into their lunch every single morning. Sometimes, they would just take a ball of rice and some vegetables, but often they would fill the center of their rice ball with tuna.  We decided today to fill our rice balls with some leftover stir fry and it turned out great!

Rice ball lunch

Here is the basics:

Step 1) Cook brown rice.

Step 2) Sprinkle a square of plastic wrap with salt and put a pile of brown rice into the center.


Step 3) Gather up the edges of the plastic wrap and squeeze into a ball!  Warm rice works great, because it’s still a little sticky and wet, and will hold it’s shape much better!


Step 4) Open plastic wrap and press a pit into the center for your filling (like a nest)


Step 5) Re-wrap the plastic wrap and squish into a ball shape again!


MMMM… Rice balls are a great food to take in a school lunch. They taste great cold as well as warm.

Think of the possibilities of fillings?!?

Then, if you felt like being cute, you could attempt to make a rice ball bear like I did.  This might be a better task to leave to the bento bloggers, as somehow my bear looks sad.rice ball bear

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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We gobble down rice so I never have any leftovers – so sorry for this ignorant question. Can you freeze these? Or how long does leftover rice last in the fridge?

I agree, I LOVE brown rice. I ate it a lot as a child in the 80’s/90’s. We cooked it all the time, easy as can be, that I am always surprise to hear that ppl have issues with it.

I can cook it for 35-40 mins for perfect rice, stove-top. 1 cup rice to 2 cups water ratio, bring to boil, cover, simmer on lowest setting for 35-40 mins, then let it sit for a few.

What do you think about minute brown rice? Does it still have all the same nutritious benefits as regular?

A great way to make cooking rice easier is to invest in a pressure cooker. Rice comes out great in 30 mins. One of the best pressure cookers is Cuisinart.

I made these for my kids’ lunch today- filled them with tuna… and they loved them! Can’t wait to try out some other fillings. Thanks!

Charmaine: I have been wanting a pressure cooker so bad!! I didn’t even think about it for cooking rice, I only thought about how great it would be for beans!
Leslie: So glad your kids liked them!

Yes, I did some research, and minute rice and long cooking rice are nutritionally the same!
I’ll definitely be using minute rice more often lol

I love your rice balls idea. Will def be trying it for our lunchbox.

Note about your bear – try repositioning his eyes so they are either straight across or angled up at the outer corners. It’s our eyebrows that give the face the most expression.

It would be nice if you could place a list of ingredients and how much is needed.
I am making a little cookbook for school kids to take home, and they need exact details.
I am not sure how much rice you use, or what ingredients are in your “pit”
In the beginning it just says Left Overs?

Hi Mel-
This idea is more of an idea than a recipe. You could make them big or small. I used some ground beef and carrots for the middle (from the prior night dinner). As far as the amount of rice, I would just assume it was about 2 TBL worth, but really, it could be any size you’d like!

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