Wendyl Wants To Know

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl wants to know: Grains of good in rice snack

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Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label says about its contents.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

SunRice Stir Fry Brown Rice. $3.06 for two 125g cups.

Busy parents are always on the lookout for quick snacks for the kids or themselves to take to work for lunch. Many people now rely on the vast array of instant noodles available as a quick, easy to prepare, hot snack but I've been searching for other, healthier alternatives.

This rice snack wasn't initially inviting as it contained scrambled egg which, when shoved in a plastic cup, is a bit off-putting. But the rest of the ingredients panel looked pretty good.

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first):

Cooked rice

(62 per cent) (water, parboiled long grain rice)

No mention here of brown rice but the stuff in the plastic cup certainly looks like brown rice and is probably jasmine or basmati. Many people are put off cooking brown rice because it takes longer than white rice and always seems to burn on the bottom of the saucepan.

Or perhaps that's just at my house.

But healthy eaters know it is worth the effort for the added benefits of a wholegrain rather than white rice which has had the outer shell removed when it is refined.

If you eat rice as it comes, brown and with the shell still on, you get more fibre and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and selenium as well as folate.

Vegetables

(18 per cent) (sweet corn, carrot, peas, celery)

I doubt the vegetables here would contribute a great deal to your Five Plus a Day. At 18 per cent of the 125g cup they make up just 22g, which is about half a carrot.

Scrambled egg

(7 per cent) (egg, water, sunflower oil, modified corn starch (1422), salt, spice.

The actual egg content of this cup of stir fry rice is actually 3.5 per cent according to the ingredients list. So you're getting just over 4g of egg. An average egg weighs about 57g so you're actually getting 1/14th of an egg in here. And unlike scrambled eggs we make at home it has been mixed with sunflower oil and modified corn starch rather than butter.

Water

Sunflower oil

This is a good oil for your health as it high in Vitamin E and low in saturated fat. The fat content of one 125g serve is low at 4.8g (less than 1g saturated fat).

Sugar

There is 3.6g of sugar a serve, which is under a teaspoon.

Salt

Sodium levels are on the high side with 700mg per serve.

Vegetable powder

(garlic, onion) This will be dried garlic and onion, in here for flavour.

Yeast extract

This will be in here to add a meaty flavour.

Soy sauce

(soybean, wheat flour, water, salt, sugar) These are pretty good soy sauce ingredients without the preservatives and added colour found in some.

Distilled monoglyceride

This is an emulsifier most likely in here to keep the food moist. I couldn't find any known health effects attached to it.

Spices

In here as a flavouring.

My recommendations

As a snack this is a much better choice, in my opinion, than instant noodles because they have a lot less additives and no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.

And there is more real food in the form of wholegrain rice and vegetables and egg, even if the quantities of the last two are minimal.

At 988kj or 236 calories you could add a chopped up boiled egg or fry one and place it on top, or a small tin of tuna and bump up the protein levels for growing kids and throw in some chopped tomato and grated carrot to increase the vegetables.

There is a lot of salt in here, however, so best avoided if you are on a low-salt diet.

This is a product designed for microwaves and it cooks in 40 seconds but for old-fashioned people like me it heats just as well in a small saucepan with a little water added, in a minute.


Highlights

*No preservatives, artificial flavours or colours.
*Only 22g of vegetables and 1/14th of an egg per serve.
*Brown rice which gives you wholegrain benefits.


Click here to read Wendyl's columns on other food products


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- NZ Herald

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