Rice is an essential part of most of our diets. On average, we eat more rice than we think, and it serves as a good source of those extra carbs.
Now, as good as rice is, it gets a bit tiring and boring and quite honestly you might have tasted all variations of rice which probably led you here. Well, welcome to the alternatives to rice that you never knew existed.
In this article, I will be highlighting the 10 healthiest alternatives to rice, assuming you are looking for a healthier choice than the regular rice diet.
This article also got you covered on why rice is essential to your diet as well.
What Makes Rice An Essential Part Of Your Diet?
As earlier mentioned, rice is a major constituent of the daily diets of a lot of people all over the world, providing the majority of your carbohydrate intake. However, inculcating some rice alternatives into your diet is not a bad idea. And some of them are also very healthy, much healthier than your rice.
Now a lot of opinions on if it’s healthy to eat all that rice has been constantly raised in the society today, well let’s look into these opinions. White rice has over time been tagged as an unhealthy part of the diet but facts reveal that this isn’t true, white rice on its own serves a lot of beneficial needs and is healthy when taken in moderation.
White rice has some peculiar characteristics. Its grain has been stripped of some nutrients leaving behind the endosperm whereas brown rice has its nutrients intact. White rice when taken too often or cooked improperly leads to certain health complications.
You can develop certain conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some heart diseases. Regulating the amount of rice, you take is important to maintain a healthy diet. White rice is used for a weight-loss diet but doesn’t really have major effects in the process.
If you are having digestive problems white rice is a smart choice because it easily digests and also has a bland taste.
On the other hand, brown rice is widely known to be a healthier choice than brown rice. Its grains have nutrients, unlike their white counterparts, and are advised as a substitute in diets when possible.
Brown rice has certain benefits that include diabetic risk reduction, better heart health, and a full-on nutrient boost that keeps the body healthy all around. It is also believed that brown rice is really good if you are looking to shed some pounds and should be part of your weight loss diet.
Red rice is packed with nutritional goodness and should be considered in our diets because of its part in developing better bone health. It also serves as a good source of vitamins, iron, fiber, and antioxidants. Red rice is known to lower cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease, aid in weight loss, and ease asthma.
If you’re a fan of butter and you want to need an alternative; check out 10 Best Healthy Alternatives to Butter
10 Healthy Alternatives to Rice
To most people, rice does not really have an alternative because of its feel and quality, but I bring you good news.
There are a lot of alternatives to traditional rice, and we have put together a list of 10 healthy alternatives to aid you in switching up your diet and getting more out of your mealtime.
So, without wasting further time, let’s see the 10 healthy alternatives to rice:
You can also check out: 10 Best Alternatives To Twitter
Quinoa is a seed that assumes a grain-like taste and texture after cooking. It is a popular rice substitute that is gluten-free and very high in protein.
Basically, Quinoa seed is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids which are most needed in the body. If you are a vegetarian then this is an excellent way to get those extra proteins.
It is also packed with vital minerals like magnesium and copper, which are essential for energy metabolism and bone formation. If you are gluten-sensitive, do ensure you buy only gluten-free quinoa to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.
Don’t fail to also read: 10 Best Alternatives to Closet Doors
2. Riced Cauliflower
When it comes to healthy alternatives to rice that have low carb and low-calorie content, then your best bet is riced cauliflower. This alternative to rice has a mild flavor.
Riced cauliflower has a texture and appearance similar to that of cooked rice, but with only a fraction of the calories and carbs of rice. It is a popular alternative to rice for people who are on a low-carb keto diet.
To make riced cauliflower, firstly, you would need to chop a head of cauliflower into several pieces, then grate them using a box grater.
You can also decide to finely chop them using a food processor. After this, your cauliflower is ready to be cooked.
You are to cook the riced cauliflower on medium heat with a small amount of oil until it’s tender and slightly browned. You can also get already prepared riced cauliflower from a store near you.
3. Riced Broccoli
Similar to riced cauliflower, riced broccoli is a healthy, low carb, low-calorie alternative to traditional rice, especially for those on a diet.
Riced broccoli is rich in vitamin C which acts as a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent cellular damage and is also essential for boosting immune health.
Similar to riced cauliflower, riced broccoli can be prepared by grating broccoli with a box grater or by chopping it using a food processor.
Riced broccoli should be cooked over medium heat with a hint of oil. You can also find riced broccoli in stores.
4. Shirataki Rice
Shirataki rice is another standard rice alternative for low-carb and low-calorie dieters. It’s made of konjac root that is native to Asia and filled with a distinctive fiber known as glucomannan.
Glucomannan, the first fiber in konjac root, is being studied for several potential health benefits, as well as its ability to make a protective barrier on the liner of your intestines. Still, you have got to eat an outsized quantity of shirataki rice to consume a major amount of glucomannan.
To make shirataki rice, rinse it well in water, boil it for one minute, then heat the rice in a pan over medium heat till dry. Rinse shirataki rice before cooking. This helps scale back its distinctive odor.
You might find it difficult to find shirataki rice locally, but you can always buy it online.
Barley may be a grain that is closely associated with wheat and rye. It is almost like oats and features a chewy texture and earthy taste. it contains slightly more proteins and fiber than rice.
In addition, barley packs an array of nutrients. A 1/2 cup (81 grams) provides over 10% of the DV for niacin, zinc, and selenium.
To cook barley, bring one half hulled barley and 4 portions water to a boil, then scale it back to medium heat and cook it till the barley is soft, or for approximately 25–30 minutes. Drain the surplus water before serving.
6. Whole-Wheat Couscous
Couscous popular in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern as a cuisine is a sort of pasta made from tiny pieces of flour.
Whole-wheat couscous is richer in fibers and protein as compared to its regular varieties making it a healthier choice. Couscous is much smaller than rice and provides the meal with a special texture.
In preparation, you have to combine one portion of couscous and one portion of water and then allow it to boil. Afterwards, remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes ensuring the lid is properly covered to retain heat. Fluff with a fork and serve.
You might find it difficult to come across whole-wheat couscous in a local supermarket but then you can easily get some from a good online store.
7. Chopped Cabbage
Chopped cabbage has always been known to be low in calories and carbohydrates with a mild flavor which makes it one of the top healthy alternatives to rice. It is rich in vitamins C and K with just half a cup providing 31% and 68% of the DV respectively.
The vitamin K component is important in blood clotting and circulation and also plays a major role in bone health and formation.
In preparing chopped cabbage, you would have to finely chop a cabbage by hand or you can use a food processor. Cook this for a few minutes or till tender in medium heat with little oil.
8. Whole-Wheat Orzo
Orzo, which s also a type of pasta is similar in shape, size and texture to rice. Whole-wheat orzo is highly filled with fibers and protein than the regular orzo which makes it a healthy and better alternative to rice.
It has a high caloric content providing about 50% more than a similar serving of rice.
Whole-wheat orzo serves as a great source of fiber in diets, it helps in digestion and peristaltic movement by bulking up and softening stool. It is also a source of healthy gut bacteria.
In the preparation of Orzo, you would need to boil it in water over medium heat until it is tender enough, then you drain and its ready to serve. You can find whole-wheat orzo in local stores as well as online stores.
Farro is a healthy alternative to rice which is a whole-grain wheat product. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture and is similar to barley but with slightly larger grains.
Farro is known for its high protein content. To get a proper protein diet out of farro be sure to per it with soe legumes like chickpeas or black beans.
To prepare farro, you would need to boil dried farro in water over low heat till its cooked tender. Farro can be found in local and online stores. That can be used similarly to rice, though it’s much nuttier in flavor and has a chewy texture. It’s similar to barley but has larger grains.
Freekeh is similar to barley and farro and is a whole grain product. It is made from wheat grains which were harvested while they are still green. It is highly rich in proteins and fibers.
Also, it is known to be rich in iron which is essential in production of healthy red blood cells. To prepare freekeh, you would have to boil it in water at high heat then reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer till its tender.
Freekeh can be gotten from online and local stores
Frequently Asked Questions
Is brown rice healthier than white rice?
Brown rice is healthier than white rice. Brown rice is a “whole grain” with its fibrous bran, nutritious germ, and carb-rich endosperm all still intact. White rice, on the other hand, has had its bran and germ removed.
How about quinoa?
Quinoa is a grain with high protein content as well as high fiber content. It is a healthy alternative to rice.
What do you think about amaranth, barley, farro, etc.?
These grains are typically higher in fiber and protein than rice, but they are still primarily starch. They are great rice alternatives.
These healthy alternative to rice doesn’t only replace the rice bland taste and texture in your diet, but also offers an array of nutrients that rice wouldn’t offer.
They are great additives to your diet and some would really work well for you if you are a vegetarian or currently on a low carb diet.