Is Chicken and Rice Good For Weight Loss?

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chicken and rice served on a white plate (Is chicken and rice good for weight loss?)

Is chicken and rice good for weight loss? The simple answer? Yes, chicken and rice can indeed be a good combo for weight loss. Because chicken is a lean source of protein that can help maintain muscle mass while you’re on a weight loss journey.

And rice, in particular brown rice, serves up a helping of complex carbohydrates, keeping you fueled and satisfied. Together, they can be a formidable ally in your weight loss mission.

But here’s where it gets interesting: while this dynamic duo can be beneficial for weight loss, it’s far from the whole picture. And, if we’re being honest, who wants to eat just chicken and rice all the time? Variety is not just the spice of life; it’s a key component of a balanced, healthy diet.

So, if you’re ready to dive deeper into the chicken and rice diet conundrum, you’re in the right place. Let’s dig in!

Nutritional Value of Chicken and Rice

As per Nutritionix, 1 cup of chicken and rice contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 1 cup (183 g)

  • Calories: 266
  • Protein: 34 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Carbs: 11 g
  • Fiber: 0.5 g
  • Sodium: 276 g

Also Read: Are Rice Noodles Good for Weight Loss?

The Potential Benefits of Chicken and Rice for Weight Loss

chicken and rice on a white plate

You might be wondering, what exactly makes the combination of chicken and rice ok to include in your diet? It boils down to a few key reasons:

It is a High-Protein Meal

First up, chicken is packed with protein. A single chicken breast could provide about 54 grams of protein, and we all know protein is the real MVP when it comes to weight loss. Why?

It’s all about satiety. Proteins take longer to digest, keeping you feeling full and satisfied longer, thereby reducing the chances of reaching out for that extra snack..

Research has shown that a high-protein diet can reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and cut the desire for late-night snacking by half!

Essentially, when you eat chicken, you’re filling your body with a lean protein that curbs your appetite and helps you eat fewer calories without even trying.

A Steady Flow of Complex Carbohydrates

Now, onto the rice. “Wait, aren’t carbs bad?” you might ask. Despite the bad rap they sometimes get, carbohydrates are actually essential to your body.

They’re your body’s primary source of energy, fueling everything from your morning jog to your late-night work session. But it depends on the kind of carbs too.

When you pair your chicken with brown rice, you’re giving your body a steady flow of complex carbs, which is essential for maintaining your stamina throughout the day.

This is especially crucial if you’re pairing your diet with exercise (which, by the way, is a great idea!). You need the energy to stay active and burn more calories, and rice helps you do just that.

The Muscle Mass Maintainers

Remember that protein we talked about earlier? It’s not just great for curbing your hunger. Protein found abundantly in chicken, is also the building block of your muscles.

When you’re on a weight loss journey, you want to shed fat, not muscle, right?

Eating a high-protein meal, like chicken and rice, can help you with muscle growth and maintain it even as you lose weight.

Growing your muscle mass can increase your metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories even at rest, which can support your weight loss goals.

This means you get a double benefit – losing the weight you want to lose while keeping the muscle you want to keep.

The Perfect Pair for Balance

Finally, the combination of chicken and rice creates a balanced meal in terms of macronutrients – proteins and carbs. This balance is crucial in a weight loss diet.

While the chicken provides lean protein, the rice offers complex carbohydrates.

Together, they make a meal that is satisfying, energy-boosting, and muscle-preserving. Not too shabby for a simple chicken and rice dish, eh?

Also Read: Are Pork Chops Good for Weight Loss?

Downsides of Consuming Chicken and Rice for Weight Loss

chicken and rice served in a recycled plate

Alright, I have been singing praises of chicken and rice, and for good reason. But like any good story, there’s another side to consider.

Let’s flip the coin and look at some potential downsides of the chicken and rice diet for weight loss. After all, it’s always good to have the full picture, isn’t it?

Missing the Fat Boat

Did you notice something missing in our chicken and rice discussion? Yes, you got it – fat! Healthy fats are the unsung heroes of a balanced diet.

They’re essential for absorbing vitamins, producing hormones, and even providing energy.

While chicken does contain some fat, it might not provide enough, especially if you’re mostly consuming lean cuts like chicken breasts.

In a chicken and rice diet, there’s a risk that you might not be getting enough healthy fats, which could potentially affect your overall health and even your satiety levels.

Remember, fat provides a sense of fullness too, and it might help you feel more satisfied after meals, reducing the temptation to snack.

Lacking the Rainbow

“Variety is the spice of life,” they say, and it holds true for your diet as well. A variety of foods ensures a range of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds like antioxidants.

However, when you’re predominantly consuming chicken and rice, there’s a chance that you might be missing out on other nutritious foods.

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds – all these come with their unique nutritional profiles, providing different health benefits and essential nutrients.

A lack of these in your diet could potentially lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Cooking Makes a Difference: The Sneaky Calorie Addition

How you cook your chicken and rice can make a world of difference.

Fried chicken, for instance, is packed with more calories than it’s grilled or boiled counterparts, thanks to the additional oil.

The same goes for rice – adding butter or cheese might take it from a healthy option to a high-calorie trap.

It’s a tricky game. The hidden calories in certain cooking methods could sabotage your weight loss efforts if you’re not careful.

Remember, consuming more calories than you burn leads to weight gain, not loss.

The White Rice Trap: The Spike Factor

While we have been discussing rice as part of this diet, it’s important to distinguish between white rice and brown rice.

White rice has a high glycemic index (GI), meaning it can rapidly spike your blood sugar levels.

These spikes often lead to crashes, resulting in increased hunger and potential overeating.

Over time, consuming high-GI foods like white rice could even increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Also Read: Is Gatorade Good for Weight Loss?

Incorporating Chicken and Rice into a Balanced and Healthy Weight Loss Diet

Chicken and rice can be a healthy meal to include in your weight loss journey. However, the key lies in weaving them into a well-balanced and diverse diet.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can hit a home run with a chicken and rice diet, without striking out on the health front.

Welcoming Good Fats

A balanced diet isn’t just about protein and carbs, healthy fats deserve a spot on your plate too.

While lean protein sources like chicken breasts are great for a high-protein diet, they are low in fat.

And let’s not forget, our body needs fats for vital functions like absorbing certain vitamins and supporting cell growth.

So, how can we bridge this gap? Say hello to avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Sprinkle some nuts on your chicken salad, or perhaps a dollop of guacamole on your chicken wrap?

Drizzling extra virgin olive oil over your brown rice is another great way to invite these good fats into your meal.

By doing this, you’ll not only enhance the nutritional profile but also add an extra layer of flavor to your meals.

The Power of Produce

Fruits and vegetables are the unsung heroes when it comes to a balanced diet.

A chicken and rice meal might provide protein and carbs, but it misses out on the wide range of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and veggies offer.

So why not add a rainbow of vegetables to your chicken stir-fry? Or how about a side of mixed fruit with your chicken and rice lunch?

These additions increase your meal’s fiber content, which aids digestion and helps you feel full, while also offering a wide array of health-boosting nutrients.

Plus, they add a splash of color to your plate, making the meal visually appealing.

Choosing the Right Rice

When it comes to rice, it’s essential to choose wisely.

White rice may be more commonly consumed, but it falls short in terms of nutritional value when compared to its less processed counterpart, brown rice.

Brown rice is higher in fiber and has a lower glycemic index, meaning it’s digested slower and results in a more gradual rise in blood sugar.

This helps keep you feeling satisfied longer and helps avoid those dreaded energy crashes.

Cooking with Care

It’s not just about what you cook, but how you cook it.

Different cooking methods can significantly impact the nutritional value of your food.

Grilling or boiling your chicken and steaming your rice can help maintain their nutritional integrity, while also keeping added fats to a minimum.

Spices and herbs can be your best friends here. They help to enhance the flavor of your meal without adding extra calories.

Think grilled chicken marinated with garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, served with steamed brown rice. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Portion Control

Portion control is really important in any weight loss journey.

The key is to ensure that you’re eating a balanced healthy meal, not a balanced day’s worth of food on a single plate.

One useful method is the “plate method,” where you fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein (hello, chicken!), and a quarter with a whole grain (enter, brown rice).

Variety is Key

No matter how much you love chicken and rice, eating them every day could eventually feel monotonous.

Regularly rotating your protein sources and trying different grains helps keep your meals interesting, which is essential for maintaining motivation and adherence to your diet.

Switching out the chicken for fish, tofu, or beans occasionally can offer different nutrients and flavors.

Similarly, trying different grains like quinoa or farro in place of rice can bring a new twist to your meals.

Also Read: Are Protein Pancakes Good for Weight Loss?

Alternatives to Chicken and Rice for Weight Loss

So, we’ve established that chicken and rice can be part of a healthy, balanced diet for weight loss, but what if you fancy a change? Or maybe you’re vegetarian, vegan, or allergic to chicken? Well, no need to fret! There are many alternatives out there that can offer similar benefits.

Protein Alternatives

different types of meats

While chicken is a star player in the lean protein league, it’s not the only player. Let’s look at some alternatives:

  • Fish: Not only is fish a fantastic source of lean protein, but oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna also come packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These fats help fight inflammation and have been linked to a myriad of health benefits.

  • Lean Meats: Lean cuts of meat like turkey, pork loin, or lean beef can offer similar protein content as chicken, making them a good alternative. They also provide a range of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

  • Plant-based Proteins: Vegetarian or vegan? Don’t worry, there’s a smorgasbord of plant-based proteins for you. Lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, and seitan are all fantastic sources of protein. Plus, they offer the bonus of fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied.

The Grain Game

different types of grains

Rice is well-loved, but there are plenty of other grains (and pseudo-grains!) that can add variety and nutrition to your meals:

  • Quinoa: Technically a seed, quinoa is cooked and eaten like a grain and is a great source of complete protein (meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids). It also boasts high levels of fiber and minerals like magnesium and manganese.

  • Whole Grain Pasta: If you’re a pasta lover, opt for whole grain versions. They have a lower glycemic index than white pasta, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as much. Plus, they offer a decent amount of protein and fiber to keep you satiated.

  • Barley: This ancient grain has a chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it a delightful alternative to rice. It’s also a rich source of fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

Low-Carb Alternatives

a variety of vegetables

If you’re following a low-carb diet, there are still plenty of delicious options:

  • Cauliflower “Rice”: It’s amazing what you can do with cauliflower these days! By pulsing cauliflower in a food processor, you can create a rice-like texture that can be used just like traditional rice, but with fewer carbs and more nutrients.

  • Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles): Spiralized zucchini makes a fantastic low-carb, nutrient-dense substitute for pasta or rice.

  • Spaghetti Squash: This fun veggie can be roasted and shredded into strands that resemble spaghetti. It’s lower in calories and carbs than traditional pasta or rice but still gives you that comforting, hearty feel.

Also Read: Best Time to Eat Pasta for Weight Loss


So, is chicken and rice good for weight loss? Yes, this combination can help you maintain muscle mass while helping you lose body weight, as long as you keep portion sizes in check and choose healthy preparation methods.

However, remember to add variety to your diet to ensure you’re getting a full range of nutrients.


Can you lose weight by eating rice and chicken?

Yes, eating chicken and rice can contribute to weight loss. Chicken, especially chicken breast, is high in protein and low in fat, which can help maintain muscle mass and keep you satisfied. Meanwhile, rice, particularly brown rice, is a source of complex carbohydrates that can also aid in satiety. However, weight loss involves a combination of factors, including overall calorie intake and physical activity, not just eating specific foods.

How is chicken and rice healthy?

Chicken, particularly the breast, is a lean protein source that can help maintain muscle mass. Rice, particularly brown rice, provides a good dose of complex carbohydrates, which are necessary for energy. This combination can form part of a balanced diet when coupled with other nutritious foods, like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Can you eat rice everyday and lose weight?

Yes, you can eat rice every day and still lose weight, provided you maintain a calorie deficit, which means you consume fewer calories than you burn. Opting for brown rice over white can be a healthier choice as it’s higher in fiber and can keep you feeling fuller for longer, helping to manage your overall calorie intake.

Is rice good for you to lose weight?

Rice can be part of a weight loss diet. Specifically, brown rice is a good source of fiber and has a lower glycemic index than white rice, meaning it’s absorbed slower by the body, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. However, portion control is essential, as rice is calorie-dense, and overeating can lead to weight gain.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Rahul is a professional nutritionist certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and a personal trainer certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He has a special interest in the science of nutrition and how it can impact the body.

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