White rice is known for its wide use and versatility in food preparation. Though it’s become an important staple in our diets, there are many healthier choices to use as wholesome rice alternatives in a variety of delicious dishes. Here are a few more options for people who are looking for what to eat instead of rice.
Brown rice is simply white rice before the milling process. Though milling can increase the shelf life of rice, it removes the nutritious components of brown rice that contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The elevated nutrition of whole-grain brown rice compared to white makes it a great option among rice alternatives for dishes such as this beef slider recipe!
Cauliflower rice is made by shredding cauliflower, and one cup contains 2 grams of fiber and provides 10-20% of the caloric intake of the same portion of white rice. This means that cauliflower-based meals such as this keto chicken with cauliflower recipe, can be an excellent low-calorie, healthy alternative to rice.
Similar to Cauliflower rice, broccoli rice is made by shredding broccoli, and it’s easy to prepare at home! Much like its cauliflower counterpart, riced broccoli is a low-calorie and low-carb rice alternative, full of nutrients like vitamin C that support immune health. This makes broccoli rice another innovative replacement to consider when looking for healthy substitutes for rice!
This popular grain crop is best known for its edible seeds. Quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate, making it a great plant-based alternative for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. The nourishing high-fiber and high protein content of quinoa certainly makes it a worthwhile grain to consider when looking for what to eat instead of rice.
Barley is another noteworthy addition to the list of nutritious substitutes for rice. Barley is an edible grain of the Poaceae grass family, and is ranked as the fourth largest grain crop globally after wheat, rice, and corn. For the same amount of calories as white rice, barley delivers a significantly higher portion of fiber and protein, making this ancient-grain an exceptionally nourishing substitute for rice.
With cabbage’s mild flavor making it a versatile base for a variety of dishes, chopped cabbage can serve as a great healthy alternative to rice. This low-carb and low-calorie option is easy to prepare at home, and its unique texture and high nutritional value make it a valuable option to consider whenever you find yourself wondering what to eat instead of rice.
Whole Wheat couscous
Couscous is a type of pasta that is quite common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It is pasta shaped into peals that are smaller than a grain of rice, adding a unique texture as a rice alternative in your favorite rice-based dishes. Whole-wheat varieties of couscous are richer in fiber and protein, making them another great substitute for rice.
Like barley and quinoa, farro is a whole-grain wheat product that can be used interchangeably with rice, and offers a unique texture and a multitude of health benefits when used as a rice alternative. Its high levels of protein and fiber compared to rice certainly make farro yet another pantry essential alongside similar healthy grains.
Sweet Potato Rice
Sweet potato rice is a perfect substitute for rice if you’re hoping to cut down calories and amp the nutritional value of rice-based meals. It's a great source of vitamin C and fiber, and one serving provides 34% less calories than white rice.
“Zoodles” are an awesome way to sneak extra vegetables into your diet without loading up on carbs and calories. These noodle-like slices of zucchini offer a unique base to substitute for rice, with interesting texture and a mild, versatile flavor.
In summary, there’s an endless variety of enticing rice alternatives to create healthier versions of your favorite rice dishes! Luckily, these rice alternatives are inexpensive and easy to find at your local grocery store. For more ideas about how to swap rice for more nutritional alternatives, check out Fresh Meal Plan’s menu for recipe inspiration!