New Jersey Bariatric Center
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Healthy or Not? Rice Alternatives

Rice is a very popular side dish with meat, fish, and vegetables.  However, traditional rice is high in calories and carbohydrates which can derail your weight loss.  Fortunately, there are rice alternatives on the market that are low in calories and carbs that won’t cause a setback in your weight loss journey.  I was able to find most of them at my local food store, specialty grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and online. Below, I’ve provided a breakdown of the nutritional benefits of the different types of rice alternatives in comparison to white rice.

Cauliflower, shirataki, banza, Right Rice and quinoa are healthier options to traditional white rice. My personal favorite is cauliflower rice because I prefer the taste. Overall, my recommendations for a bariatric-friendly diet would be cauliflower rice, shirataki rice or Right Rice. 

Cauliflower Rice

One of the first alternatives I’m sure you’ve heard of by now is cauliflower rice.  It’s cauliflower that is broken down into small pieces similar to rice.  For ½ cup, it’s 14 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. If you don’t want to dice down the cauliflower yourself, there’s a ton of options out there for cauliflower rice that’s flavored and super easy to heat up in the microwave for a quick and easy side dish. 

Shirataki Rice

Another rice alternative is miracle rice or shirataki rice which is made from the konjac plant which is a root vegetable in the taro and yam category.  It’s 97% water and 3% fiber.  It’s similar to shirataki noodles but shaped into rice instead.  Per half cup, it’s only 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of protein.  It’s flavorless, but you can add any seasonings and sauce to spice it up.  

Chickpea Rice

Although the Banza chickpea rice is a good source of protein and fiber, it still has 170 calories and 30g of carbs per serving. It’s made out of 100% chickpeas, just as the Banza chickpea pasta. The taste and texture can be compared to orzo pasta.

Right Rice

Right rice is made out of lentils, chickpeas, peas, rice, sunflower oil, and salt. For ½ cup of cooked rice, you’ll get 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of protein. You can choose from the  unflavored or try different flavors. 

RELATED: Healthy or Not? Right Rice


Quinoa is a whole grain carbohydrate and complete protein, which contains all of the 9 essential amino acids. For ½ cup it’s 122 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of fiber. There’s white, red, yellow, and black quinoa and they all cook and taste a bit differently. Quinoa has considerably less carbs than regular rice but is still not considered a “low-carb” option.

For more questions about rice and other healthy alternatives, call us at 908-481-1270.

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