Rice is not a low carb food. There are some types of rice that have fewer carbs and more fiber, or more net nutritional value overall, but rice as a food is not a low carb option. There are so many recipes that call for rice (especially white rice), but this adds so many carbohydrates to the meal. If you are trying to limit the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, rice may seem hard to fit in. Although there are some ways to make rice lower carb, there are some good low carb rice alternatives to choose from.
Consider your total carb intake in the whole meal when you are choosing which rice alternative to use. Here are the best rice alternatives you can use instead of rice and help keep your carbohydrate count lower in the process.
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Also called cauliflower rice, this is simply cauliflower that has been cut up or grated to the size of small rice grains. There is nothing about riced cauliflower that is different from normal cauliflower, other than the size. Cauliflower has always been a healthy food, but recently it has been getting some more attention as a versatile veggie that can do much more than we thought.
One serving of cauliflower has the following nutrition benefits:
- 2 grams of fiber- This is useful in lowering the overall carb count.
- 2 grams of protein- Protein helps you feel full and is good for muscle growth.
- 25 calories- This will add to your energy level.
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams sugar- This is naturally occurring and not processed sugar.
To use cauliflower rice, you just cook it normally by steaming and then chop it up into very small rice sized pieces. However, you can also get cauliflower rice already cut to size at the grocery store, making it easier to use in your recipe as a low carb rice alternative.
The Best Riced Cauliflower- 365 by Whole Foods Market, Organic Riced Cauliflower, 16 Ounce
365 Organic Riced Cauliflower by Whole Foods Market comes in a one-pound bag. The bag is microwaveable so you can simply cook it in the microwave and add it to your meal easily. It is a vegan food with no animal products used in its production. It is high-quality cauliflower cut up to the perfect size bites to be a rice substitute. It is very affordable and easily the most popular kind of riced cauliflower you can get online.
Shirataki Rice is also called miracle rice, but it is not rice at all. It is actually the root of the Konnyaku Imo plant which has been cut up and processed for sale. It is only made from the fiber of the root, not the entire thing. It contains a fiber called glucomannan which is quite healthy and fully soluble. It has an extremely low carbohydrate count, so it has become quite popular with people looking for low-carb food or following the keto diet.
One serving of miracle rice contains the following nutrition benefits:
- 20 calories- This is not many calories for the serving size.
- 0 grams of protein- Shirataki rice will not give you any protein, but the other nutrients help make up for it.
- 0 grams of fat- It contains no fat whatsoever which is beneficial if you are watching fat intake.
- 6 grams of carbohydrates
- 6 grams of fiber- This completely negates the carbohydrates, making it nearly a net 0 carb food.
Shirataki rice does not have much flavor. Much like tofu, it just takes on the flavor of the food it is cooked with. It is a great way to add some calories and healthy fiber to any meal that would normally have rice.
The Best Shirataki Rice- Miracle Noodle Miracle Rice – Gluten-Free Shirataki Rice, Keto, Vegan, Soy Free, Zero Carbs, Zero Calories, Kosher, Paleo, Dairy Free – 8 Ounce, Pack of 6
Miracle rice is shirataki rice, and it is made from water, Konjac Flour, and citric acid. It comes in a six-pack container with a total of six pouches which are 8 ounces each. It is a gluten-free food and approved for vegans and the paleo diet as well. Each serving only contains 10 calories, which will not make you gain weight. Because this is not a grain, it has no carbohydrates and is good for diabetics.
This miracle rice is using the same ancient recipe that was used thousands of years ago by Buddhist monks. Not everyone likes the bland flavor of this stuff, but when you add it to your meal, it just takes on the flavor of the other foods it is mixed with.
Quinoa almost did not make this list because it has a fair amount of carbohydrates, but the rest of the nutrition benefits make it worth it, and far better than white or brown rice. Quinoa comes from South America, and it is an ancient food called the mother of grains. It is called a low-carb rice alternative but in reality, compared to some other rice alternatives on this list, it has relatively high carbs (still less than rice). It is technically a seed but considered a whole grain, and it is gluten-free as well.
- 222 calories- this is a huge number of calories for a side dish, it gives you tons of energy.
- 8 grams of protein- quinoa has a good amount of protein to help you feel full and add to the overall protein count of your meal.
- 6 grams of fat- Because it comes from whole wheat this is not a bad kind of fat.
- 39 grams of carbs- this is a lot more than some of the other rice alternatives but when you take off the fiber it only turns out to be 34 grams net carbs.
- 5 grams of fiber- this is a lot of fiber per serving and it really helps add to the benefit of quinoa.
Adding quinoa to your meal instead of rice will give you much more energy and help you feel fuller. Protein is good for your body’s ability to grow and repair muscles. It can be added to any meal and is not difficult to cook. When you replace rice in your meal with quinoa, be sure to mind your portion size since quinoa does have a fair amount of carbohydrates.
Best Quinoa- BetterBody Foods Organic Quinoa, Vegan, Complete plant protein, gluten-free low, glycemic rice replacement, 24 ounce
Better Body Foods Organic Quinoa comes in a 1.5-pound jar, which is a hefty amount for a really low price. It is quite an affordable way to get quinoa. It is a blend of different colored seeds giving it an attractive look and an interesting blend of flavors. It is packed with protein, fiber, iron, and more.
It is an organic product meaning it has no harmful chemicals added during the production process. It is a complete plant protein because it has white, red, and black grains. Every serving will give you 6 grams of protein and all 9 essential amino acids. It is truly a superfood, just watch those carbs.
Couscous is small pasta that originally comes from North Africa. It looks a bit like spaghetti chopped up into tiny sections that end up looking like tiny balls. Whole wheat couscous has quite impressive nutrition benefits when added to a healthy meal. Because it is easy to cook and easy to eat it can be added to any meal that rice is normally called for, and it will offer some extra nutrition and slightly fewer carbs per serving,
- 3 grams of fiber- This is more fiber than you would get with normal refined couscous.
- 6 grams of protein- This is more protein per serving than many other grains or rice substitutes which helps you to feel full with less food being eaten.
- 1 gram of fat- not all fat is bad, this is not bad fat since it comes from whole food.
- 31 grams of carbs- this is fairly high but when you subtract the fiber it is 28 total net carbs which are still less than rice.
- 20 milligrams of calcium and 2 milligrams of iron
You use whole wheat couscous just like you would use rice, add it to any main dish as a side. You can add a small amount of salt or butter to add a bit of extra flavor if you want, but I like it raw. It is not a dramatic drop in the number of carbs that rice has, but it is a little less and it has some other important nutrients like fiber, calcium, and iron (and more).
The Best Whole Wheat Couscous- RiceSelect Organic Whole Wheat Couscous, Moroccan, Whole Grain, Non-GMO, 26.5 oz (Pack of 4 Jars)
RiceSelect Organic Whole Wheat Couscous comes in a pack of 4 jars, each one is 26.5 ounces or just under 2 pounds per jar. It cooks very quickly, steaming in only 5 minutes which makes it extremely convenient to add to your meal plan. It is non-GMO and certified organic which are both important certifications for plant-based (or any) foods to have. The taste of this couscous makes it an excellent choice for nearly any dish where you would normally consider using rice.
The couscous is made from high-quality premium durum wheat, and it has a full 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. It is much better than white rice or normal pasta, and it tastes much better as well. It is extremely simple to cook, just like other pasta. Just boil and drain and add to your meal.
Riced broccoli is not anything new, it is just normal broccoli that has been finely chopped into very small pieces to the size of rice. It has very low carbohydrates and so many other healthy nutrients. It is just as easy and fast to cook as cauliflower rice, and some people say it tastes even better. It can be used in place of rice in any dish, and it will enhance the nutrition level and flavor much more than rice would. It is gaining in popularity because of the convenience factor. It is so easy to cook and add to a meal.
- 50 calories- This is a lot of energy you can use with very few carbohydrates added.
- 4 grams of protein- the protein will help the broccoli rice make you feel fuller after you eat it.
- 1 gram of fiber- Fiber helps your food digest easier and helps lower your cholesterol.
- 4 grams of sugar- broccoli rice does not have much sugar, just under 3 grams.
- 7 carbs- very low carb count per serving of broccoli rice, this is not even ¼ of rice’s carb count.
Riced broccoli may be one of the best low-carb rice substitutes. Broccoli is such a healthy food, to begin with, and when you chop it up into rice-sized pieces, it is so much easier to eat since you can just use a spoon instead of having to eat big stalks all at once.
Best Riced Broccoli- Fullgreen Riced Broccoli and Cauliflower – perfect for Keto diets – made in the USA
Fullgreen Riced Broccoli and Cauliflower come in a six-pack with each pouch containing 7.05 ounces. It has a full 89% lower carbs than normal rice does. Every pouch only contains 6 grams of carbs. The pouches make it easy to get the right portion size since you can just use one pouch per plate in your meal. In addition to being non-GMO, it is also vegan, with no animal products being used to create it. It is easy to store in a normal cupboard, it does not need to be frozen or refrigerated, which makes it super convenient to store and use.
Because it has no gluten or nut products it is allergy-free unless you are allergic to broccoli, which I have never heard anyone who is. It is great for people who are on the keto diet, or even for vegans as well.