Instead of…White Rice

Hello, Readers!  Now, we all have heard the drawbacks to using white rice in our cooking.  It’s heavily processed.  It’s not very nutritious.  It contains a lot of fats and sugars that aren’t easily processed by our bodies.  But, have you tried any of the suggested replacements for them?  Well, I have, and I’m here to tell you about some of the replacements to try out instead of white rice.

Let’s get started with one of the most popular alternatives to white rice: brown rice.  I LOVE brown rice in my dishes!  It’s super fast, and there’s very little taste difference between white and brown rice.  It’s more discernable than white rice, or each grain is more noticeable versus the mush of white rice kernels.  But, it does have a couple of drawbacks.  If not cooked properly, it can come out very hard and very tough.  It can even come out raw.  Also, it takes a lot longer to cook brown rice than it does to cook white rice.  However, one of my favorite products to purchase is the ten-minute variety of brown rice that makes it so easy to utilize this product in my cooking.  While it is still processed, this form of brown rice makes it an easy staple for my diet.  And, according to Web MD, brown rice can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Another alternative to white rice is Quinoa.  I love this product, too, though I feel like it needs a little flavor to help boost it up.  Some heart-healthy garlic does the trick for me, but it may not be the same for everyone.  This is another grain that can take quite a while to cook, but it’s definitely worth it.  It’s also a little more costly than white rice, or even than brown rice for that matter.  But, the health benefits are what really matters.  According to this article in Lifescript, one cup of quinoa has 40 fewer calories than one cup of white rice, but it has five more grams of fiber and double the protein of white rice.  It’s a fantastic alternative to white rice!

A newer and somewhat unknown alternative is cauliflower rice.  One Green Planet, a vegan website, explains that cauliflower rice is grain free, gluten free, and nutrient dense.  This alternative, aside from being healthier than white rice, is a great way to get another serving of veggies in for your kiddos and it can be great for people with Celiac disease or gluten allergies.  While I haven’t tried cauliflower rice, I love cauliflower and I think this would be a wonderful addition to my cooking repertoire.

A few other grain alternatives are bulgur and buckwheat, which both can help lower bad cholesterol levels and have less calories and carbs than white rice.  According to flavofit, both of these products are flavorful while still providing better health benefits than can be provided by white rice.  One drawback to these products is the lack of availability or the price of them. Whenever I go to the store and search for these two products, I have a hard time finding them and they tend to come with a hefty price, much more than white rice.  But the health benefits far outweigh the cost.

One final alternative that is even new to me is wheat berry.  Now I know a lot of you may be cringing because of what you may have heard about wheat in the past.  Products that claim to be “wheat” contain nothing more than the wheat germ, or the fattiest part of the grain.  But the fact of the matter is that the healthiest form of wheat is the full wheat berry!  And it is actually pretty tasty.  Its texture and taste and similar to barley, but it’s a little rounder.  I had it in a “white cow chili” made by my grandmother, with the wheat berry being the “white cow” portion of the meal.  It was a great alternative to beef, and it was similar to rice in its absorptive qualities.  The drawbacks to this product are that it can limit its users and it can sometimes be difficult to find.  Because it is wheat, people with gluten allergies and Celiac disease cannot have this product.  Also, it can be hard to find.  While my mom and grandmother-two widows who, once again, share a house-live in a smaller town than my city, they searched for a long time before finding wheat berry in the bulk foods section of one store in their town.  I have yet to find this product at my local grocery store, but I haven’t really been looking for it for long.  But it’s worth a shot to try.

So, tell me Readers, what substitutions do you make for white rice in your recipes?

Until next time,

-BBM

 

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