Healthy alternatives to white rice that taste just as good

Here are some healthy options to choose from. Source: Getty

Love white rice, but worried about what too much does to your waistline?

Cheap and versatile, white rice is a staple ingredient in many of our homes. While white rice is a delicious grain, it’s refined, which means the outer-layer of the grain (containing the nutrients), has been removed, and as you all know, high in carbs.

According to accredited practising dietitian and nutrition manager (at the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council) Felicity Curtain, while you can still enjoy white rice as part of a balanced diet, there are plenty of alternatives out there which are way more healthy. 

So, if you’re looking to cut down on white rice, here are some healthy and tasty options for you to choose from. 

Brown rice

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Brown rice is a fantastic alternative to white rice. Why? Unlike white rice, brown rice is a whole grain, which means it’s packed with fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Felicity says, whole grains can also help to maintain weight, as well as protect against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

“So, choosing whole grains like brown rice is great for our health, both in the short, and long-term,” she says.

Black or red rice

Like brown rice, red and black rice are filled with plenty of nutrients. “Choosing a whole grain variety like black, or red rice means you’ll be taking in up to double the amount of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals,” Felicity explains. 

She advises, that black and red rice are also great additions to curries and grainy salads. 

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Cauliflower rice

Have you heard of cauliflower rice? Light and fluffy in texture, if you’re looking to bump up your veggie-intake, cauliflower rice is loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals. All you need to do is grate the cauliflower florets until the texture resembles rice. Cook on medium heat for five minutes, it’s that easy! 

“By grating raw cauliflower, it takes on a similar appearance and texture to rice, and can be enjoyed in a similar way,” Felicity says. 


Like rice, quinoa is gluten-free, and cooked in a similar way, however it has double the protein! “As well as being high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, quinoa is also full of protein, making it an especially great choice for vegetarians who steer clear of meat,” she says. 

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Couscous is made from wheat, Felicity says, so the taste is similar to pasta. It’s full of health benefits, including the ability to improve digestion, help weight loss and increase heart health.

If you’re keen to try, choose a whole grain version to get the most from your couscous. The best part is, it’s super-quick to cook (less than 10 minutes) so it’s great for speedy dinners. 

Broccoli rice 

Like cauliflower, you can do the same thing with broccoli! It’s low-carb, full of fibre and a plant-based protein, so, it’ll keep you fuller for longer. You can also add the broccoli and cauliflower rice together for an extra veggie kick.  

What do you think? What is your favourite rice? Are you keen to try any of these?