7 Healthier Alternatives To Replace White Rice That Are Not Brown Rice

Nowadays, just about 50% of people you ask will probably tell you they’re on some sort of diet.

As our society progresses into becoming increasingly health conscious, it’s leading to many people trying out various diets, or simply just refusing to eat certain meals (don’t do that because it’s not healthy, by the way). It’s also not uncommon for some diets to require you to cut down on carbs, which includes products such as rice, noodles, and bread.

I know what you must be thinking – how can we completely stop eating rice?

It’s so warm, fragrant, and fills your tummy after a long day at work. Who could resist?

Image: Giphy

Also, we’re Asians!

However, it’s not all that bad – there are actually tons of alternatives to rice according to Healthline, if you’re worried that the lack of this staple will leave you still feeling famished. Nope, not even brown rice will cut it. Not only will your diet be healthier, but you’ll also have more variety.

So, what are some of these magical alternatives?

1. Quinoa 

Image: Healthier Steps

This little magical seed is currently one of the most popular rice alternatives, and you may have seen it offered at many healthy food restaurants.

If you’re looking to bulk up on protein instead, quinoa actually has more of it than rice and is gluten-free too. It is a complete protein – meaning that it contains all of the nine amino acids essential for your body. So powderful.

Magnesium and copper are also components of quinoa, and these will help to improve your energy metabolism as well as give you healthier bones.

2. Cauliflower Rice

Image: Real Simple

Yep, vegetables can be made into rice too.

It’s made up of chopped cauliflower and looks and feels exactly like how rice does, but without all the scary carbs and calories.

Wow, you totally can’t tell that this isn’t rice.

Those who are embarking on the keto diet where it’s required for you to cut down on carbs can consider this low-carb and low-calorie alternative. On the bright side, you’re also getting your fill of healthy vegetables!

3. Barley

Image: The Kitchn

You can also use barley seeds to replace your rice intake, and not just use it to make the local favourite drink, barley water.

Barley is a grain, much like oats, and has a nice chewy texture to it. A high value of nutrients such as zinc, niacin and selenium can be found in these tiny grains.

Although it contains a similar calorie count as rice, it has more protein and fibre too – remember, fibre is good for healthier stools too!

4. Couscous 

Image: Healthline

If you love pasta, you might grow to love couscous too, as it also happens to be a member of the wide pasta family, although many may not know about it.

They’re actually super tiny pearls of flour (not tapioca pearls like in your bubble tea) and are common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, offering a unique texture.

For a healthier option with more fibre and protein, opt for whole-wheat couscous instead.

5. Orzo

Image: svariophoto / Shutterstock.com

Keeping the pasta ball rolling, orzo is also another lesser-known form of pasta that is probably the most similar to rice in this entire list in terms of shape and texture.

If you have bowel trouble, you may want to consider this one, which is a good source of fibre while also doubling up as a food source for healthy gut bacteria.


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Despite having higher levels of fibre and protein in whole-wheat varieties, don’t stuff yourself with too much orzo for it has 50% calories than the same serving of white rice. Portion control is especially important here, depending on the type of diet you’re taking – quantity doesn’t mean quality!

6. Chopped Cabbage

Image: Low Carb Africa

Gotta love vegetables.

Cabbage is an alternative that has lower calories and carbs, packed full of vitamins C and K which acts as an antioxidant and aids bone metabolism while regulating blood clotting and circulation respectively.

If your child hates vegetables, it’s a good way to sneak it into their diet as well.

7. Farro

Image: Jessica Gavin

This whole-grain wheat product contains large amounts of protein (for you aspiring bufflords out there) and is similar to quinoa in the way that it is a good plant-based source of protein.


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It’s a nuttier alternative to rice and chewy too, adding variety to your dishes. Although similar to barley, it is slightly larger.

You can start working these rice alternatives into your dishes if you cook at home, or at kiosks and restaurants selling healthier foods. Without white rice for most of your meals, you’ll feel less bloated and a little lighter, and not just on the weighing scale.

Unfortunately, there is no option to change the rice in your cai png to quinoa or couscous just yet, but we will still hope for a future where it will be possible to do so one day.

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