Conventional diet wisdom says that all those enticing carbohydrates – potatoes and pasta and rice – are not good for a dieter.
The truth is, they are all fine for a diet (well, maybe not white rice so much) in moderation.
What’s bad about the high carbohydrate side dishes is the sour cream, butter, alfredo sauce, bacon bits, cheese, and all the other toppings that add tons of calories to an already tasty side dish.
Pasta or Rice or Potatoes – Which is Best
A baked potato dripping with butter offsets any nutritional value.
Many dieters are surprised to learn that potatoes and rice can be good for a diet since they are almost fat free. And they are fairly close calorie wise.
Even pasta (especially whole grain) is not a bad diet food – in moderation (no pound of pasta per serving, please!)
Potatoes have Vitamins and Minerals
Long rejected in many dieters’ minds, potatoes are an excellent food choice and have fewer carbohydrates than whole grain pasta and brown rice.
Generally, potatoes have more vitamins and nutrients than rice. A medium baked potato is about 230 calories; it provides about 3 grams of fiber if the skin is eaten and 2.3 grams if it is not.
Of course, when it comes to potatoes, it’s all about the recipe. A baked potato is fine (especially if plain). Delmonico cheese potatoes, French fries, and even mashed do not cut it on a dieter’s quest to see the scale drop.
Rice – Brown Rice is Best
A quick note about white rice. Although a cup of white rice is about 240 calories and brown rice is 215, the issue is not the calories versus the nutritional value.
Brown rice is “unrefined” white rice. Brown rice still has the side hull and bran, which are rich in proteins, fiber, thiamine, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
Brown rice is believed by most nutritionists to be simply better for you (although there are a few who argue in favor of white rice).
A cup of brown rice provides 3.5 grams of fiber; the same serving size of white rice has .6 grams of fiber.
And Then There’s Pasta
No pasta allowed on your diet? You may be denying yourself an enjoyable diet food. A half-cup of whole-wheat pasta is only 90 calories.
Obviously, a half-cup of pasta hardly constitutes a meal, but as part of, say, a chicken and vegetable stir fry, it can be not only delicious but also filling.
A cup of whole wheat has 180 calories; the same amount of white pasta is 240 calories
Let the potato versus rice versus pasta debate rage around you. Meanwhile you sit and relish a delicious medium baked potato, a cup of tasty brown rice OR a small portion of whole-wheat pasta (of course with no added high calories toppings).
Relax and know you are not only sticking to your diet, but you are doing so wisely and nutritionally.