Rice to the Occasion

Maximize this bodybuilding staple food

Rice to the Occasion



I can’t stand dry or clumpy rice, but I know it’s a great bodybuilding food for adding mass. Is there something else I can substitute?


Many bodybuilders get overly obsessed with one food in their diets. It is a much better strategy to eat a variety of foods than it is to rely on only a few basics. So, to answer your question, it’s much better to leave out a particular bodybuilding food that you don’t like than it is to overemphasize a food that you do like. 

Each food has a unique nutrient profile — high in some nutrients and low in others. When you follow a diet that overemphasizes a few foods, you run the risk of creating deficits in some nutrients. This is true whether it’s protein foods, complex carbs or vegetables. In other words, a bodybuilder who eats nothing but chicken breasts, rice and broccoli — considered a nearly ideal bodybuilding meal — will still be lacking nutrients that should be balanced out by eating other foods in some of his daily meals. 

Cut rice out of your diet if you don’t like it. By eating a range of other complex carbs, such as yams, oatmeal, potatoes, pasta and whole-grain breads, you will still be covering your bases.

As a side note, it sounds like the problem you have with rice may be its preparation more than its flavor. Rice doesn’t taste that bad! Take a few steps to learn how to cook it so that it doesn’t come out “dry or clumpy” and you might find that you’re able to include it regularly.

First, try different cooking methods. A rice steamer is a simple and easy way to prepare small or large quantities of rice. With some experience, you can get it down so that the rice turns out the way you like it every time.

Second, try different types of rice. Brown rice tends to be a little drier than white and has a nuttier flavor (it’s also a slower-digesting carbohydrate than white rice, which is good for helping to avoid insulin spikes). Basmati rice has a rich buttery flavor (and tends to clump less). In Japanese restaurants and sushi bars (a favorite of many bodybuilders), rice is commonly prepared using vinegar and sugar, making it sticky. It’s a “clean” food, but it has a lot of flavor, and just that little bit of sugar helps satisfy carb cravings without destroying a precontest diet.

Third, try mixing some lemon juice and sugar with your rice to get it to separate and to give it moisture. This may make it more palatable for you. If you still don’t like it, then turn to complex carbs that you will enjoy eating. - FLEX

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