5 Budget Alternatives to White Rice as Your Staple Carbohydrate

Not All Carbs Are Made Equal

To maintain optimum health we need to consume a varied diet. An essential and substantial part of our diets is starchy carbohydrates. This is where rice comes in.

For many families in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and some parts of Africa, white rice is the carbohydrate of choice due to it’s abundance and cheap price.

Unfortunately, when you compare it to other carbohydrate foods, it lags behind in terms of nutritional value. This is attributed to the heavy processing it goes through which removes most of its nutrients. Research has shown that it has a high Glycemic index, which leaves us feeling hungry sooner and has a higher concentration of sugar (glucose), something known to cause type 2 diabetes.

Try these healthy alternatives to white rice, they’re super healthy, won’t break the bank and taste great!

1. Brown Rice

It may not look as glamorous or mouth watering, but brown rice makes up for it by being chock full of nutrients. For example, it is rich in selenium which reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. It's also high in manganese, fiber, and antioxidants.

The only disadvantage is that it is a little pricier than white rice. That said, you need smaller amounts, as it will keep you feeling fuller for longer due to to it’s nutritional value.

2. Barley

Many say barley tastes better than brown rice. There isn't much difference in terms of nutritional goodness, but barley wins when it comes to fiber content; a single cup of barley has 6g, while brown rice has 3.5g. Fiber is important in the optimum functioning of the digestive system and keeps you feeling fuller for longer because of the time it takes the body to process.

Unlike white rice, barley has a low glycemic index. And it's also rich in minerals and vitamins. Actually, barley has twice the amount of vitamin C than oranges.

3. Millet

Before rice was the main grain in China, millet used to be number one. It's currently the 6th most important grain in the world.

So how does it stack up as a white rice substitute?

Millet also has a low glycemic index making it a good option for those with blood sugar problems. It’s also high in protein, providing 15% of the recommended daily intake, and a good source of magnesium, a compound that reduces the risk of heart disease.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is very popular right now and for good reason. It's the first grain many turn to as a white rice substitute. Quinoa has been known as a superfood for a long time. With just one cup, you get 8g of protein and 8g of fiber. This comes along with other nutrients like magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, and zinc.

The only downside with quinoa is that it's quite pricey compared to white rice (we had to put this one in). But that's the kind of thing you would expect from a SUPERFOOD!

5. Wild Rice

Wild rice is one of the best carbohydrate foods you can use as a white rice substitute. But, wild rice isn't actually rice. It is seeds of a wild grass. The best part is that it’s high in a lot of nutrients. It has vitamins, minerals, proteins, and all the essential fatty acids. It has a great bite to it, and when you eat it, you just know it’s good for you. It’s also friendly on the wallet.

Give these white rice alternatives a try as your carbohydrate of choice. You need not replace white rice entirely, but these alternatives can offer greater nutritional value, great taste and a new healthy way of fuelling your body.


Author: Tye Leung
Author Bio: Having spent many years as a high level martial arts practitioner, Ty put his skills to good use and became a coach and trainer. He is an expert in bodyweight training and loves to share this knowledge with anyone who is willing to listen. Currently working as a group exercise instructor, Ty gets to share his love of exercise with many people on a daily basis.