Is Steamed Chicken and Rice Healthy? The Surprising Health Benefits of a Simple Meal

Is Steamed Chicken and Rice Healthy?

According to dietician Jane, “Yes, steamed chicken and rice is a healthy meal option. But there’s a catch – the ingredients and preparation method greatly affect just how healthy it turns out.” 

Want the full scoop? Keep reading to unlock tips for making this classic meal truly nutritious for your body.

Key Takeaways

Steamed chicken and rice can be a very healthy meal when prepared properly. Steaming the chicken helps retain nutrients while keeping fat and calories low, and pairing it with brown or white rice and vegetables boosts the nutritional value even more.

Is Steamed Chicken and Rice Healthy?

As your nutritionist, I know many of you wonder whether simple yet classic meals like steamed chicken and rice are actually good for you. 

Well today I’m digging into the details so you know the real value this staple meal can offer! 

While it may seem boring compared to trendier options, this tasty team of chicken and rice has some science-backed perks you shouldn’t overlook.

Between the protein-packed chicken and whole grain goodness of brown rice, you get a perfect storm of nutrients to fuel your active days. I mean heck, eatin’ right is just as important as exercise amiright?!

Let me walk ya through what makes this classic combo such a champ. 

For starters, the chicken breast is about as lean as it gets – a mere hundred calories or so for a three ounce servin’ but a whoppin’ 25 grams of muscle-buildin’ protein. That protein keeps hunger at bay for hours! 

Its fats are also the heart-healthy kind. Meanwhile, fiber in brown rice helps control blood sugar so you don’t crash later. Plus it’s loaded with minerals our bodies need like magnesium. 

Cookin’ with steam maintains all those good-for-ya nutrients other higher heat methods can wash away (1). You simply can’t beat the nutrition!

Nutritional Benefits of Steamed Chicken and Rice

The Basic Nutritional Breakdown of Chicken and Rice

Let’s start with the main ingredients – chicken and rice. Chicken is well known as a lean source of high-quality protein. 

A 3-ounce serving of cooked chicken contains around 27 grams of protein which is more than half of the recommended daily amount for an adult. 

This protein helps build and repair muscles, organs and tissues! Chicken is also low in fat compared to other meats like beef.

Rice contains essential carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked rice has about 28 grams of carbs along with valuable B vitamins and minerals like selenium, manganese and phosphorus. 

While white rice is more processed than rice, it still fits well in a balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation.

Cooking Chicken and Rice Together Maximizes Nutrition

Preparing chicken and rice as a combo dish results in a meal that’s more than just the sum of its parts. The nutrients in each actually work together in beneficial ways:

  • Cooking chicken in broth or stock allows it to absorb flavors and minerals from the liquid. The broth adds sodium, potassium and other electrolytes.
  • Rice absorbs and retains some of the protein-rich juices from the chicken as it cooks, infusing it with extra nourishment.
  • Chicken provides loylesterol and tyrosine, an amino acid important for stress response. Rice is high in tryptophan which boosts mood and sleep. Their combination supports overall wellness.

Additionally, these complete plant and animal sources of protein, carbs and nutrients provide sustained satiety when cooked and consumed together. A fulfilling chicken and rice meal can help prevent overeating at future meals!

Nutritional Stats of Steamed Chicken and Rice

Take a look at the impressive nutritional profile of a typical 3-ounce serving of steamed chicken and 1/2 cup of rice:

Chicken and Rice Nutrition Facts
Calories: 175
Protein: 27g
Carbohydrates: 28g
Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 75mg
Sodium: 125mg
Fiber: 1g
Calcium: 25% DV
Iron: 10% DV
Vitamin B6: 20% DV

Eating steamed chicken and rice gives you a balanced meal packed with high-quality nutrition in a satisfying yet low-calorie package. No wonder this simple dish has been a kitchen classic for generations!

Factors Affecting the Healthiness

Cooking Methods 

The way we cook our foods can have a big impact on their overall NUTRITIONAL VALUE. When it comes to steamed chicken and rice, steaming is one of the com methods we can use.

Steaming keeps foods moist by trapping the heat and steam inside, preventing nutrients from being lost to boiling water or escaping into the air like they do with other dry-heat methods like baking or frying. 

Many vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that can get depleted through other cooking styles remain intact with steaming.

Steamed chicken and rice also tends to be lower in fat and calories than other preparations that involve oils or other fats added during the cooking process. 

The steam helps lock in the natural juices and flavor of the chicken while keeping it tender and moist.

Sauces and Seasonings

While a little sauce or seasoning can add flavor, be careful not to overdo it as some additions can up the sodium, fat, sugar, and calorie contents. 

Look for low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, fresh or dried herbs, minced garlic, grated ginger, and lime or lemon juice as healthier flavor boosters. 

Limit use of creamy sauces, dressings, cheeses, or fatty ingredients like coconut milk or oil which can greatly increase the meal’s caloric and fat contents.

Variety and Portion Size

For optimal nutrition, try to diversify your grains and proteins with each meal. Mix it up with brown rice, quinoa, beans, salmon, tofu, or other lean meats beyond just chicken and white rice for their unique vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Also be mindful of portion sizes, as it’s easy to overeat steamed rice and chicken. Aim for approximately half your plate being veggies or a salad with the rest being a moderate serving of the protein and grains.

Portion control and variety will help you feel full and satisfied while still balancing your calories, carbs, proteins and other important nutrients for maximum health benefits. 

Steamed chicken and rice alone in large amounts could leave you feeling lacking in dietary fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals from other foods if over-relied upon as your daily meal.

Making it More Nutritious and Flavorful

Is Steamed Chicken and Rice Healthy?

Protein Boost

Did you know that adding some beans, lentils or eggs to your steamy chicken and rice can supersize your protein? 

That’s right – sneakin’ in a sidekick of chickpeas, black beans or protein-packed peas increases the sustaining muscle-mendin’ matter without blowin’ your calories. 

Based on my cookin’ experiments over the years, I’ve found even a half cup of beans or ‘eggs of choice’ turns your meal into a triple threat of taste, fullness and nutrients that’ll energize your day. 


Remember folks, veggie varieties are where it’s at for important vitamins, minerals and those antioxidant superheroes. 

When I get my chicken breast and brown rice steamin’, I like tossin’ in some carrots, broccoli or spinach for quick-cookin’ nutrition. 

In my house, we especially love lots of leafy greens like kale mixed right in – it adds flavor and fills you up without any guilt. My dear ole’ grandma used to say “eat your colors” and she was right as rain. Steam it all together and you’ve got one pot of complete wholesome eatin’.

Whole Grains

Now I know refried rice can be a comfort, but hear me out – swappin’ half that white stuff for whole grains is a smart move. Go for barley, bulgur, quinoa, whole wheat or brown rice and you upgrade your fiber, vitamins and minerals without losin’ the taste. 

Why, the selenium and B vitamins in whole grains alone may help your heart. Since switchin’ it up, I’ve found these heartier choices keep me satisfied well past lunch with their filling-factor. 

Herbs and Spices  

Liven up your layout with lively seasonin’ instead of empty calories, y’all. I’m talkin’ fresh basil, cilantro, thyme – even a squeeze of citrus. Black pepper is a classic kick too. 

These botanicals add flava’ without the extra baggage and studies show certain varieties like oregano have antioxidant superpowers. 

With a touch of tarragon or dill, your mundane meal is instantly more merry. Trust me, livin’ it up with lively leafy veggies and zesty zingers is a game changer.


Now I’ll let you in on a little secret – homemade dips and dapps made from leftover veggies or nuts take chicken and rice from bland to grand, just like that. 

Picture roasting some red peppers or tomatoes, whirrin’ em up and – voila! Instant sun-dried tomato hummus is born. 

Peanut butter, yogurt and curry are other mix-in magic I swears by. Get inventive with nature’s condiments and you’ve got hunger-squashin’ nutrition in every bite.

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Credit : Hello, Foody!

Is Steamed Chicken and Rice Healthy for Weight Loss?

High Protein Diet Helps Lose Weight

Folks, it’s a fact that choosing proteins over carbs and fats aids in slimming down (2). Chicken provides quality protein to build muscle and keep you feelin’ satisfied for hours. 

In my experience shed din’ pounds, I found chicken to be a hearty choice that curbed cravings between meals without the extra baggage of red meat.

Complex Carbs in Rice Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes

Now we all know sweets and simple starches can cause crashes and urges to overindulge. But rice plays by different rules – studies show its calmin’ carbs are slowly released for steady energy. 

Believe it or not, the GI of white rice is lower than potato! For anyone lookin’ to lose without feelin’ deprived, rice offers balanced fuel to power through (3).

Balanced Macros and Calorie Control

So in moderation, chicken and rice can fit right in a calorie-counted plan. The key is packin’ your plate sparse with lots of non-starchy veggies for volume without calories. 

For accountability, I like portionin’ meals ahead of time. With control over sizes and any oils/toppins, you’re good to go for gradual losses.

Avoid Oil, Cream and Sugary Sauces

If usin’ sauces or butter to flavor, go easy – they pack more fat per spoonful than you think! Botanical seasonin’s like garlic, ginger or citrus add excitement without the extra weight. 

When losin’, simplicity is best. Steamed and seasoned light is all this duo demands to succeed in helpin’ you shed unneeded pounds for health and confidence.

Answering Common Questions

Is White or Brown Rice Healthier?

Brown rice scores higher on fiber and nutrients but white rice in moderation is fine if paired with protein, veggies and herbs. 

As an experienced home cook, I’ve found including a variety of whole grains helps you feel full and satisfied while getting important minerals and phytonutrients. Both can be part of a healthy diet when prepared right.

How Often Can I Eat Chicken and Rice?

I recommend enjoying chicken and rice dishes 2-3 times a week to gain benefits from the high-quality protein and complex carbs. 

Mixing it up with other protein sources prevents boredom and ensures a balanced nutrition profile. 

While the combo is quite filling and nutritious, your body needs different micronutrients found in seafood, beans, nuts and more throughout the week. Variety is truly the spice of life!

What Cuts of Chicken Are Best?

As a longtime home chef, I’ve learned breast meat is certainly lean but thighs add flavor and moisture since they contain more fat. 

For balanced nutrition, mixing light and dark cuts together provides a full amino acid profile plus skin offers extra nutrients like selenium and vitamin A when eaten in moderation. 

Removing the skin is a simple way to cut calories while keeping tastebud satisfaction high.


As a nutrition expert, I hope you find these tips on steamed chicken and rice useful and informative.

By choosing whole grains like brown rice over white, tapping into lean protein from chicken breast, and jazzing it up with assorted veggies and seasonings, you’ve got one mighty meal that keeps your energy up and health on point. 

Of course, watching portion sizes and limiting oils is crucial too. As studies show, complex carbs from rice release energy slowly to prevent cravings later on. 

And chicken’s protein is filling to help control calories intake overall. So next time you need an easy dinner in a pinch, don’t knock this classic combo – just be sure to get creative in the kitchen! Let me know if you have any other nutrition questions. Stay healthy friends!



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