I’m always shocked, and a little disheartened when I hear someone with diabetes say the words “I could never eat that.”
What I’ve learned from my experience with diabetes is that you most certainly can – you likely just need to pay closer attention to serving sizes.
When I thought I couldn’t eat certain foods. I realized that I was actually just overeating and not paying attention to portions.
Of course, starchy foods would spike me. It just became a matter of how much.
Once I figured out that I could experiment with my portions to find balance, it completely changed the way I approached my eating.
I also had a better, less blaming relationship with myself.
Although it took some getting used to, measuring my food became second nature, and now I know many foods and their serving sizes by heart.
Can you eat rice if you have diabetes?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, and it’s best to measure your servings to understand how they might affect your own blood sugar.
White rice has another huge benefit – it’s affordable in comparison to other grain options.
You can score a pound of rice for under $2, and sometimes the affordable price overtakes whatever health benefits it may be lacking.
What rice is good for diabetics?
Brown Rice is a good alternative.
I cook mine with low sodium chicken broth for extra flavor and the chewier texture of brown rice is nice.
For a half cup of brown rice, you’re looking at 180 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber.
What are some options to swap for rice?
Shirataki rice is made from a native Asian vegetable called Konjac. It’s a fibrous root that is gluten-free, low carb and low calorie. They are about 97% water, and can be filling. You might often see them labeled as “miracle rice” or “miracle noodles.”
This option has 0 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, and one 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Couscous is a crushed wheat semolina that is formed into spheres. You see it a lot in North African, Israeli and Lebanese cuisine.
It has a nice nutty flavor when cooked, and complements many proteins, or herbs.
A 45g serving of couscous is around 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber.
You still should watch portion sizes when eating orzo, but it is a tasty and versatile option if you’re looking to skip rice.
A half-cup of orzo (56g) comes in at 210 calories, 7 grams of protein, 1 gram of gat, 41 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber.
Lentils are a legume, and a cousin to chickpeas, beans, and peanuts.
They’re low calorie per serving and higher in fiber and protein than a lot of the options on this list.
They come in different varieties and colors – you can find red and yellow lentils most commonly.
A quarter cup of lentils, or 32 grams, comes in at 7 calories, 8 grams of protein, o grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fiber.
This chewy and nutty ancient grain is a great source of magnesium, zinc and b vitamins. It’s also a great source of protein and fiber.
Although it’s high in carbohydrates, it’s worth adjusting your portion. A typical serving of farro is 240 grams – which is quite a lot of grain.
That weight will get you 259 calories, 9 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 53 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fiber.
Is like a lot of other grains you’ve probably heard of – like quinoa.
It’s another ancient grain that contains magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and manganese.
It can typically be found in your grocery store, and is great with the regular classics like roasted chicken or pork.
¼ cup of Freekeh is 141 calories, 5 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of fiber in addition to all of its other nutrients.
It’s also impressive with 170 calories, 11g of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 30 grams of carbs.
It doesn’t seem to be widely available in stores yet, but it is available online.
What low carb rice options do people with diabetes have?
A typical serving is 85g which is 20 calories, 2 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber.
Brocolli is also a good source of calcium and potassium.
Riced cauliflower is just grated cauliflower that has been given a rice-like shape.
One great benefit to riced cauliflower is that it has a neutral flavor, so you can eat it with many different foods and it works as a complement to dishes, much like rice does.
1 cup or 85 grams of cauliflower is 24.6 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fiber.
I’ve used riced cauliflower to make a great, low carb take on Shrimp Fried Rice.
Double your veggies
Sometimes if I can’t find the option I’ve been looking for, I double my veggies.
I’ll take whatever veggie option I have as my side, and I have twice as much to fill in for the rice.
This usually still ends up being a low carb option to help me stay in line with my goals.
Fitting rice into a diabetic diet
While white rice is affordable, and a widely available option, there are some healthier choices you can make for your sides.
When you get creative, measure your portions, and know the options, it can change the way you eat!