Rice, quinoa, or noodles: The best and worst carbs for your meal

Science and Health

As we seek flavorful accompaniments to our meals, carbs such as rice, pasta, quinoa, and couscous often come to mind.

In order to make informed choices, it is important to understand their nutritional values and potential drawbacks.

Dr. Maya Roseman sheds light on which additions are the healthiest and which ones should be avoided.

Carbohydrates with the highest nutritional value:

  1. Quinoa: Rich in iron, protein, and high-quality carbohydrates, quinoa is a highly nutritious choice.
  2. Buckwheat: With its low glycemic index and abundance of dietary fibers, buckwheat contributes to satiety and offers protection against diseases and cancer.
  3. Lentil flour pasta (gluten-free): While it falls under the category of pasta, lentil flour pasta provides significant plant-based protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, and boasts a low glycemic index.
Pasta (Illustrative) (credit: PIXABAY)

Identifying less healthy carbohydrate options

  1. Noodles: Roseman questioned the necessity of consuming noodles as they are typically made from refined white flour, offering little to no nutritional value and potentially contributing to health issues.
  2. White rice: Although widely consumed, white rice lacks significant nutritional benefits, essentially providing empty calories.

Drawing attention to couscous:

While couscous is a popular choice, it is important to be mindful of the type chosen. Roseman advised opting for whole grain couscous, as it offers superior nutritional value compared to its refined counterpart.

Additionally, choosing pasta cooked al dente is beneficial due to its lower glycemic index, providing prolonged satiety.

When selecting carbohydrate additions for your meals, it is crucial to prioritize whole grain options such as quinoa, buckwheat, and whole grain couscous. Additionally, considering lentil flour pasta and pasta cooked al dente can contribute to a healthier and more satisfying dining experience.


However, it is recommended to limit or avoid noodles and white rice due to their limited nutritional benefits. By making informed choices, we can ensure our meals are both delicious and nourishing.