As more people become focused on their health, it becomes apparent that seemingly harmless foods can be easily swapped out for a healthier alternative. White rice is a food that complements so many of our favorite meals, but it is definitely not the healthiest - especially when trying to lose weight! Luckily, there are plenty of delicious alternatives to white rice with each substitute carrying its own array of health benefits. We have compiled a list of the healthiest white rice alternatives so you can start making healthier choices today.
White Rice Substitutes
1). Brown Rice
Brown rice is the classic healthier alternative to white rice that is one of the most popular substitutes on this list! Brown rice may have slightly more calories than its white counterpart, but it also contains a lot more fiber and protein. Increasing these in your diet can lower cholesterol and help control blood sugar levels, so brown rice is definitely a good grain to try! In fact, some will argue that the slightly higher carbohydrate intake in brown rice will provide you with even more energy for exercise.
2). Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice has incredible health benefits, so you won’t just be seeing a difference in your weight. The folate in riced cauliflower is an essential vitamin for healthy cell growth, meaning clearer skin and a glowing complexion. Cauliflower rice contains a multitude of minerals and antioxidants, causing it to be a fantastic and tasty alternative to white rice. There are also plenty of meal prep ideas, such as this Lemon & Herb Cauliflower Rice recipe, using cauliflower rice available online!
To mix up your rice dish, try substituting any white or fried rice for quinoa. With high fiber and protein levels, quinoa rice will help you to maintain fullness during the day whilst providing you with lots of energy. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index which has been found to aid weight loss as part of an active lifestyle. Due to its low net carbs, quinoa is a very popular food to meal prep as part of a healthy weekly meal plan. Check out this Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad recipe!
4). Riced Cabbage
Cabbage is a staple low-carb and calorie vegetable that is great in rice form due to its mild flavor! Cabbage rice contains lots of vitamin K, which supports blood calcium levels, and vitamin C, which is great for your skin. Riced cabbage is also one of many healthy alternatives to white rice that will help to maintain your blood sugar levels.
5). Edamame Pasta
Edamame pasta is a nutritious and delicious white rice substitute that contains the perfect amount of plant-based protein and fiber. It also tastes exactly the same as normal spaghetti pasta so it's a much healthier dupe for weight loss and health benefits!
6). Chopped Zucchini
Zucchini is known for its vast mineral and vitamin benefits, from helping thyroid and prostate issues to strengthening your bones. Chopped zucchini’s plant-based compounds can also help to settle digestive problems, so it’s a safe white rice substitute for those who suffer from IBS.
Take a look at this Zucchini recipe for inspiration!
7). Broccoli Rice
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables and a great low-carb alternative for processed rice as this greenery will ensure a lower-calorie meal. Boasting several nutrients such as vitamin E, C, and K, broccoli rice will also provide you with essential calcium, potassium, and fatty acids. Broccoli rice can also be frozen and reheated, unlike white rice, making it a great staple rice alternative for meal planning.
Farro has been used in place of white rice for centuries and has been acknowledged by health professionals time and time again for its health benefits. Recommended for those suffering from poor heart health or diabetes, Farro is a fantastic source of iron, magnesium, and fiber, which are essential vitamins that your body needs. Farro is also a low-carb white rice alternative, making it great for those on a keto diet. The Meatball Minestrone Soup is made with Farro, veggies, and other healthy ingredients. Take a look and enjoy in less than 3 minutes.
9). Shirataki Rice
Shirataki rice is a fantastic substitute for white rice because of the type of fiber found within its noodles. This fiber is soluble, which acts as a prebiotic, increasing the number of good bacteria within the colon. As a result, the rice improves your bowel function, reducing the risk of ill health whilst aiding weight loss.
Couscous is a delicious low-carb white rice substitute that will help you to lose weight! Being both sugar and fat-free, Moroccan couscous is a great source of fiber and protein, which means it can be the perfect post-workout snack. See our Mediterranean Couscous Salad for recipe ideas.
11). Mushroom Rice
Mushrooms have an array of health benefits so cutting down on your white rice content by adding some finely cut mushrooms will help lower the calories in your meal. They will provide a tasty addition to most cuisines and can often be conveniently cooked in the same pan as the rest of the food!
Like quinoa, Adlai has a low glycemic index, leading it to be a superb alternative to white rice. Adlai also contains many complex carbohydrates alongside protein and dietary fiber, making it a great source of energy for its consumers.
Packed with fiber, Bulgur increases gut health whilst improving weight loss and digestion ease. As Bulgur is a whole grain, it contains a wealth of beneficial minerals that can help prevent chronic diseases.
Barley is great for weight loss for so many reasons! Due to its fiber content, barley will leave you feeling full and satisfied for longer than white rice. It also can improve your digestive health whilst preventing the risk of gallstones and gallbladder issues.
15). Lentils Rice
Lentil rice is not only really tasty, but it's also super cheap! Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, lentils contain high levels of fiber and protein, helping you to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Despite all this, lentil rice is still low in calories, especially when compared to white rice, making it a great weight-loss food. Take a look at this Red Lentil Curry recipe for meal ideas.
16). Wild Rice
Wild rice is a great white rice substitute due to its low-calorie content, which will help you on your weight loss journey. This type of rice is rich in fiber, protein, and manganese, which will keep you energized and, importantly, satisfied! This wild rice stuffing recipe is perfect for the holiday season, check it out!
If you find yourself lacking energy throughout the day, cassava is the healthier white rice alternative for you! High in calories and carbohydrates, cassava provides a fantastic source of vitamin C and riboflavin - key minerals needed for maintaining energy levels.
18). Chickpea Rice
When compared to white rice, chickpea rice is far superior for its numerous health benefits, cost, and taste! It will help aid weight loss due to its lower calorie content and has fewer carbs and sodium levels than white rice too. Chickpeas are also a great source of protein, helping to protect your muscles after a strenuous day.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free white rice substitute that is great for weight loss due to its protein content. This means that it will leave you feeling full for longer for fewer calories. You can also serve buckwheat to your whole family for health benefits, as it contains lysine and arginine - amino acids that are essential for children.
In summary, there are plenty of healthier alternatives to white rice that will take your meals to the next level - both in taste and nutrition. These white rice substitutes can be found in your local grocery stores and are actually often cheaper too! Containing a wealth of essential nutrients and minerals, our list of healthy white rice alternatives is an easy way to sneak in some extra macros to your meals. You do not have to give up your favorite dishes to lose weight, you just have to be smart about the nutrients you are putting into your body! To find out more healthy substitutes that you can easily add to your meals, check out Proper Good’s recipe inspirations!