Rice is well loved around the globe and incorporated into everyday meals for a reliable source of protein and anti-inflammatory benefits. However, eating too much of the grain can cause health complications such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases due to the high carbohydrate content. It can be healthy to swap rice-based products out for alternatives that achieve the same result. Consider picking up these rice alternatives in your next food shop to improve your diet.
When searching for a rice alternative with a similar texture and consistency, cauliflower is a vegetable that should be considered. With a fraction of the calories and carbohydrates, it is a healthier choice than traditional rice. Cauliflower rice is affordable to purchase or make at home and offers a mild taste, making it perfect to season and incorporate into a meal.
A 57g serving of riced cauliflower has only 13 calories, compared with white rice, which has 100 calories for the same serving.
Often seen in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, couscous is a type of pasta that makes a unique addition to a meal due to the miniature pearls. Rich in fibre and protein, couscous offers an equally fluffy rice alternative. It is easy to season and flavour to be a delicious part of a meal, so it is worth trying couscous as a rice alternative. Opt for whole-wheat versions where possible for more health benefits.
Oats are rich in antioxidants, protein and other important vitamins and minerals, so it is not surprising that they are on the rise as a healthier rice alternative. Oats are versatile and used for a range of baking and cooking recipes, so it makes sense that brands are using them as a rice alternative. This includes Oat Made’s Rice Alternative, which shows flavour does not have to be sacrificed, as the product is available in original savoury, golden vegetable, Mexican style, sweet chilli and katsu curry. Rolled and porridge oats are a staple for vegans, vegetarians and plant-based food enthusiasts, and it seems like oat rice alternatives have the potential to be too.
Another substitute that looks like rice is barley, a wheat grain. Although barley has roughly the same calories as rice, it has more fibre and protein for better digestion. Barley can be chewy and earthy but makes for a tasty alternative to rice. It has been used in recipes like risotto and casserole as a rice replacement and is worth trying at home.
One of the most nutritious grains is quinoa, making it a healthier alternative to rice. It is another staple for people following a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet because of its versatility – and it is also gluten-free! Quinoa is commonly used in salad recipes but can also be seen in chilli, burritos, buddha bowls and even desserts. If this sounds interesting, consider adding quinoa to the shopping list.
Reducing rice consumption does not have to mean that meals lose out on the fluffy, grainy experience. Cauliflower, couscous, oats, barley and quinoa are excellent for substituting rice without taking away from the dish. Each option offers health benefits and can contribute to a balanced diet. Plus, they can be seasoned and flavoured to be super tasty, so what is not to love?