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Healthy Rice Substitutes for Diabetics: 5 Best Options

Diabetes does not have to mean that you cannot enjoy the simple pleasures of eating rice.

However, it does require smart substitutions.

The question ‘Can You Eat White Rice If You Have Diabetes?’ is a hot topic amongst diabetics everywhere.

It is important to understand that white rice has a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating and so can increase your blood sugar levels quickly.

But fear not; there are five great substitutes to make sure your diabetes-friendly meals still include delicious and tasty rice dishes.

In this article, we will look at the five best substitutes for white rice that make great options for diabetics.

Can You Eat White Rice If You Have Diabetes?

can you eat white rice if you have diabetes

Eating white rice when you have diabetes is a tricky subject.

Whether or not it’s suitable for your diet depends on several factors, including the glycemic index of the particular type of rice and how it is cooked.

White rice is typically milled whole grain that has had the bran and most, if not all, of the germ, removed.

It is also lower in fiber than other types, like brown or wild.

Nutritionally speaking, it tastes great but isn’t considered very filling due to its low dietary fiber content.

Additionally, white rice has a softer texture than other varieties, making it easier to prepare and possibly digest.

When consumed in moderation as part of a healthy eating plan, with carbohydrates distributed throughout the day while monitoring glucose levels, white rice can easily fit into many people’s diabetes diets.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Rice for Diabetics

If you are managing diabetes, a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins is the way to go.

Rice, unfortunately, is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to carbs.

Fortunately, there are several healthier alternatives that you can use in place of rice in your favorite dishes.

Here are five great substitutes for rice that won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

1 – Cauliflower Rice

cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice is a great rice substitute dish for those looking to reduce their daily carbohydrate intake.

It’s quick and easy to make with just a handful of simple ingredients.

The result is a light, mild taste that won’t overpower the main course and a slightly crunchy texture that gives it more body than traditional white rice.

Plus, cauliflower is low in calories and chock-full of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice for diabetics who are looking to avoid high-carb foods.

To serve as a substitute for white or brown rice, simply chop some fresh cauliflower into small florets, giving them a pulse or two in the food processor until they resemble grains of cooked rice–you can also use frozen pre-riced cauliflower from the store.

And season away with your favorite herbs and spices before cooking in butter or oil for about ten minutes.

2 – Quinoa


Quinoa is the superfood of choice for anyone health-conscious.

It is a much healthier alternative to traditional grains such as rice and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Not only does quinoa taste great, but it also provides an interesting crunchy texture that’s perfect for those seeking something different.

For diabetics specifically, it can be an excellent substitute for rice due to its low glycemic index rating and high nutrient content, allowing them to enjoy delicious portions without worrying about their blood sugar levels spiking.

Quinoa can easily be prepared like regular rice, either by boiling or steaming – try it in a stir fry or even use it to stuff your favorite vegetables.

3 – Riced Vegetables

riced vegetables

Riced vegetables are becoming popular because they offer a healthy alternative to traditional rice and are simple to prepare in many recipes.

One plant-based option is rutabaga rice, which has a similar taste and texture to mashed potatoes.

It’s creamy and slightly sweet flavor adds deliciousness to any Main dish.

Parsnips make great substitutes, too, with a crunchy texture that resembles jasmine rice when cooked properly.

Carrots also work well instead of rice, as it has a core texture that doesn’t break apart when cooked.

All three can be used as healthy grain-free options for diabetics who need to significantly reduce or eliminate their grain intake altogether.

To use these instead of white or brown rice, simply sauté the veggie quickly on its own before incorporating it into your favorite dishes like fried “rice” or side dishes like stir fry.

4 – Bulgar Wheat

bulgar wheat

Bulgar wheat is a type of healthy, high-fiber grain that is rapidly becoming popular among health-conscious eaters.

It is made from collected, dried grains that are then hulled and steamed until they puff up – similar to popcorn.

Bulgar wheat has a mild nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture; it can be boiled, baked, or simmered like rice for about 20 minutes.

Moreover, for people with diabetes, bulgar wheat is an excellent substitute for white rice as it offers more fiber and fewer carbohydrates, making it easier for them to control their blood sugar levels.

5 – Barley


Barley is a versatile and nutritious grain that makes for an excellent substitute for white rice.

It’s nutty flavor pairs well with a wide range of ingredients, and its chewy texture adds body and dimension to dishes.

Plus, for those with diabetes, barley’s low glycemic index can help regulate blood sugar better than other grains like rice.

Cooked like pasta or in a pilaf-style dish, barley’s pleasant chewiness gives meals an extra burst of flavor that can’t be found with plain white rice.

As an added bonus, it also offers substantial amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium – all key minerals needed to sustain health.


In conclusion, diabetics have plenty of alternatives to white or brown rice that are still delicious and nutritious.

Whether you choose cauliflower, quinoa, riced vegetables, bulgar wheat, or barley – all five of these options can help reduce blood sugar levels while providing some interesting new flavors and textures to your favorite dishes.

So don’t let diabetes keep you from enjoying your favorite meals – explore these healthy and delicious substitutes for rice today.

substitutes for rice for diabetics

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Rice for Diabetics

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Riced Vegetables
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Barley


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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