You are what you eat
Acolleague's lunchtime Kohinoor Rice Treat caught my attention recently. It looked and smelt great.
They are available in several flavours but the Butter Chicken Sauce with Basmati Rice & Paneer is the flavour being analysed. One Rice Treat costs $2.69, other heat and eat rice meals can be upwards of $4 so Kohinoor is an economical choice.
A classic lunch option such as sandwiches and a piece of fruit provides a good baseline to compare the Rice Treats with. A healthy lunch should contain complex carbohydrates, protein and some fruit or veges. The nutrients I am interested in are fibre, protein, fat, and the sodium content. Healthy snack and meal recommendations for fibre is over 6 grams/100g, sodium is under 450milligrams/100g and total fat should be no more then 10g/100g.
Consider a standard sandwich of two slices of wholegrain bread, a scraping of margarine, a slice of ham, lettuce and tomato with an apple. The sandwich and apple provide 10g of fibre or 3g/100g, not meeting fibre recommendations per 100g but contributing largely to your overall daily fibre intake which should be between 25-30g of fibre a day. You would also consume 20g of protein and 9g of fat, meaning it is likely to keep you satisfied and is a good choice if you are trying to lose weight. The whole sandwich and apple would have 986mg of sodium or 303mg/100g, making it a good choice if you have high blood pressure. These values can be altered by the bread and filling used. Include more salad ingredients like cucumber or bean sprouts to increase the fibre. Processed meats, like ham, can be high in sodium and can be swapped with shredded chicken or cottage cheese for good protein options.
The Rice Treat is 250g for a serve. Fibre isn't mentioned on the nutrition information panel, which usually indicates this is minimal. A combination of fibre and protein is needed to keep you full. Based on the quantity and type of rice, I estimate there is 1g of fibre in the whole Rice Treat. This is major downfall.
It has 10g of protein, half of what the sandwich offers.
The front of the pack says it's "low in cholesterol and trans fat free" ("bad" fat). Based on the nutrition information, this is true. There is 10g of total fat per sachet or 4g/100g, which is within the recommendations.
A lot of pre-packaged meals contain high levels of sodium to enhance the flavour. I was pleasantly surprised to find the whole Rice Treat had 838mg or 335mg/100g. This is low and gives the brand serious brownie points.
So, in comparison to a sandwich and fruit, Kohinoor Rice Treat (Butter Chicken Sauce with Basmati Rice & Paneer) has significantly lower fibre and protein, but similar sodium and fat content.
If you get bored with the same lunch, Rice Treats are an easy option to vamp it up. I would add a protein, such as tuna or egg, and fibre from mixed veges.
Prepared by Maggie Radich, Student, Master of Dietetics.
Taranaki Daily News