Are Rice Cakes a Healthy Snack? Here's What a Dietitian Says
When you are thinking of simple, healthy snacks, rice cakes may be one of the foods that come to mind. They are shelf-stable, crunchy and versatile, making them a great go-to food in a pinch. But are they actually healthy? Here is a dietitian's perspective on the nutrition status of rice cakes, plus nutritious topping ideas to elevate them.
Pictured Recipe: Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter
Rice Cake Nutrition
Rice cakes are low in calories and sodium, with a modest amount of a few nutrients. They have 14 grams of carbs per two cakes, making them low-carb by EatingWell standards. Here is the nutrition information for two standard-sized brown rice cakes, per the USDA:
- 70 calories
- 1.5g protein
- 0.6g fat
- 14.4g carbohydrates
- 0.5g fiber
- 45mg sodium
- 53mg potassium (1% of RDA)
- 25mg magnesium (6% of RDA)
- 67mg phosphorus (5% of RDA)
Are Rice Cakes Healthy?
In short, yes, rice cakes are a healthy snack. They are simple and allergen-friendly, so you can enjoy them whether you are gluten-free, nut-free or soy-free. They contain no animal products, making them perfect for vegans and vegetarians too.
From a nutrition perspective, rice cakes are low in calories and nutrients so they are best when paired with other foods to help round out your snack. While brown rice cakes are technically whole grain, they don't offer much by way of fiber. Choose whichever type of rice you prefer or mix it up with a variety pack. Rice cakes can also be stored on the shelf and are an affordable option from many grocers, so they are perfect if you are on a budget.
Healthy Rice Cake Snacks
To make the most of your rice cakes, add toppings packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats. Here are some simple topping ideas for snack inspiration.
- Peanut Butter & Sliced Banana
- Peanut Butter & Honey or Jelly
- Guacamole or Sliced Avocados with a Pinch of Salt
- Slice of Cheese and/or Slice of Turkey
- Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon
- Hummus & Cucumbers
- Pizza Sauce, Cheese & Pizza Toppings
- Brie Cheese & Apple Slices
- Cream Cheese & Strawberries
- Refried Beans & Salsa
- Tuna Salad
Though they are simple, rice cakes are a healthy snack that is great in a pinch. They can be made with a variety of toppings to help boost their nutritional value, too. For someone on a budget, rice cakes are a great option, as they are shelf-stable and ready in a matter of minutes—perfect for beating that midday hunger.