Ok, to be clear – my favorite carb source is bread. Or cookies. Maybe donuts. French fries? Pizza? I could go on and on…can you tell I’m cutting now?
But as far as “clean” carb sources, cream of rice takes the cake. To be clear, I understand it’s not for everyone – no food is. But it’s one that I’ve had good success recommending to clients who are looking for something in the morning especially, that perhaps they haven’t tried and end up enjoying.
Why do I like it? It’s quick and easy, it’s extremely flexible and will accommodate a lot of different additions so you can really change it up as desired, and it’s fantastic for digestion – so those of you with sensitive stomachs out there, listen up. This is a gluten-free option you can prepare quickly and easily that isn’t going to upset your digestive system (oats, the other breakfast “staple” carb, are notorious for doing this to a lot of people – so in meal plans I always default to this as a “try first” option).
Ok, how do we do this?
First challenge – finding it! Not all grocery stores carry it, and the ones that do don’t always make it easy to find. It’s often a top shelf item in a small, inconspicuous box that’s easily mixed. Find the cream of wheat (NOT the same, not even close) and it’s usually right next to it. Failing that you can always find it on Amazon as well.
Now it’s time for a little math – don’t worry, if you’re comfortable counting macros this is easier than that. We need to figure out the appropriate portion size (unless you’re following your coach’s orders, in which case skip ahead!) – the ratio you want to remember is 8:10. That’s 8g of carbs for every 10g of scale weight. So if you want 30g of carbs from this stuff, you’ll want to weigh out just under 40g of the dry stuff on the scale. In the video on this page and in these images, I’m using 55g dry to get me about 45g of carbs. At this stage you can also add any other dry ingredients into the mix – cinnamon being a very popular choice, but you can get creative and add other spices here if you’re feeling adventurous.
A quick note: pay attention to the size of the bowl you use. Something with a smaller footprint (and surface area) will make this process much smoother. This solves the problem of heat dissipation – cream of rice takes a while to cook once you add your water. Not long, but a little time. With a bowl featuring a larger footprint, it loses heat quickly and the dry stuff won’t end up fully cooked and it will be a hard brick – and no one wants that!
At this point we’re ready to add water. I use an electric tea kettle to heat up rather than a pot on the stove – it’s faster and easier to pour.
The magic ratio you want to start with is 3:1 – for every gram of dry ingredient in your bowl, you want to add 3 grams of water (scale weight). So once your water is boiling, zero out the scale and start pouring – slowly! Messing up this step (usually by going over) is going to leave you with a runny, watery, soupy gross mess. For my 55g dry, I will typically opt for about 185g water (about 20g over that 3:1 ratio) so feel free to experiment to find the ratio that works best for you, and pour carefully.
Once the water is in there, slowly stir the contents to make sure the water gets in to everything. Really you’re just using your spoon to push the dry stuff around in the bowl. I typically do this for just about 10 seconds, then put the tea kettle back, rinse of a dish, and come back to resume stirring.
As you can see, after about 10 seconds it doesn’t look like much has happened and you’re starting to think “oh crap, I messed it up!” – just be patient! It takes a good 60 to 90 seconds to do it’s thing, after which you should be seeing something a bit more like this – and continue stirring during that time as well.
Now we can add the interesting stuff – and after everything else you add, I’d give it a quick stir between ingredients. At this stage if you let it sit too long it will continue to thicken up to a point that might get unappealing, but we’re about out of the danger zone – assuming you started with that 3:1 ratio!
This is everything I add to mine – the honey isn’t an “every time” thing, only when I have extra carbs to play with. When that’s not the case I rely on a bit more sugar-free syrup. The wild blueberries are a great touch, you can use any kind of fruit or berry if you like (I love raspberries in here too, bananas can also be a good addition), but this adds a great flavor and change in texture with minimal carb impact. I add 40g scale weight which is only about 6g carbs – totally worth it!
If you do use anything frozen, add it last as it will cool down the whole bowl and effectively stop the cooking process. Depending on how much you add you may want to reheat it briefly in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (not me – metal bowl, bad idea!)
You want to leave anything frozen near the top of the bowl so it doesn’t cool down the entire thing – once the berries have thawed out a bit I’ll stir it up more thoroughly and at that point – YOU’RE READY TO DIG IN.
So there it is! A granular, way-more-detailed-than-it-probably-needs-to-be look into my favorite “every day” carb source. If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend it – and if you have, hopefully you got some ideas reading this to refine your technique and maybe some new additives to experiment with.
Macros and ingredients as shown:
- 55g dry cream of rice
- Cinnamon to taste
- 1 TBSP honey
- ~20g sugar free syrup
- 40g wild blueberries
Macros: 4/67/0 P/C/F
Goes great with eggs or egg whites!