Rice and potatoes are common staple carbohydrate foods that are the base of many dishes. BBC Health advises that carbohydrates are the primary energy source for your body and should make up a third of every meal. However, white rice is a refined carbohydrate that does not contain fiber and has a high glycemic value, meaning your blood sugar levels will peak quickly after eating it. Similarly, potatoes are also starchy carbohydrates that are high in potassium and vitamin C but should not be eaten regularly. Replace the white rice and potatoes in your meals with healthier, fiber-rich carbohydrate foods.
Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is unpolished and still has the fiber-rich germ layer that contains vitamins and minerals. White rice does not contain fiber and these nutrients, and its starchy carbohydrates are quickly converted into sugars in your body. One cup of cooked brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber and 218 calories, while a cup of cooked white rice has almost the same number of calories but only 0.6 grams of fiber. Brown rice can be prepared and eaten the same way as white rice.
Use grains such as pearl barley instead of rice in dishes such as risotto and casseroles. This whole grain is rich in protein, fiber and other nutrients and also helps to balance blood sugar levels. One cup contains almost 6 grams of fiber. Pearl barley is elongated and slightly resembles rice.
Use whole grains such as couscous, quinoa and lentils in your dishes. You can eat these grains and legumes as a carbohydrate staple in your meal instead of rice to add more fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet. One cup of lentils contains 15.6 grams of fiber.
Make baked fries out of squash, yams, eggplant and other vegetables instead of potatoes. Slice the vegetables and sprinkle them with olive oil, dried herbs, pepper and salt and bake them until they are crispy. Leave the peel on the vegetable if possible to add more fiber.
Boil and puree vegetables such as pumpkin and zucchini instead of potatoes to make a healthy carbohydrate mash. These colorful vegetables are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Eating potatoes that are baked with the skin on instead of mashed or fried makes them healthier because they have a lower-glycemic index and more fiber.
- Eat three or more servings of whole grains a day to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor may recommend that you do not eat rice and potatoes at all, as they can raise your blood sugar levels; consult your doctor or nutritionist for the best daily diet for you.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.