Rice is a carbohydrate-rich food and it is a staple in many cultural cuisines. Rice can be included as part of a healthy eating pattern for those living with diabetes. Many types of rice are available as well as other interesting alternative whole grains.

Following a healthy eating pattern is an important part of living well with diabetes. You have to watch what you eat every day to ensure that your blood sugar doesn’t rise to an unhealthy level.

Eating intact whole grains is best. The more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to raise blood glucose levels. Also, eating vegetables first, then meat and rice last can contribute in lower post-meal glucose levels. Keep in mind that everyone with diabetes can respond differently to the same food.

Monitoring the amount of carbohydrate that you eat daily may help keep blood glucose in your target range. Everyone’s blood glucose level responds to carbohydrate-rich foods differently. It can be helpful to check blood glucose levels after a meal to learn how foods you consume affect your levels.

Keeping blood glucose levels in your target range can help keep you healthy and prevent complications associated with diabetes.

Read on to learn how you can fit rice into your diabetes diet.

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Studies evaluating the effect of eating white rice on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes have mixed results. Generally, research supports the idea of eating rice in moderation and choosing higher fiber whole grains when possible.

If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, you can work with a registered dietitian and your health care team to determine the total daily amount of carbohydrate and the limit for each meal that is best for keeping your blood glucose in the target range.

If you prefer not to have to count and calculate carbohydrates, you can use the “Create Your Plate” tool from the American Diabetes Association.

The CDC also has a user friendly link to diabetes meal planning.

Start with a 9-inch dinner plate and fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Add a protein source to one quarter of the plate and then use the remaining quarter of the plate for starches or grains. Depending on your calorie needs, you may also include a serving of fruit or dairy on the side.

Check out: 10 Diabetes diet myths.

  • basmati rice
  • brown rice
  • wild rice

The type of rice is important when selecting what to eat. It’s better to eat rice that packs a nutritional punch. Brown rice, wild rice, and long-grain white rice include more fiber, nutrients, and vitamins than short-grain white rice. You should also check the carb count of your choice.

Short-grain white rice contains less fiber and nutrition when compared to basmati, brown and wild rice.

One good idea to try is to cook rice, cool it and reheat it. This creates a resistant starch, which means that fewer of the carbs are broken down and absorbed if you use this strategy.

You can round out your meal by adding protein and non-starchy vegetables alongside rice. Depending on your target amount of carbohydrate for each meal, you may be able to enjoy one or two servings of rice per meal. One serving is 1/3 cup of cooked rice which contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Rather than relying on rice as a staple at mealtime, experiment with other types of grains. They can help you manage your diabetes and stick to your healthy diet. Most have extra nutritional content, too. These may satisfy you longer than more processed starches can.

These grains have more healthy fiber and nutritional value:

  • rolled and steel-cut oats
  • barley
  • bulgur
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • buckwheat

People living with diabetes and those with prediabetes can include rice as part of a healthy balanced eating pattern.

Choosing more intact higher-fiber types of rice and watching portion sizes may help keep blood glucose in the target range.

Check out these “Create Your Plate” tools from the American Diabetes Association and the CDC for a variety of diabetes meal planning ideas.

Learn more about the best foods for diabetes.