I’ve consumed this Rice Dream Enriched Vanilla Rice Drink occasionally over the past several months. as a replacement for white dairy milk. Fortunately nowadays, the increased popularity of rice milk practically mandates that almost every larger mainstream grocery store offer it. So today, Rice Dream products in general are easier to find.
Good thing too, because it’s a lower-sugar-than-soda drink that’s made with whole, brown rice. It goes down so smoothly as it pleasantly cools everything in its path from the tongue, on down through the stomach. This vanilla flavored rice beverage is considered a healthier-than-dairy drink by many, as it is appropriate for vegetarian diets. Others drink it as a mandatory substitute for dairy cow’s milk, due to their allergies. I myself drink it because of its lower fat content, zero saturated fat, as well as the light yet delightfully odd taste. It’s a refreshingly delicious drink.
The carton says that this product contains 130 calories per 8-ounce serving, and has 26 grams of net carbs. The mild sweetness herein appears to originate in the brown rice and perhaps from the vanilla flavoring also. However, there’s no added sugar or sweeteners of any kind.
Still addictive however, as even small amounts of refined carbs (the very finely milled brown rice in this case) are still refined. So as per usual, moderate drinking of this product is key to avoiding the worst cravings for this drink. Though the label describes this product as ” … the highest quality rice drink you can buy… ,” you still should not consume this beverage like water. Go slow.
Benefits, Advantages, Pros, and Features
- Nowadays, you can buy this product in the half-gallon version. For a while there in the 90s, I only could ever find Rice Dream products in quarts. Nice improvement!
- No added sugar here. But they do add some vitamins so that this treat more closely approximates cow’s milk in terms of nutritional value.
- This product is made with only brown rice; though it has been milled to a very fine consistency. So some of the benefits of that originally whole grain are lost, in my opinion. For one, the glycemic index of milled rice may be higher than when the rice is left whole.
- The aroma is mild, yet smells every bit as good as this drink tastes. Indeed, it smells very much like it tastes.
- The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., the makers of this product, say on the label that it is easily digested, and easy on the system. They recommend pouring it on cereal.
- They advise that this rice drink is lactose and dairy free, cholesterol free, 99% fat-free, soy free, 100% vegetarian, and low in sodium.
- This vanilla flavored beverage has no saturated fat, and contains a bit of “good” fat (mono- and polyunsaturated fats). These great nutritional numbers suggest that this product is indeed heart-healthy.
- The packaging protects the liquid from excessive light exposure, which can also affect its flavor as well as sap some of the nutrition.
- The bright white to very light brown color of this beverage resembles that white cow’s milk.
- No bland taste here either; just a mild yet substantial flavor, just like rice in the whole.
- The half-gallon version of this product is packaged in a carton; not a plastic bottle, and the taste therefore, is far less impacted by the leaching plastic compounds from plastic bottles that transfer to the drink inside, that can mess up its vanilla flavor.
- You need not refrigerate this beverage until you open it (break its seal) for the first time. Until then, it will keep well in a cool place for up to a year, according to the best-if-used-by date on my carton.
- After you open it, this drink keeps for a couple of weeks at least in the refrigerator. It should be refrigerated after opening.
- I like the color and consistency of this product. It closely resembles traditional dairy-based white whole milk in terms of opacity, and is much like dairy fat-free milk in terms of thickness. It’s light.
- They also include a recipe for bread pudding on the side of the package.
Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Concerns
- This drink has considerable sugar (12 grams per serving). But since it occurs naturally, that sugar could probably not be easily replaced with a lower-calorie alternative. And, being that this is naturally occurring sugar, I wouldn’t want them to replace it either.
- Some non saturated fats have been added to help provide that smooth and slippery texture. Still though, I’d ideally prefer no fat; healthy fat or not. If only they could find a way to make it taste fatty without the fat. I know. I’m just dreaming.
- The package warns not to use this drink as an infant formula (for children under age 5).
Filtered water, brown rice (partially milled), expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil and / or sunflower oil and / or canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, natural vanilla flavor with other natural flavors, sea salt, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12.
- Serving size: 1 cup, 8 fluid ounces (240 millilitres).
- Servings per container: 8.
- Calories: 130.
- Calories from fat: 20.
- Total fat: 2.5 grams, 4% DV.
- Saturated fat: 0 grams, 0% DV.
- Trans fat: 0 grams.
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5 grams.
- Monounsaturated fat: 1.5 grams.
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams, 0% DV.
- Sodium: 105 milligrams, 4% DV.
- Total carbohydrate: 26 grams, 9% DV.
- Dietary fiber: 0 grams, 0% DV.
- Sugars: 12 grams.
- Protein: 1 gram.
- Vitamin A: 10% DV.
- Calcium: 30% DV.
- Vitamin D: 25% DV.
- Phosphorus: 15% DV.
- Vitamin C: 0% DV.
- Iron: 2% DV.
- Vitamin B12: 25% DV.
On the whole, Rice Dream vitamin fortified vanilla rice drink is quite the delicious value. Due to its gently sweet and grainy taste, relatively low sugar (as compared to pop), low-fat, and economy, I’d rate this product at 94 out of 100.
Where To Buy Rice Dream Enriched Vanilla Rice Drink
So pick up a quart or half-gallon carton of this drink at your favorite larger local grocer. I’ve seen this at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Giant Eagle. Look for it in the blue, light lavender, and white carton with picture of the white beverage splashing around on the front, and with the white rectangular cap. They normally do not refrigerate this product.
- : Adjusted category and tag assignments, fixed typos, and added white space.
- 2012-06-24: Originally published.