Medically reviewed and cowritten by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Rice Benefits

Did you know in some parts of the world, the phrase ‘to eat’ literally means ‘to eat rice’? Rice supplies about half of the daily calories for half of the world’s population, and for good reason. This versatile grain is rich in B vitamins, iron, and many other nutritious minerals, making it a great option for your baby and kiddos. Eating rice has been shown to help with weight management, reduce the risk of certain cancers, help protect kids against childhood asthma, and lower high cholesterol – what’s not to love?


There are tons of different types of rice and each one will have a different nutrient profile, depending on what type it is and how it is processed. Many white rice for instance, have been enriched so that the nutrients lost in the processing from brown rice are added back. But read the label to know which one is right for you and your family. Brown rice has many health benefits since it has been minimally processed.

  • High in fiber, which will keep baby’s digestion regular and keep constipation at bay.
  • A great source of B vitamins, which are important for our brain and nervous system.
  • An excellent source of manganese, necessary for metabolism, calcium absorption and nerve function.

Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Rice


Thiamin – this B vitamin promotes bone and muscle growth, good vision and healthy skin
Niacin – another B vitamin that helps keep skin and gums healthy by maintaining good blood circulation
Folate – this B vitamin supports energy production within each cell in the body and supports a healthy nervous system
Pantothenic Acid – also known as vitamin B5, this vitamin supports the immune system, healthy hormone production and basic metabolic functions of the body


Iron – this mineral is a blood building nutrient and enhances the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells
Manganese – a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and helps form bone and cartilage
Selenium – this trace mineral supports the immune system and healthy thyroid function
Phosphorus – about 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in bone, making it crucial for healthy bone and teeth growth
Zinc – an immune boosting mineral that helps support baby’s appetite and healthy digestion

Brown or White Rice

The difference between brown and white rice is not just in the color, it’s in the processing. A whole grain of rice starts out with 7 layers. The outermost layer, or the hull, is removed to produce brown rice and is the least damaging to the nutritional value. When white rice is produced, the brown rice is milled to remove the bran and most of the germ layer, creating a whiter rice that has unfortunately lost up to 90% of its b vitamin, iron, and mineral content. Many white rices have been enriched with some of these vitamins and minerals to make them a little bit more nutritious, but some have not, so read the label.

How to Select and Store Rice

Rice does have a higher level of arsenic in it than other grains. Unfortunately, organic does not have any less arsenic than conventionally grown, so just be sure to serve a variety of grains.

Since brown rice is minimally processed and still has its oil-rich germ, storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator is important to avoid rancidity. White rice, on the other hand, should still be stored in an airtight container but can be kept in a cool, dry place rather than the refrigerator.

Cooked rice should be refrigerated in an airtight container and eaten within 2-4 days.

Like all grains, rinse the rice thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris and to prevent sticking. To cook, add one part rice to two parts boiling water or broth, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Of note, brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice to read package instructions. Rice is incredibly versatile and can be eaten on its own, used as a base for nutritious rice puddings or even ground into a powder for homemade rice cereal for baby!

Favorite Rice Recipes

Graphic for post - how to make baby rice cereal - with photo of white bowl on blue napkin with a wooden spoon sitting in the bowl with a creamy rice cereal.

Homemade Baby Rice Cereal

4.91 stars (64 ratings)
Using only 1-ingredient, this Homemade Baby Rice Cereal is a simple and easy recipe to make baby!
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Kids blue bowl and plate with fluffy cheese rice inside with blue spoon resting on top.

Easy Stovetop Cheesy Rice

3 stars (2 ratings)
This cheesy rice is a savory and satisfying dish that both kids and adults will love. It's similar in taste to mac and cheese and just as easy to prepare!
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white bowl filled with brown rice, veggies and chunks of scrambled egg. white bowl is sitting on an orange napkin with flowers on it.

Easy Veggie “Fried” Rice for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (41 ratings)
This healthy version of the classic dish is filled with your favorite rice, a mix of veggies and a scrambled egg for some protein. You can use whichever veggies your little one prefers to make this dish and instant classic in your home.
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small bowl filled with rice cereal for baby.

Banana Coconut Rice Breakfast Cereal for Baby

5 stars (5 ratings)
This fun and flavorful breakfast cereal is made with banana, coconut milk, complete rice cereal and a pinch of cinnamon.
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Clear glass jar filled with peach rice pudding for baby and toddler.

Peach Rice Pudding with Vanilla + Cinnamon

4.92 stars (12 ratings)
This Peach Rice Pudding is the perfect way to showcase the amazing taste of peaches for baby and toddler.
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