Rice Diet Menu

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
beans and rice

The rice diet is a low-fat, low-calorie (800 to 1,200 calories per day) whole foods diet consisting mainly of grains, fruits, veggies, low-sodium beans, non-fat dairy foods, and limited quantities of other lean proteins (especially fish). You'll be eating just starches and fruit during day one of each phase -- but can add in non-starchy veggies, low-fat dairy and some fish as you progress through the diet. Steer clear of caffeine and restrict salt.

Daily Nutritional Requirements

If you choose a low-calorie diet for weight loss, it's important to meet daily nutritional needs. For example, the Institute of Medicine's dietary reference intakes (DRIs) say adults should get at least 130 grams of carbs, 46 to 56 grams of protein (a minimum for women and men, respectively), and at least 20 percent of their daily calories from dietary fat. With the exception of day 1, meal and menu plans below contain 900 to 1,200 calories and meet macronutrient (carb, protein and fat) recommendations. Diets containing 800 calories or fewer daily require medical supervision.

Portion Sizes

When following the rice diet, use the following portion sizes:

  • 1 fruit portion: 1 cup of fruit or 1 medium piece of fruit
  • 1 veggie portion: 1 cup of raw or cooked non-starchy veggies
  • 1 starch portion: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, quinoa, dry beans or oatmeal
  • 1 dairy portion: 1 cup of low-fat milk, yogurt, or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 fat portion: 1 teaspoon of oils, or 1 tablespoon of nuts

Day 1 (All Phases) Meal Plan and Sample Menu

Regardless of which phase you're in on the Rice Diet, day one remains the same: eating about 800 to 1,000 calories per day, and choosing two starches and two fruits at each meal.

  • Breakfast: 2 starches and 2 fruits (1 cup of cooked oatmeal, one cup of strawberries and small orange)
  • Lunch: 2 starches and 2 fruits (1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 1 cup of blueberries and 1 cup of melon)
  • Dinner: 2 starches and 2 fruits (1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of sliced apples and kiwi fruit)
  • Calories: 925
  • Carbs: 196 grams
  • Protein: 27 grams
  • Fat: 9 percent of calories

Phases 1 and 2 Meal Plan

healthy breakfast bowl

During phases 1 and 2 (with the exception of day 1), use the following meal plan containing about 900 to 1,000 calories per day:

  • Breakfast: 1 starch, 1 fruit and 1 low-fat dairy serving
  • Lunch: 2 starches, 2 fat, 1 vegetable and 1 fruit serving
  • Dinner: 1 starch, 1 fat, 2 vegetables and 1 fruit serving

Phase 1 or 2 Sample Menu

Using the meal plan above, try this sample menu:

  • Breakfast: 1 slice of toast, 1 cup of raspberries, and 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of pinto beans, 2 teaspoons of oil, 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, and 1 plum
  • Dinner: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 teaspoon of oil, 1 cup of carrots, 1 cup of celery, and 1 cup of pineapple
  • Calories: 961
  • Carbs: 148 grams
  • Protein: 47 grams
  • Fat: 22 percent of calories

Phase 3 Meal Plan

When following the least restrictive phase of the rice diet (phase three), try the following meal plan:

  • Breakfast: 1 fruit, 1 starch, 1 dairy, and 1 fat serving
  • Snack: 1 dairy serving
  • Lunch: 2 veggie, 2 starch, and 1 fat serving
  • Snack: 1 fruit serving
  • Dinner: 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 3 ounces of fish, poultry or seafood, and 1 fat serving

Phase 3 Sample Menus

The following menus are derived from the original rice diet phase 3, but are well-balanced enough to help meet adults' daily nutritional needs.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 1 small banana, 1 cup of whole-grain cereal, 1 cup of low-fat milk, and 1 tablespoon of walnuts
  • Snack: 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • Lunch: 2 cups of steamed asparagus, 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of cooked black beans, and 1 teaspoon of oil (or try a black beans and rice recipe)
  • Snack: 1 small apple
  • Dinner: 1 cup green of beans, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, 3 ounces of salmon, and 1 teaspoon of oil
  • Total calories: 1,235
  • Carbs: 166 grams
  • Protein: 86 grams
  • Fat: 22 percent of total calories

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1 cup of honeydew melon, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 cup of soy milk, and 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds
  • Snack: 1 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Lunch: 2 cups of celery and carrot sticks, 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of cooked pinto beans, and 1 teaspoon of oil (or try a red beans and rice recipe)
  • Snack: 1 cup of blueberries
  • Dinner: 1 cup of steamed broccoli, 3 ounces of grilled chicken, 1/2 cup of brown rice, and 1 teaspoon of oil
  • Calories: 1,234
  • Carbs: 175 grams
  • Protein: 81 grams
  • Fat: 20 percent of calories

Day 3

  • Breakfast: 1 cup of raspberries, 1 slice of whole-grain toast, 1 tablespoon of cashew butter, and 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • Snack: 1 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Lunch: 1 cup of tomatoes, 1 cup of cucumbers, 1/2 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of cooked garbanzo beans, and 1 teaspoon of oil
  • Snack: 1 cup of pineapple
  • Dinner: 1 cup of peppers sauteed in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, and 3 ounces of grilled shrimp (or, try this quinoa and garlic shrimp recipe)
  • Calories: 1,188
  • Carbs: 158 grams
  • Protein: 80 grams
  • Fat: 22 percent of calories

Choosing the Rice Diet

Picking the rice diet means you're aiming for whole foods, moderate amounts of protein and carbs, and low amounts of dietary fat. Choosing the menus above means you're still meeting daily nutrient needs, and won't necessarily require medical supervision.

Was this page useful?
Rice Diet Menu