substitutes for buckwheat

7 Nutritionally Dense Rice Substitutes for Diabetics

It might be challenging to eat healthily while managing diabetes. Rice, for example, is a staple in many cultures but can spike your blood sugar levels and is thus not a great choice for diabetics. It is, nevertheless, possible to enjoy food while adhering to a diabetic-friendly diet.

In this article, we cover the 7 finest rice substitutes for diabetics, allowing you to experience all of the flavors without jeopardizing your health. Learn all about these alternative grains and how to incorporate them into your daily meals.

1. Quinoa


For diabetics, quinoa is probably the most suitable substitute for rice. It has a low glycemic index when compared to other grains and is a nutritious powerhouse. Quinoa also includes vital minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus, as well as fiber and protein, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods for diabetics.

Using quinoa in place of rice can be a great way to add variety to the diet and make meals more interesting. This delicious grain can easily be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Cook it with your favorite vegetables, seeds, or nuts to give your dish some extra flavor. Or simply make a salad by cooking the quinoa and combining it with avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, and a dressing of your choice.

2. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a popular alternative to rice as it is significantly lower in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars than white rice, which helps reduce carbohydrate intake. Cauliflower is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and provide essential nutrients for your body.

Using cauliflower rice as a substitute for white rice is easier than you might think. Simply grate a head of fresh cauliflower and either sauté it in a lightly oiled pan on low-medium heat or cook it in the microwave with a few tablespoons of water. The result is a delicious alternative that takes only minutes to prepare and can be used in any recipe that calls for cooked long-grain white rice.

3. Brown Rice

Brown Rice

Brown rice is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive system and regulates blood sugar levels. It’s also a great source of healthy complex carbohydrates and B vitamins, both of which are important for managing diabetes.

You can use brown rice as a delicious alternative to white rice in any recipe you like. However, keep in mind that brown rice has a more distinctly earthy and nutty flavor compared to white rice, which may alter the taste of your dishes a little. It also takes a little longer to cook, and you will need to use more water than you would for white rice.

4. Barley


This whole grain is packed with nutrition, boasting high levels of magnesium, vitamin B, and dietary fiber, all of which can help lower blood sugar levels. The best part is that it’s easy to use as a direct substitute for white or brown rice when preparing meals.

When swapping barley for rice, using the right ratio is key. Start by boiling two parts of water for one part of barley in a medium-sized pot with a pinch of salt. As the barley cooks, it will absorb the liquid and expand in size. Let it cook until it’s soft and fluffy. Add in your favorite toppings, and dinner is served!

5. Buckwheat


Buckwheat is also an excellent option for people with diabetes who are looking for a healthier alternative to rice. It is packed with nutrients, such as protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins, and is naturally gluten-free. Its mild nutty flavor makes it a great substitute for rice in any dish.

When substituting buckwheat for rice in recipes, keep in mind that one cup of buckwheat groats will make about two cups of cooked buckwheat. This is because buckwheat swells up and grows in size when cooked with water. So, adjust your recipe accordingly. To prepare buckwheat, rinse the grains until the water runs clear and then cook it in a pot on the stovetop or use a rice cooker. You can also flavor it with your favorite seasonings or cook it with veggies for a more nutritious meal.

6. Millet


This gluten-free grain is high in fiber and low in fat and calories compared to other grains, making it a great option for people looking to control their weight. Millet is also rich in B vitamins, which can aid in regulating blood sugar levels.

You can use millet in many recipes that call for rice, such as risotto or pilaf, or use it to make cereal or in stews for a creamy texture and flavor. When using millet in place of rice, you’ll want to use a ratio of roughly three parts millet to four parts liquid, as millet absorbs more liquid than rice.

You can cook millet in water or broth, whichever you prefer. Just bring the liquid of your choice to a boil, add the millet, and stir. Reduce the heat, cover, and let it simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed (15-20 minutes). Enjoy your nutritionally-dense, diabetes-friendly millet meal!

7. Lentils


Lentils have a lower glycemic index than rice, and they also offer a wide range of other essential nutrients. As a legume, lentils are rich in both protein and fiber, as well as several other important vitamins and minerals. This makes them an excellent option for those needing to watch their carb intake while still wanting to maintain a balanced diet.

To cook lentils, it is recommended to use two parts water or broth to one part dry lentils. This ratio will provide you with the same side dish quantity that would come from one cup of cooked rice. Once cooked, you can season the dish to your liking and enjoy!

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.