These days, a lot of people are becoming more conscious about what they eat. They’ve gone from eating junk food to choosing healthy alternatives that best fit their lifestyle and dietary needs.
Keep up with trends like the high fat, no-carb ketogenic diet, or cater to vegetarians and vegans, and even those with food allergies by switching up your usual plain rice for these healthy food alternatives.
Here are some healthy choices that you can start with:
This gluten-free superfood is rich in protein, making it perfect for diners with Celiac disease, or even those on a ketogenic diet. Your health-conscious diners will also love the added boost of nutrients and antioxidants that it comes with!
Quinoa is a must-have in the kitchen because diners will look for its nutty and somewhat sweet taste in their food. Once you master how to cook quinoa, you can explore other ways to innovate this superfood. Try mixing quinoa with diced vegetables to make a summer salad or prepare it as a porridge with nuts and fruits as a sweet breakfast to start the day.
Lentils are an affordable and fibre-rich alternative to rice that vegetarians and vegans alike will look for, making it a great ingredient to stock up on!
They’re great for bulking up any meal. Best of all, they can be cooked quickly (5 to 20 minutes tops) and can be prepared in big batches. Add them in soups, pasta sauces or even as an accompaniment to roast meats for that robust flavour. They can even be used as no-meat alternatives for the ground beef in Bolognese pasta, in Mexican chili and even curry!
Couscous packs a lot of cholesterol-fighting properties, making it a great choice for health-conscious people. It’s also fibre-rich, making it a good aid for digestion.
Couscous can be used to add bulk in vegetarian patties, or in Mediterranean-style bowls that come with your choice of spiced meat, Goat’s cheese and vegetables. Couscous has a chewy and firm texture, making it perfect for stews or even as a stuffing in hors d'oeuvres.
Barley helps lower blood pressure, reduces heart disease and diabetes, and can even improve digestive health, which you can recommend to elderly and more mature diners. It’s also bulky, so your weight-conscious customers can get full quicker on this low-calorie alternative.
Barley has a chewy, almost pasta-like consistency. It can be used to create a healthy risotto dish topped with a confit or even fried chicken in a sweet and spicy Yangnyeom sauce or can even be cooked in a clear broth for a healthier take on the classic Minestrone soup filled with tomatoes and diced vegetables.
Cauliflower is not just a side dish to steaks—you can even shred it to create a healthy rice alternative. This versatile vegetable is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies too! Try creating cauliflower rice bowls topped with fresh salmon and tuna sashimi as a creative twist to the Hawaiian poke. An Asian-style fried rice with extra bites of meat and seafood, which you can garnish with spring onions, will also be an interesting twist on a classic dish.
For a Mediterranean feel, try adding toasted almonds, lemon and parsley. Since cauliflower does not have a strong flavour of its own, it complements the taste of the ingredients you choose to mix it with.
Cornmeal can come in a variety of sizes—from fine powders used to create polenta and corn muffins, or coarsely cut corn grits that you can cook like rice. Cornmeal adds a pop of colour to your dishes, along with the characteristic sweet taste that corn is known for. This starchy alternative is hearty and can be used as an alternative to mashed potatoes. Pair creamy polenta with steaks or top with vegetables as a twist to the Mediterranean hummus bowls.
Try making rice bowls with corn grits as your rice alternative or use it in salads with Mexican ingredients and spices to create a taco bowl of your own.
Aside from rice, you can use healthy food that come packed with a ton of nutrients. Use these alternatives for your new and improved menu, and let your creativity run wild!