Complex carbohydrates are essential to health, and as such, they should be included in your daily diet. Rice is a common complex carbohydrate found in many diets and recipes; however, if you do not like rice, there are plenty of healthful alternatives. Other whole grains can serve as replacements. Starchy vegetables also exhibit a similar nutritional profile.
The Equivalent Nutritional Value
If you are looking to replace rice in your diet, consider replacing it with foods that are similar in nutritional value. One-third cup of rice contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate, and if it is brown rice, it also contains about 1 to 3 grams of fiber. Rice is also nutrient-dense because it contains an assortment of B-complex vitamins and minerals such as potassium and phosphorus. Because of these characteristics, it is important that you replace rice with foods of similar nutritional value.
Whole Grain Replacements
There are a variety of whole grains that could replace rice in the diet and are nutritionally similar to rice. One-third cup of cooked pasta contains the same amount of carbohydrates as rice, and it also contains many of the vitamins and minerals found in brown rice. One-third cup of quinoa, another whole grain, also contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate. Quinoa also serves as a good source of complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids.
Starchy Vegetable Replacements
Like rice, starchy vegetables also contain carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, just like brown rice. Corn, peas and mashed potatoes are all examples of starchy vegetables that may replace rice in a diet. While one-third cup of rice contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, one-half cup of these starchy vegetables contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, so make sure you take a slightly larger serving.
Many individuals eat rice because it is one of the gluten-free grains; however, if you are now trying to replace rice while on a gluten-free diet, you will need to select other non-wheat based grains. Suitable alternatives include buckwheat, amaranth and millet.
Dr. Courtney Winston is a registered/licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator and public health educator. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctoral degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Winston was recognized in 2012 with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Emerging Leader in Dietetics Award for the state of California.