Rice, quinoa, and couscous are arguably some of the most popular grains people incorporate into their meals (disclaimer: if this were about breakfast we’d be talking more about oatmeal). These options all work well as a side dish or a base for a tasty stir fry. But which one is best?! Well if you’ve read any of my blogs previously, you’ll know the honest answer is, it depends!
That answer may be frustrating as it doesn’t give you a clear cut answer but maybe I can lead you towards a more specific answer by looking at a few factors. I will note that these are generalities and things can vary based on the specific brand as well as your serving size. Since there are many types of rice out there, we will be focusing specifically on brown rice.
First off, if we’re looking at the macros for these three options, quinoa is generally highest in carbs and protein while couscous is often highest in fat. But let's look a little deeper into the fine print of how these macros stand up. When it comes to fat, none of these foods are super high in fat but comparatively speaking, quinoa and rice are considerably higher in fat than couscous. Protein is best found in quinoa and may be the best option for vegans/vegetarians. When it comes to carbs there is some debate mainly because although couscous has fewer carbs, they are not complex carbs. It’s almost equivalent to eating regular pasta. Quinoa has slightly higher carbs than couscous while providing better nutritional value for carbs.
Other health aspects to factor in include fibre and glycemic index. Fibre is important as it helps contribute to the prevention of a number of health conditions. Quinoa has noticeably more fibre than rice or couscous. This may be due to quinoa actually being considered a seed and providing more fibre for you! As for the glycemic index, rice and quinoa are close and on the lower end of the glycemic index. These may be better options for people with diabetes or just looking to improve insulin sensitivity.
Bonus, if you’re gluten-intolerant, quinoa is for you as it is gluten free!
So what do you think? Which factor affects your diet/life the most? What’s right for one may not be right for others. Personally, I like quinoa but feel free to contact us with your preference and why you chose it!