Tired of Eating Rice? Try These Healthy Alternatives

Updated on April 30th, 2020
rice substitute

The white rice or normal rice you consume regularly has more harmful effects than benefits. White rice does not contain any minerals or vitamins, and it can be digested faster than any white rice alternatives. That’s why consuming white rice will make you hungry again in just a few hours.

The white rice is broken down into sugar quickly by your body, and it results in weight gain. The consumption of white rice more than five or more times a week can result in type 2 diabetes. But as it is a cheap alternative, many people prefer rice than similar other options because of its price.

Some rice alternatives such as cauliflower rice, brown rice, sweet potato rice, and quinoa are considered healthy according to medical professionals and research. (1) You can also include beans into your white rice and make its portion larger, which will not only provide you with protein and nutrients but also lower the potency of white rice.

Benefits of Rice Alternatives

1. Packed with Nutrition

Starchy white rice does not contain any health benefits, whereas its alternatives are packed with quite a lot of benefits. Almost every white rice alternative has a significant amount of dietary fiber, which helps in proper digestion.

2. Reduces Type 2 Diabetes

Brown rice can help reduce type 2 diabetes, barley cancel lower down body cholesterol, cauliflower rice contains vitamin K, which reduces the risk of hemorrhage and helps in preventing blood clots.

3. Low in Sugar Content

Almost all of these alternatives do not have any sugar in them, making it quite beneficial if you are on a diet and trying to lose weight. They also help you in maintaining your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These alternative food options will not only provide you the energy of sustenance but also fill you up for the day.

Top 10 Alternatives for Rice

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most popular white rice replacements backed with proteins and essential amino acids. It also contains high fiber and is naturally gluten-free(2).

2. Brown Rice

It is the second most popular healthy alternative to rice full of fiber and assists your digestive system to function properly. It also keeps you full for a long time.

3. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice falls under low carb rice alternatives, which are packed with vitamin C and good for people on a diet.

4. Barley

This is not a very popular alternative to white rice. Still, it contains a good amount of minerals, light selenium, and a significant amount of fiber, which is good for your digestive system.

5. Bulgur Wheat

This is also popular as cracked wheat and is an excellent plant-based protein that has the potential to provide 25% of your body’s regular fiber requirements.

6. Broccoli Rice

This is another low carb rice substitute, full of iron, plant-based protein, and fiber. This alternative is good for people trying to lose weight.

7. Couscous

Couscous is a special kind of pasta dish that is significantly rich in calcium and also contains vitamin B essentials. (3)

8. Freekeh

This is very similar to quinoa and also contains a significant amount of fiber and protein. Some nutritionists consider this as super grain.

9. Farro


Farro is one of the good alternatives to rice for people with digestive issues as it can be digested quite easily. It is also full of iron and protein.

10. Sweet Potato Rice

This is not a very common alternative, but it can be found or made at home. Sweet potato rice also contains dietary fiber and is considered a good source of vitamin C.

Ways to Eat Rice Alternatives for Maximum Benefit:

You can have different white rice alternatives every day or two or three of them on the same day.

  • Brown rice is one of the closest and cheapest alternatives to white rice, and you can consume one cup of about 130 grams of brown rice with beans on a regular basis.
  • White or red quinoa salad is quite popular as a main or side dish and can be consumed during breakfast or lunch, which will fill you up for the majority of the day. You can also alternate your rice alternatives every day to bring some diversity in your food habits.
  • You can make cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potato rice at home quite easily by boiling them and then adding them as per your taste. Vegan cookbooks and websites provide recipes on white rice alternatives and how to eat healthy with them.
  • Barley and bulgur wheat can be consumed about 130 to 200 grams per day mixed with beans or vegetables to increase its healthy qualities.

Almost all of the white rice alternatives available in the market are quite beneficial to your health and can be consumed regularly. As they are healthy, consuming them according to your preference will be much more beneficial and keep you full for a longer period of time. Also, Cauliflower rice and broccoli rice can also act as keto replacement for rice.

Side Effects

The majority of the white rice alternatives do not have any prominent side effects, but some people can be allergic to some of the elements present in them. However, there are quite diverse options, and you can choose from any one of them. Almost none of the alternatives are high in carbs.

As your body requires carbohydrates, many people depend on a little amount of white rice for their carbohydrate and sugar supply.

Also, a few of the alternatives can be expensive for a lot of people, but options such as barley and brown rice are always available.


White rice alternatives are significantly healthy and can be easily replaced, but you need to introduce them slowly into your diet if you are a regular white rice consumer. You should also consult your nutritionist or dietitian before changing your white rice to any alternative so that they can tell you what your body requires. If your regular life is quite hectic, then you should opt for a heavy fulfilling white rice alternative so that it can give you enough strength for substance.


1. Can white rice alternatives be considered vegan?

All white rice alternatives are vegan.

2. Do all white rice alternatives help in weight loss?

White rice alternatives are not high in calories or sugar content; that is why it can help in losing weight. You can consume them as per your requirements.

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