5th Grade - Health

LESSON PROBLEM: Nutrition: How can you make tasty, nutritious snacks from rice?


Rice is a wholesome and nutritious food that can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many snacks can be made from rice, including puffed rice, crackers, and risotto mixes.

Puffed Rice
Major rice producing countries like the USA, China, Korea, and Japan are trailblazers in the production of rice snacks. The easiest snack that is almost a cottage industry in most of the Asian countries is puffed rice. It is eaten as a breakfast cereal as either a plain or flavored product. It can be glazed with sugar or chocolate. In India, puffed rice is mixed with a natural sweetner called jaggery and made into nice round balls, or in small chocolate-like cubes. This provides nutritious and inexpensive snacks for millions of people.

Puffed rice is made from rice grains that are heated at a very high temperature and subjected to very high pressure. When the pressure is quickly released, the grain expands to many times its original volume.

Rice Cakes
The same process is used for making another snack – rice cakes. These are usually made from brown rice, which is sometimes mixed with wild rice, corn, or sesame seed. These snacks are mild and do not have a strong, intense taste. They are popular because they can be part of a reduced calorie and gluten free diet.

Rice Snacks in Different Countries
Asian rice snacks come in an amazing variety of shapes and flavors. In western countries, these snacks used to be sold mostly in health food stores, but now they are sold in all grocery stores.

Glutinous and Non-Glutinous Japanese Rice Crackers
The most popular are Japanese rice crackers. They are made from both glutinous and non-glutinous rice varieties. Some crackers are open-textured and melt quickly on the tongue. Others have a rougher surface, and are harder to bite. The companies manufacturing these crackers guard their recipes as their proprietary products. Normally, they are manufactured in a simple way. The rice is dried, glazed with a mixture of sugar, soy sauce and other seasonings, and then it is baked. After baking, the crackers are wrapped in nori leaves (a type of seaweed). These leaves provide a strong sea flavor. Spicy hot crackers are also available.

In Japan and many of other places, you can buy individually shrink-wrapped rice cakes that can be seasoned, fried and broiled.

Risotto – An Almost Instant Meal
Risotto is a popular and versatile Italian rice dish. People who do not have time to prepare their own risottos can buy packaged ones. Traditionally, the base of this almost instant meal is arborio rice. The grains in risotto create their own creamy sauce. The dish is cooked slowly in hot broth, while the grains of rice are constantly stirred to release their creamy starch.

Rice Cereals and Flakes
Cereals and rice flakes, in a variety of colors and flavors, are also available. Ready-to-eat cereals are an American mainstay at breakfast. Rice flakes or granuales can also be used for making sweet soups, hot cereals, or puddings. Rice can also be used for making cookies.

The variety of convenience foods and snacks made from rice ranges from cereals and cookies to instant cooking rice and other snacks. How convenient, tasty, and nutritious rice can be!


1. Go to the market and find out the rice snacks and convenience foods available. Identify the major manufacturers.

2. Find a snack recipe that uses rice and make a rice snack for your family.


Study the nutritional aspects of convenience foods based on rice. What nutrients are present in rice? Why are rice snacks good for you?

  • glutinous
  • gluten
  • convenience
  • glaze
  • risotto
  • shrink-wrapped
  • trailblazers
  • parboiled

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
How is Rice Grown:
Farming rice is hard work. Click here to learn more about the Stages of Farming Rice.
Home | Math | Social Studies | Science | Health | Games | Students

© 2004 USRPA, A non-profit association based in Houston, Texas
All Rights Reserved

USRPA does not discriminate in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, or marital/family status. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of information (such as Braille, large print, sign language interpreter) should contact USRPA at 713-974-7423.