- Rice is a staple in many Nigerian homes. It's delicious, filling and a great accompaniment to stews, sauces and soups.
- But it doesn't always comply with people’s dietary needs, especially if you are trying to lose some weight.
- Below are some healthier alternatives that should help you achieve your weight loss goals a lot faster.
White rice is amazing. It's so delicious that you can find yourself eating a whole pot of rice in no time with no consideration for your waistline.
This is not ideal especially when you consider the fact that weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. That's why it's important to replace white rice with healthier options that align with your weight loss goals.
Here are five healthy alternatives to rice you can find in Nigeria:
- Brown Rice
All carbohydrates are not created equal. There are two kinds of carbs — simple/refined vs complex/whole. Most white foods including white rice fall under simple or refined, these are often considered ‘bad’ because they stripped off of essential nutrients.
Studies have shown that these kinds of carbs tend to result in major spikes in blood sugar levels, which can trigger hunger and cravings. They are also associated with health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Brown rice, on the other hand, falls under the complex/whole carbs category because it still has the bran and germ layers intact. This means you get double the nutrients including natural fibre that which takes longer to digest and does not raise sugar levels in the blood as quickly as simple carbohydrates. You can use brown rice to cook all your favourite things like fried or jollof rice.
- Basmati rice
This is another great healthy alternative to rice. This is super grain is gluten-free, low in fat, has no cholesterol, and has all eight essential amino acids, folic acid. The special irresistible aroma that comes with it makes it even better.
Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that is partially cooked. This means it is extremely filled with the nutrients your body needs. 1 cup of cooked bulgur offers a great amount of fibre, magnesium, protein, iron and other essential dietary nutrients. Like rice, it can be eaten with stews, sauce, or even as Jollof.
Another great thing about this option is the fact that you don't need to wash it which means it takes less time to prepare. It takes about 15–20 minutes to cook this wonderful meal. This is probably the cheapest alternative with a small size going for as low as N900.
Quinoa is also great as long as you rinse it properly before you cook it. Fail to do this and it could turn out bitter.
Couscous may not be as healthy as the rest of the options above but it is still healthier than white rice. This alternative dish originates from North Africa. It is small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina. You can eat it plain with stew or use it to make Jollof. You can also make fried couscous.
All these alternatives are widely available in markets and supermarkets across the country. They range from N1500 - N4000 depending on the size and brand.