5 Healthy Alternatives To White Rice
Posted by Adelaide
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White rice is a staple in many households around the world but there are so many alternatives that you could be dishing up instead.
Without going into the science bit, white rice has a much lower nutritional benefit than many of the easy food swaps suggested below, mainly because the husk, bran and most of the germ from white rice has been removed.
Because grains are converted into glucose (blood sugar) by the body we must also look at the impact this has on our insulin levels and overall body health. Not only do these easy food swaps outshine white rice in nutritional value but also in glycaemic index (GI) value too.
The GI value of foods tells us how quickly a food gets converted into glucose in the body on digestion. All foods are given a score compared to glucose, which has a score of 100. High-glycaemic foods, such as white rice, have a score of 72 whereas Brown rice has a glycaemic index of 55 and Basmati rice is 52 making both Brown and Basmati rice healthier alternatives due to their lower glycaemic value.
Lower GI foods are great if you’re looking to stabilise your blood sugar levels (as with Type II Diabetes) and they help with weight loss as they support you feeling fuller for longer, reducing the desire to snack (overeat). I will go into this more in another blog post.
Adelaide Brooks is a Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach with a Degree in Sports and Exercise Science and a Masters in Psychology. She has over 15 years experience as a health trainer in the medical and fitness industry.
1) Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice is a great, low carb alternative to white rice. One serving contains a recommended daily amount worth of Vitamin C. Other nutrients include manganese, vitamin K and fibre. Cauliflower contains numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as aiding in our digestion.
To turn your cauliflower into rice you can blend the florets in a food processor or use a grater. You can fry the cauliflower rice with a dash of coconut oil, onions and a whole assortment of vegetables of your choice, top with your favourite meat or protein and you’ll be left with a ‘fried rice’ dish that tastes delicious.
2) Brown Rice
With a glycaemic index of 55, brown rice is full of fibre which helps to support your digestive system and keeps you feeling full.
Farro, an Italian hulled wheat is an easy to digest grain that is packed with iron and high in fibre. It’s an excellent source of plant-based protein. High in multiple B vitamins including Vitamin B Niacin, B2, Magnesium and Zinc. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants.
Farro has one of the lowest GI values of any grain at 40 and is delicious in risottos and salads served along with herbs, nuts and veggies.
4) Red or White Quinoa
Quinoa contains the second highest protein of any grain in the grain family. Because of this high protein punch, it is often used as a vegetation or vegan substitute. It has all the essential amino acids as well as riboflavin, folate and iron, it's gluten-free and high in fiber aiding in healthy bowel movements. Its Glycaemic Index is 53.
It can be easily mixed with herbs and spices or mixed with milk and honey as an oatmeal/porridge alternative for breakfast.
With a low Glycaemic index of 43, Freekah is the super grain of super grains. It has been a staple food in the Middle East for centuries and contains more protein and fibre than quinoa, making it an excellent source of plant based protein for vegetarians and vegans. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that help prevent age-related macular (eye) degeneration and it's also loaded with pre-biotics that are good for our intestinal bacteria and glutamic acid which helps to build strong muscles.
Whole Freekeh (uncracked) takes about 45-50mins to simmer, while the cracked variety takes about 12-20mins to soften. You can eat Freekeh in the same dishes where you would use white rice like pilaf, stir-fries, tabouli and soups.
6) And let’s not forget there’s also Cous Cous (glycaemic Index of 65) and Broccoli rice that can also be used as a white rice substitute.
So, go out and enjoy these great foods swaps and let me know how you get on.
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