Cheap, filling, and oh-so-delicious when mixed with something flavourful, it’s little wonder why rice is a diet staple. But it’s jam-packed full of carbs, high in calories, and can make you feel bloated if you eat too much of it, so rice might not be suitable for everyone. Here, we explore some of the healthiest (and tastiest!) alternatives to rice, so you can swap it out with ease. Not convinced? Here are a few reasons why rice (especially white rice) can be bad if you eat it a lot:
- It could increase your risk of diabetes. White rice especially has a high glycaemic index, which means its carbs are turned into blood sugar more rapidly than brown rice.1
- It may increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that could increase the risk of health conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. Studies show that people who regularly eat large amounts of white rice have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome.234
A great low-carb alternative to rice, riced cauliflower. It’s a great alternative to rice as it has a very similar consistency and texture, but with a fraction of the calories and carbohydrates. Take a ½ cup of riced cauliflower and you’ll find it only has 13 calories, whereas the same serving of white rice has 100 calories.5
Similar to riced cauliflower, riced broccoli is a great alternative to white rice. Aside from having a similar amount of calories to riced cauliflower (57 grams per ½ cup)6, riced broccoli is also a good source of vitamin C, providing over a quarter of your daily value.7 Here are just some of the many benefits of vitamin C8:
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Supports immunity
- Helps with iron absorption
With its chewy texture and earthy taste, barley is a delicious, healthier alternative to rice. It’s about the same in calories as white rice, but it does contain more protein and fibre.9 It also contains a range of nutrients, including zinc and selenium.10
The low carb content and mild flavour of chopped cabbage makes it a great alternative to rice. It’s a good source of vitamins C and K (which helps regulate blood clotting and circulation, as well as contributing to bone health).11
Quinoa is a popular rice substitute that has a grain-like taste. It’s gluten-free and has a high protein content – just ½ cup of quinoa contains four grams of protein, which is double the amount found in the same serving of white rice.12 So it’s a great sauce of protein for vegetarians or vegans.
It’s also a complete protein, which means it contains all nine of the vital amino acids needed by your body.13
For more nutritious alternatives to rice, check out our selection of pastas, pulses, and grains.
Last updated: 26 May 2020