Rice cakes are a popular snack food for people watching their calories, but are rice cakes healthy? Find out.
Rice cakes are a popular snack food among dieters intent on watching their calorie intake. These crunchy snack treats are often used as a low calorie substitute for potato chips, crackers, and other unhealthy treats that are “off limits” to those who are counting calories. Although they’re often considered a diet food, are they really as good snack option? Are rice cakes healthy?
What’s Good About Them?
The average rice cake is low in calories – averaging about thirty-five calories per cake; and they’re also very low in fat. The primary advantage of eating a rice cake is that it’s filling – making it less likely you’ll reach for something higher in calories and fat such as potato chips or cookies. Rice cakes provide a satisfying “crunch” that some people look for in a snack food – without all the calories.
What’s Bad About Them?
The down side of eating rice crackers is they don’t offer much in the way of nutritional value. Even brown rice cakes are pretty devoid of substance. They have very little in the way of vitamins, and the only mineral of any significance in brown rice crackers is manganese. They’re even devoid of fiber – despite the fact that they’re made with brown rice. They’re also relatively high in carbs and have a high glycemic index which won’t work well for diabetics or anyone who’s watching their carbohydrate intake. Rice cakes may be fun to crunch on, but they’re not supplying significant nutritional value and they certainly aren’t a good option for a low carb eating plan.
The Bottom Line
Rice cakes certainly aren’t impressive in the nutrition department, but they’re not a bad snack option if used as a substitute for chips and cookies. One way to make them more nutritious and filling is to top them with a thin layer of peanut butter to add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon to boost insulin sensitivity and further stimulate weight loss. You can also spread rice crackers with almond butter, tahini, or hummus to make them tastier and more nutritious. All-in-all, you’re better off eating a piece of fresh fruit or a cup of sugar-free yogurt in lieu of these overly processed treats, but if you like the taste and they keep you from eating junk food, they serve a useful function.