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Chicken and Rice Diet: Health & Weight-Loss Effects

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a meal with white rice and roasted chicken breast and spinach, chicken and rice diet
Jonathan Valdez post Reviewer Jonathan Valdez post Reviewer
Verified by Jonathan Valdez
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist in NYC, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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Any person looking to drop some fat or gain a little muscle has probably included chicken and rice at least once in their diet. This combo commonly appears on the plates of those with specific fitness or health goals, but is chicken and rice good for you? 

This article will discuss the health benefits of eating chicken and rice, whether this meal is good for achieving weight loss or muscle gain, and how to make it more nutritious. 

What Is the Chicken and Rice Diet?

Rice and chicken is a very popular combo found in the diets of those who want to either shed some fat or gain muscle mass, and that’s no coincidence.

This meal is mostly renowned for being a part of bodybuilders’ diets, meaning for those who are training hard to stay lean and build muscle. As a result, it’s quickly become a staple for anyone aiming to achieve similar results, also thanks to its simplicity and fairly palatable taste. 

You may also like: How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time

Is Eating Chicken and Rice Healthy?

Chicken and rice is a very common food combination among fit-pros and gym enthusiasts, as it is considered very healthy.

That is because these two food items are minimally processed and provide carbohydrates and protein, two of the key nutrients for training well and building muscle mass. [1]

Chicken is a high-quality protein source, meaning it provides all the amino acids required to build and repair muscles, while rice provides easily digestible carbohydrates, which are great for pre- and post-workout meals. 

Below you can find the nutritional values for a 100 g serving of both rice and chicken as stated by the USDA. [2] [3]

White Rice, Cooked Chicken Breast, Cooked
Energy130 Cal80 Cal
Carbohydrates28.6 g0 g
Fats0.21 g1.25 g
Of which saturated0.06 gNot provided
Protein2.38 g18 g

Overall, an average rice and chicken meal might look like this:

  • Roasted chicken breast, skinless: 140 g 
  • Cooked white rice: 225 g 
Energy 467 Cal
Carbohydrates59 g
Fats3 g
Of which saturated2.8 g
Protein42 g

Chicken and rice would therefore be a healthy addition to your diet. However, it is important to note that the meat cut chosen, the cooking method used, and the condiments added can change the nutritional value of this meal. 

Benefits of Eating Chicken and Rice

Eating chicken and rice can provide plenty of benefits to your health. Below we outline the main ones:

  • High content of complete/high-quality protein
  • Increased sense of fullness and satiety
  • Supply of fiber, as long as the white rice is replaced with brown rice
  • Muscle gain support by triggering a postprandial anabolic response

Is Eating Chicken and Rice Every Day Healthy?

No matter what your goal is, chicken and rice are good for you. However, this does not mean you should only eat these two foods and discard all others. 

White rice and chicken mainly provide protein and carbohydrates, but they lack other important nutrients, like vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber. It is, therefore, important to have a varied diet to increase your intake of nutrients and prevent some serious nutritional deficiencies if your aim is to achieve optimal health. 

In your other meals, you should be sure to incorporate vegetables and fruits. You might also consider whole grain rice post-workout for higher protein, fiber, and nutrient content. 

However, avoid eating high-fiber foods before workouts to prevent stomach issues.

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Are Chicken and Rice Good for Weight Loss?

Chicken and rice meals can be a great aid for weight loss as these foods are less energy-dense compared to more highly processed food items. 

That means the volume of a serving portion is greater for the same amount of calories, which helps you feel more satisfied at the end of a meal. [4] Likewise, the high-protein content further aids in the feeling of satiety but also helps you maintain muscle mass if you’re trying to lose weight. [5] [6] Preserving your muscles is very important in keeping your metabolism active when following a fat-loss protocol, and it also makes it easier to maintain your results once the target weight has been achieved. 

If you want to lose weight and achieve great results, you need to combine exercise with a balanced diet that includes high protein intake throughout the day. This can be simplified by using an all-in-one weight-loss app, where you can manage and keep track of both your diet and your training all in one place. 

Is the Chicken and Rice Diet Good for Weight and Muscle Gain?

Chicken and rice is a very common and effective food combination used in bodybuilding for weight gain and increasing muscle size. This is because it provides high amounts of complete proteins and complex carbohydrates. The former is important in preventing muscle breakdown and promoting muscular repair and growth, while the latter is essential for providing the body with the energy to push hard at the gym and trigger anabolic responses. [7] 

How to Eat Chicken and Rice in a Healthy Way

Below we provide a few tips for adding extra nutrition to this meal to make it more balanced.

Switch to Brown Rice

White rice is not an unhealthy food. However, there are some ways to add more nutrition to a rice and chicken diet. One option is to have brown rice and chicken instead to have a healthy meal that is also richer in nutrients.

Adding brown rice can, in fact, increase fiber intake, which slows down the digestion process [8], and that, in turn, can further help preserve satiety for longer after you have had your meal. However, when switching to brown rice, consider consuming it post-workout versus pre-workout to avoid digestion issues.

Add Vegetables

If you want to have a healthy meal packed with nutrients such as fiber and vitamins, you should add some vegetables to your dish.

Vegetables can be included in your chicken and rice meal in combination with one of the main ingredients, like vegetable rice, or as a side dish. Adding some vegetables also helps increase the meal’s volume and assist satiation, especially important if on a fat-loss plan.

Chose a Healthy Cooking Method

It is important to pick a healthy cooking method when wanting to eat healthy, such as baking, steaming, air frying, or grilling. It is also important to avoid excessive use of marinades, oil, or butter when cooking your chicken, so a non-stick pan can be a great aid. 

Pick a Lean Cut of Chicken

Wings and thighs are delicious. However, they also provide more fat and calories, which can add up if eaten often. Instead, opt for leaner cuts like the breast. If you find the breast too bland or boring, simply add spices or herbs to give it more flavor. 

Have a Varied Diet

Despite chicken and rice being healthy foods, you should not base your diet solely on this meal, as that can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies. It is important to combine different types of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables, so that you get a wide range of nutrients to sustain your health.  

Wrapping Up

Chicken and rice can be a healthy addition to your diet, although it is important to remember that to stay healthy you should aim to consume more nutrients than just carbohydrates and proteins. Below you can find the main points about this popular food combo:

  • If your aim is to eat healthily, chicken and rice are a good addition to your diet. However, that does not mean you should base all your meals solely on these two food items. Aim to vary your diet as much as possible to prevent deficiencies and nutritional imbalances
  • Chicken and rice can support weight loss as they help with satiety and provide a good amount of protein, essential for preventing muscle loss
  • Eating chicken and rice can support muscle growth as it triggers postprandial anabolic responses and supplies energy to sustain intense training sessions 
  • Chicken and rice can be a healthy and balanced meal, as long as it is paired with vegetables, healthy cooking methods are chosen, and lean cuts of meat are used
  • Switch to brown rice and chicken, or add vegetables, if you want to make this meal healthier and add more nutrients and fiber to your diet
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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