Get the Skinny on Rice Alternatives

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -- Rice swaps are more and more common, with recipes for cauliflower rice popping up everywhere, and restaurants serving rice-free versions of traditional favorites, like quinoa “risotto” and farro jambalaya.  But are these healthy-sounding rice alternatives really any better for us?

We’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on the nutritional rundown of each, and if it’s worth the swap or not!

  • Nutrition Facts below are for one cup cooked.
  • Rice swaps can be used in place of rice in dishes like jambalaya, shrimp Creole, broccoli & rice casseroles, saffron rice, stir-fry dishes – any and everything you’d typically use rice for!
  • Compare to Brown Rice: 216 calories – 45 grams carb – 4 grams fiber – 1 gram sugar – 5 grams protein

 

WORTH IT!

Cauliflower “Rice”

  • 37 calories – 37 mg sodium – 6 grams carb – 3 grams fiber – 3 grams sugar – 3 grams protein
  • Cup-for-cup, riced cauliflower has about 80% fewer carbs than cooked rice => WORTH IT!

Lentils

  • 240 calories – 0 sodium – 43 grams carb – 25 grams fiber – 1 gram sugar – 15 grams protein
  • Slightly more calories than rice, but 6x more fiber and 3x more protein than brown rice => WORTH IT!

Freekeh

  • 226 calories – 0 sodium – 44 grams carb – 10.5 grams fiber – 1 gram sugar – 9 grams protein
  • Calories about the same as brown rice, with >2x fiber and nearly 2x protein

 

NOT WORTH IT!

Quinoa

  • 215 calories – 0 sodium – 37 grams carb – 4 gram fiber – 0 sugar – 8 grams protein
  • Approximately same fiber as brown rice; 60% more protein than brown rice

Farro

  • 400 calories – 0 sodium – 74 grams carb – 14 grams fiber – 0 sugar – 14 grams protein
  • Wheat-based | Not gluten-free
  • 2x calories of rice!

 

Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD