Rice is popular in most modern-day diets and a staple food for over half the world’s population, being especially important in Asia and Africa.
Rice is extremely versatile and can be used in a number of Mediterranean dishes such as paella and risotto as well as an accompaniment to chilli’s, curries and stir fries.
What is rice?
Rice is a starchy cereal grain, which comes from the seed of grass species called Oryza glaberrima in Africa or Oryza sativa in Asia.
White rice is a refined carbohydrate and therefore does not provide as much nutrition as other alternatives.
It is stripped of the bran and germ, which holds a lot of the nutritional value.
What alternatives are there to white rice?
There are lots of different varieties of rice which hold various nutritional values.
Some are a healthier choice when compared to white rice, whilst others have more flavour or a slightly different texture when cooked.
Brown rice is a whole grain and so only the outermost layer, the inedible hull, is removed. This means that brown rice retains a lot more of its nutrients than white rice.
Brown rice has a nuttier flavour and chewier texture than white rice, which some people prefer.
It is also gluten free and as such, can be enjoyed even if you have a gluten intolerance.
You can substitute white rice for brown in lots of your favourite meals.
Black rice was once known as ‘Forbidden Rice’ in Ancient China as it was so expensive that only the upper classes could afford to eat it.
Nowadays black rice is much more accessible. Black rice is black in colour (hence the name!) and turns a deep purple when cooked. It gets its colour from a pigment called anthocyanin.
Black rice has a similar texture and nutty flavour to brown rice and makes for an interesting addition to any meal, adding a splash of colour and something a little different.
Both brown rice and black rice can take a little longer to cook than white rice, so you may need to allow more time if you have chosen to use these varieties of rice instead.
Jasmine white rice is fluffy, sweet and fragrant with a slightly sticky texture when cooked.
It is a long grain rice which primarily grows in Southeast Asia and it is named after the jasmine flower.
This organic rice can be added to curries, dahls and served as a side dish for stir fries.
Biona Red Carmague Rice gets its name from the area it grows in, the southern French Camargue wetlands.
Its rich, red colour and nutty flavour adds variety, texture and taste to your dishes. Try is as a base for a rice salad.
Wild rice is the seed of an aquatic grass which grows in North America’s Great Lakes region and in China.
It is a great source of fibre and protein, which is essential for muscle maintenance and repair. A high level of protein is especially important in your diet if you live a very active lifestyle as it will help with muscle recovery.
Wild rice has a nutty, earthy flavour and a chewy texture. It is great to eat by itself or can be added to salads, soups or casseroles.
Healthy alternatives to white rice
If you are trying to cut down a little, Eat Water Slim Rice could be for you.
It looks and tastes just like rice but has no carbohydrates and is low in calories. This rice is made using konjac flour, a water-soluble fibre that is rich in glucomannan. Glucomannan absorbs water and expands in your stomach, leaving you feeling full.
This konjac rice is super quick and easy to cook and can be served with curries and chilli’s or added to a stir fry with tofu, vegetables, seafood or meat.
Another rice made using konjac flour is the Now Slim Diet Rice.
This rice is carbohydrate, fat and sugar free as well as being gluten free and a source of fibre. Just add your favourite sauce and enjoy!