A meal isn't a meal without rice, is what the saying goes for us Filipinos. Our love of rice is given that even restaurants offer unli-rice options. However, you can always eat healthier, especially for those who need to change their diet for health reasons, especially diabetes, insulin resistance, and polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. We know it is not easy - and we don't always have to - completely let go of rice, but every journey starts with the first step. Introducing rice substitutes!
Rice substitutes can be composed of different foods, from grains to bread. There are many options in the market that will make you feel as if you were eating rice. It's a great way to eat healthy while satisfying our cravings and add variety. We have rounded up the top 10 rice substitutes to help you get started to a healthier you. Make choosing easier by reading our buying guide with some comments and tips from nutritionist-dietitian Jo Sebastian!
Jo Sebastian is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian who graduated BS Community Nutrition from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Throughout the past year, she has worked with Uniqlo, Adidas, Rebel Fitness app, and more to make nutrition fun, easy and accessible. She believes that life is not about restricting food but through simple lifestyle and dietary changes to attain our optimal health, we can reach our full potential.
If you are thinking of replacing rice in your diet, rice substitutes make neat alternatives if you can't let go of rice just yet. This way, mealtimes can still feel complete while making sure you feel satisfied. Not all substitutes are exact carbohydrate substitutes to rice, but they do give that ulam -and-rice feel.
There are a lot of available options in the market, you don’t have to stick to one variety. This way you are not as umay on one product.
When we say whole grain this is comprised of all three parts, which are bran, endosperm, and germ; these are mostly unrefined and have no added sugar. Eating whole grains is beneficial for the body as it is packed with many important nutrients such as minerals, fibers, and vitamins.
This is highly recommended for people who want to eat healthier or those who have dietary restrictions or health concerns. It can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Notable whole grains include oats, barley, bulgur, couscous, freekeh, and faro. Whole grains have the closest resemblance to rice as regards texture, which makes it easier for those who are beginning to transition their diet.
Most of the vitamins and minerals in grains are found in the germ, while most of the fiber is in the bran. Whole grains have more fiber, which allows for better blood sugar control and satiety to help you feel full for longer.
Refined grains are ones that usually have their germ and bran removed and are lower in fiber and some nutrients.
Seeds are commonly associated as grains, but it is classified as a pseudocereal or pseudo-grain, which means it does not have all 3 components to be considered as a whole grain. Most seeds have higher fiber and protein content compared to whole grains, which can aid in weight loss.
This is great for regulating blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels. Quinoa is a perfect example of seeds as well as amaranth. Its texture is similar to oat and brown rice, which makes it palate-friendly.
Because seeds are higher in protein and fiber, they increase satiety which can help aid weight loss.
Everyone is no stranger to vegetables, so it is not as intimidating to incorporate into your diet. It is one of the food groups you could eat in bulk given its high nutritious content. Vegetables like cauliflower are low in calories and high in vitamins and antioxidants.
It makes for a healthier diet without adding too much to your calorie intake. Cauliflower rice and broccoli rice are the best examples of vegetables as substitutes for rice. They are commonly eaten if you want to lose weight since they are comprised mostly of water and have low-calorie content.
Although vegetables are not exactly carbohydrate equivalent to grains as a replacement, they can add bulk to your grains and allow one to feel more satisfied even when they are trying to lose weight.
More often than not, we don’t meet our recommended vegetable servings, so adding these can help us get more nutrients in as well!
Root crops are native to the Philippines. Therefore, they are an inexpensive option if you want to swap out rice. As they are deeply integrated into Philippine cuisine, it is readily available in markets and is not new to us. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can aid in digestion.
However, it has a relatively high amount of carbohydrates – this can be a deal-breaker for those who want to regulate blood sugar carbohydrate intake. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are prime examples of root crops. Shirataki rice made from the konjac yam is another option if you want your food to resemble rice
Because root crops are complex carbohydrates they often increase satiety in meals. Potatoes are actually found to be one of the most satiating food items out there! However, carbohydrate-wise, they are on par with rice, so pairing them with protein, and fats should help in reducing their impact on your blood sugar.
Another familiar substitute for rice is bread. It is readily available in bakeries and supermarkets as much as it is affordable. It can be eaten with ulam or as a meal in itself. When adding palaman, avoid choosing those with lots of preservatives and added sugars.
One of the latest buzzes on the Internet is sourdough bread. It uses wild yeast and lactic acid, which is naturally present in the flour as a result of fermentation instead of using packaged yeast. It is easier to digest and has a high fiber content, which is great for those who struggle with their blood sugar levels.
As the name suggests, it is noted for its tangy and rustic taste. It can take some getting used to, so another option is darker bread such as rye or whole wheat instead of the usual white ones.
Sourdough is also a lower gluten option than regular bread so it is easier on the stomach for those with IBS or gluten intolerances!
When choosing bread, opt for whole-grain over multigrain! And watch out for the ingredient lists, make sure whole grains or any grains are listed as the first ingredient. It is also a good idea to pair your bread with a protein, fat, and fiber source for more satisfaction!
If you are just beginning to remove rice from your diet, we recommend you try out the product first to see if the taste is agreeable to you. There is no harm in starting small if it means reducing your potential waste!
This means purchasing them in small quantities to avoid having a lot of leftovers in case you don’t like the taste. You would also avoid having your products reach their expiration date before you are able to consume them.
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to remove rice from your diet! Especially if it is something you enjoy or it brings satiety to your meals. But it is always great to have more variety for your carbohydrate sources!
Who says eating healthy has to taste bland? These top 10 rice substitutes are crunchy, nutty, and tasty. They certainly dispel the notion that healthy foods taste boring.
Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Jo Sebastian, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Calories||85.5 per 1/4 Cup, Dry|
|Calories||20 per 1 Cup|
|Calories||147 per 40 g|
|Protein||4. 9 g|
|Calories||5 per 100 g|
|Calories||90 per Slice|
|Calories||226 per 1/3 Cup|
|Calories||300 per Package|
|Calories||87 per 100 g|
|Calories||170 per 1/4 Cup|
|Calories||92.5 per Slice|
The Green Tummy
Kitchen & Love
The Daily Knead
Organic White Quinoa
Couscous (Medium Grain)
Farro With Quinoa With Grilled Vegetables and Herbs
Organic Amaranth Seeds
Sourdough Multigrain Loaf
Highly Nutritious and Delicious
Eat More for Less With Cauliflower
Heart-Healthy Companion From Breakfast to Dinner
Subtle and Chewy - Great for Sauces and Stir Fry
Taste and Substance in a Wholesome Bread
Dinner and Dessert Combo in One
A Quick and Healthy Meal Enriched With Vitamins and Minerals
Root Crop Gold and All-Around Meal Staple
Aid Digestion With Fiber-Rich Amaranth
Start the Day Right With Multigrain Bread
|Price Starts at||₱709||₱900||₱189||₱440||₱311||₱280.3||₱189||₱130||₱375||₱345|
|Source||Whole Grain||Vegetable||Whole Grain||Root Crop||Bread||Whole Grain||Whole Grain||Root Crop||Seeds||Bread|
|Calories||85.5 per 1/4 Cup, Dry||20 per 1 Cup||147 per 40 g||5 per 100 g||90 per Slice||226 per 1/3 Cup||300 per Package||87 per 100 g||170 per 1/4 Cup||92.5 per Slice|
|Fiber||2.7 g||2 g||4 g||3 g||0 g||2 g||8 g||2.2 g||3 g||0.8 g|
|Protein||7.6 g||2 g||4. 9 g||0 g||3 g||7 g||9 g||2 g||6 g||3.8 g|
|Carbohydrates||16.7 g||4 g||25.2 g||3 g||17 g||45 g||50 g||17 g||32 g||18.1 g|
|Sugar||0.9 g||2 g||0.4 g||0 g||0 g||1 g||4 g||0.8 g||1 g||0.8 g|
Fried rice is easy to cook and it saves you money as you can use whatever leftover meats you have. Here is a low-carb option if you miss eating fried rice. It's also a tasty way to incorporate your veggies.
1. Cut cauliflower into chunks, removing the large stem in the center, and blitz in a food processor. Alternatively, you could use a box grater.
2. Pat the cauliflower dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
3. Cook bacon in a pan and remove once done. In the same pan, saute the cauliflower and add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Stir it well and add the scallions.
4. Move the cauliflower to the side and add the minced garlic and ginger, mix well. Crack some black pepper over the rice.
5. Cook the scrambled egg and incorporate it into the rice. Add the bacon. Your cauliflower rice is done. Enjoy!
Here are some of the most asked questions on the web regarding rice substitutes answered by Jo Sebastian. Keep on reading to learn more!
You can live without rice - if you want to. Because rice is such a big part of Filipino life, it is more than just food - it is tradition, culture, and connection. If you are opting to remove rice, remember to make sure you are still getting enough carbohydrates in your diet. The brain needs a minimum of 120g a day!
Depending on the substitute you choose it could have more protein, more fat, or more different types of vitamins and minerals. In the different types of rice alone you can get different nutrients.
Brown rice has more fiber than white rice, but white rice has more iron. Black and red rice have more antioxidants than the other rice options. Overall, the best thing to consider is your enjoyment and how it fits into your budget!
Yes and no. Weight loss is less about one specific food item and more about your overall intake over time. Yes if it decreases your overall intake, but no if you consume more or the same in caloric value throughout the day.
Rice is not evil! And if you enjoy it, then you don’t necessarily have to remove it. Adding some of the rice substitutes can add variety to your dishes and meals! But you can also add more protein, vegetables, and fiber to your meals and still enjoy your rice.
The road to a healthier you is just starting. Here are some products that might help you with your journey.
As people are becoming more conscious of what they eat, either for heath or dietary reasons, these rice substitutes will surely help you. Watching what you eat does not have to be such a hassle – there are many available options to help make your diet easier on the palate. Take a gander at these options and make the right choice!
Author: J. Cuizon
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