Buy Frozen Rice For A Sneaky Lunch Shortcut

From soggy microwaveable meals to ultra-processed chicken nuggets and fish sticks, it's no surprise that frozen food often gets a bad rap. After all, many of them are laden with high amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fats, and preservatives. But not all frozen foods are unhealthy. There's at least one that's deserving of a spot on your freezer rack: frozen rice.

It can be used in place of regular rice in a plethora of tasty meals. For example, forgo the takeout menu and serve it up alongside a quick and easy skillet teriyaki chicken. Or, pair prepared frozen rice with a creamy, delicately spiced dish like Swiss chard coconut curry. From a hearty Italian risotto to the spicy Southern Creole classic jambalaya — the inexpensive, nutrient-dense grain is the perfect base for any recipe.

When it comes to frozen rice, there's probably no better time to serve it than during lunch, often the most overlooked meal of the day, many times because we get busy. But, not only is it just as nutritious as dried rice, but it's also a breeze to make — perfect for tucking into a tasty meal on-the-go.

Frozen rice retains all the nutrients

For a nutrient-packed lunch, rice is a terrific option, providing even a bit of an energy boost to get you through a midday slump. That's because this popular grain is a good source of carbohydrates, which are sugar molecules that provide glucose to the body. The body converts glucose to energy, making carbs an excellent source of fuel for powering through a long workday. 

Frozen rice is just as nutritious as dried rice, too. Since frozen foods are often picked at peak ripeness and then frozen, their nutritional value is able to remain intact. In particular, brown rice — which features the entire grain, including the outer layer germ, the middle layer bran, and the starchy inside called the endosperm — is especially nutritious. Unlike white rice, often enriched with the likes of B vitamins and iron after the fact, brown rice is naturally nutrient-dense and features many key nutrients like selenium, magnesium, and folate. 

Arguably the best perk is that, in frozen form, the grain can be made in under five minutes — no pots or pans necessary. Simply place the chilled package directly in the microwave, heat it up, and it's ready to eat. 

Where to find frozen rice

For a wholesome meal that's ready in minutes, frozen rice is a great option to cook quickly — and even better, cooked rice can generally last in the fridge for up to four days, so if you make extra, you can use for meal prepping. Whether you prefer white or brown varieties, frozen rice is readily available in store freezer aisles, including products like Grain Trust's Steamed Jasmine Rice and Birds Eye's Whole Grain Brown Rice. And, since the microwave is also the easiest way to cook vegetables, you can have a complete meal ready in a fraction of the time. Just add soy or teriyaki sauce, and enjoy.

A number of brands also carry more flavor-packed frozen options, like 365 by Whole Foods Market Vegetable Fried Rice, Trader Joe's Vegetable Fried Rice, and Grain Trust Hibachi Fried Rice — all of which are packed with nutritious veggies like carrots, red bell peppers, and green peas. So, the next time you're grocery shopping, be sure to grab a few bags because the secret's out: Frozen rice is the delicious lunch timesaver you and your hungry, rumbling belly never knew you needed.