Rice is the primary source of sustenance in India. Research studies have estimated that average rice consumption in India is approximately 72 kilos per person per year, or six kg per month. In comparison, the per capita consumption of wheat, the other staple in our country, is estimated to have reached 48 kg per year, or four kilos per month.
White rice is the preferred form across most of the country. While white, polished rice is easy to consume and healthy in moderate quantities, it is high in refined carbohydrates and lacks essential nutrients. 100 grams of white rice contain anywhere from 28 to 37 grams of carbohydrates and almost no dietary fiber or nutrients, save for a meager 2 grams of protein and miniscule amounts of vitamin B6 and potassium. Sona masuri, a regular on Indian grocery lists every month, averages around 30 grams of carbs per 100 grams of rice.
According to a 2020 study published in the Lancet, rural Indians consumed approximately 432 grams of carbohydrates per day, while urban Indians consumed 347 grams of carbohydrates per day. These numbers are significantly higher than the recommended 282 grams of carbohydrates per day. Eating too many carbs is not ideal for long-term health. Refined carbohydrates (like white rice) raise blood glucose and triglyceride levels and spike the risk of insulin resistance. A 2015 study in the US gathered enough evidence to conclude that they “found the significant association between white rice consumption and several risk factors of CVD including type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome…” Combine this with India’s love of fried and junk foods, and we have a bit of a problem. It’s the lack of other nutrients that makes white rice problematic.
We’ve compiled a list of foods that can be substituted for white rice on specific days. Yes, it’s not easy to replace a decades-long habit or taste, but using these options at regular intervals can help improve health. These grains have a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and other vital nutrients, providing the right kind of sustenance and energy for your body.
This is perhaps the best substitute for white rice. It does take getting used to, in terms of…