- Too much rice can mean too many carbs.
- There are lots of alternatives that you can add to your next meal.
- Registered dietitians share tips on what you can try instead of rice.
Although carbohydrates are an important aspect of a balanced diet, too much of anything is a bad thing.
The good news is that if you’re looking to limit your carb intake, there’s plenty of options for you – especially when it comes to replacing grains.
While all of the alternatives won’t have the exact same taste and texture of grains like rice, if you experiment with them you will definitely find something that makes you traditional dishes just as delicious.
Here are 11 substitutes for grains that can help you keep your carb intake in check.
Cauliflower is low-carb and has more nutritional value.
- AS Food Studio/ Shutterstock
Cauliflower rice is not only a great low-carb alternative to regular rice, but it also has “more nutritional mileage than rice,” Dallas-based registered dietitian Louise Chen told the MyFitnessPal blog.
One cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to 45 grams that come in a cup of rice, according to MyFitnessPal.
Cauliflower also contains a high amount of fiber, which promotes good gastrointestinal health.
Broccoli is similar to cauliflower rice.
Similar to cauliflower, broccoli also can serve as a tasty plant-based, low-carb alternative to rice. You can make riced broccoli using the florets and stems in the same way you do with cauliflower, in a food processor or with a box grater, according to the online food magazine Kitchn.
Quinoa is a super-food.
They don’t call quinoa a super-food for anything. This plant provides a wide range of benefits for anyone who consumes it, including not adding unnecessary carbs to a diet.
White rice contains almost 15 times the carbohydrates and half the protein that quinoa does, according to Everyday Health.
Farro has twice as much fiber as rice.
- bonchan / Shutterstock
When you’re looking for foods to replace the rice in your next dinner recipe, farro should not be ruled out. Farro is a whole grain with about twice as much fiber as quinoa and three times as much as rice.
Unlike white rice, which is made refined carbs, farro is made up of complex carbs, which take longer to digest and therefore facilitate weight loss, according to Women’s Health.
Sweet potato rice has fewer calories than brown rice.
- iStock / juliedeshales
Sweet potatoes are more than just a staple enjoyed at Thanksgiving dinner. They are versatile vegetables that can be used in a number of ways, including in a grated form to substitute rice.
A ½ cup of cooked brown rice includes about 24 grams of carbs, but a sweet potato only includes about 21. Sweet potatoes also offer more fiber and fewer calories than brown rice, according to SFGate.
Rutabaga rice is an antioxidant.
- Migren art/Shutterstock
What happens when you fuse a cabbage and a turnip? You get rutabaga.
Rutabaga makes a great rice replacement for those on low carb diets, because it only contains 9 grams of net carbs, according to the blog perfectketo.com.
Rutabaga is also an antioxidant that can boost a person’s immune system and improve digestive health. Like most of the other vegetables on this list, you can use a food processor to turn this root vegetable into a rice-like consistency.
Miracle (shirataki) rice or noodles pick up the flavor they are cooked with.
- Flickr/Tetsuji Sakakibara
If you haven’t heard of Shirataki by now, you’re going to want to pay attention.
This translucent type of rice and noodles is made from the Japanese konjac plant, which absorbs whatever flavors you cook with it, according to HuffPost. In addition to Shirataki rice containing zero calories and zero carbohydrates, it’s also gluten-free and soy-free.
Butternut squash is high in potassium.
If you’re looking for a rice alternative during the fall or winter, you can’t go wrong with using butternut squash.
This type of winter squash is an ideal source of fiber and potassium, which aids digestion and can lead to decreased blood pressure. One cup of cooked butternut squash consists of about 82 calories and 21.5 grams of carbs, according to MedicalNewsToday.
Cabbage rice is inexpensive.
By now you must have realized, that you can make a plant-based rice alternative out of just about any vegetable. Although it won’t quite match the taste of rice, cabbage can take on a wide range of flavors. Plus, it’s super inexpensive and it has the lowest amount of carbohydrates on this list.
One cup of raw cabbage contains about 22 calories and a mere 5 grams of carbohydrates, according to the blog VeryFitWell.com.
Try using cabbage for anything from a stir-fry to a casserole dish.
Zoodles are low in carbs and high in fiber.
Zucchini noodles are more than just a hot new food fad. Zoodles serve as a great way to lower your carb consumption and increase your fiber intake, which will keep you full longer and assist with weight loss.
While two cups of pasta contain 480 calories and 90 grams of carbs, two cups of zoodles have 66 calories and only twelve grams of carbs, according to Vogue.
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