Is Rice Paper Healthy?


Implied in its name, rice paper is an edible, thin sheet of rice that’s made to look like paper. A staple ingredient in many Asian cuisines, rice paper is mainly used to wrap food such as fresh vegetables, seafood, and meat. If you’ve ever had fresh spring rolls that had a nearly translucent wrapper, then you’ve just witnessed the use of rice paper in action!

While rice paper rolls are the most popular way to consume rice paper, there are also others that use it for dumplings, as a base for other recipes, or eat them on their own. Since rice paper is widely used in a lot of cuisines, you may be wondering, are rice paper rolls healthy? If you want to know the answer, keep on reading this article!

Is Rice Paper Good for You?

As mentioned, rice paper is a thin and translucent paper-like sheet that is usually made from rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water. The rice flour is mixed with tapioca flour, then mixed with salt and water, and then processed into a thin rice cake that is dried. Once it dries, it takes on its translucent and thin paper-like look. 

Do the minimal ingredients and simple production process of rice paper wraps make them ideal for consumption? Since rice paper is only made from rice starch, it does not have any added calories or fat, making it great for those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Rice papers also make for good healthy snacks as they are low fat and high in carbohydrates. Furthermore, rice paper wrappers are naturally gluten-free, allowing individuals with gluten intolerance to enjoy them. 

Rice paper also comes with a couple of health benefits. Since it is high in carbohydrates, it can help fuel the body. Its low glycemic index makes it a healthy option to provide energy without increasing blood glucose levels.

Are Rice Papers Good for Weight Loss?

If you’re trying to lose weight, rice paper can be a helpful addition to your weight loss plan as it is low in calories. Rice paper is a healthy alternative to bread, chips, and other processed foods that can contain a lot of unhealthy fats and sugars that contribute to weight gain. If you’re watching out for our sugar intake, a rice paper wrapper is the way to go.

Rice paper wraps are typically stuffed with fresh herbs, vegetables, rice noodles, and meat. Consuming a rice paper roll can help increase satiety, reduce unhealthy snacking, and curb cravings. It’s much better compared to deep-fried foods or high-calorie bread. Eating less food high in sugar, fats, and packed with additives can reduce your calorie consumption and prevent weight gain.

Rice paper wraps can also be a great source of protein when combined with plant-based proteins such as tofu and beans. Rice paper wrapper is also a significant source of dietary fiber. A healthy diet high in fiber can help you lose weight as it makes you feel fuller with fewer calories consumed. 

To get the most out of rice paper in your diet, make sure to combine it with other healthy ingredients, eat whole foods such as brown rice, and reduce your intake of processed sugars.

Is Rice Paper High in Calories?

A sheet of rice paper typically contains around 30 to 35 calories. It has fewer calories than other types of wrappers such as wheat-based tortillas or egg roll wrappers.

Are Rice Paper Rolls Healthier Than Sushi?

White rice paper rolls and sushi rolls are both healthy in their own ways. Rice paper spring rolls and sushi rolls are both made from rice, making them ideal for those on a gluten-free diet. Rice paper rolls have a low glycemic index (GI), helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Sushi rolls can have a high glycemic index but the healthy fats in the filling as well as its dipping sauce can reduce the GI levels.

The amount of calories in rice paper rolls depends on the stuffing, averaging anywhere from 110 calories to 250 calories. Most rice paper spring rolls are often filled with healthy ingredients such as vegetables and proteins. Instead of choosing higher-fat ones to fill rice paper rolls, choose healthier low-calorie options such as rice noodles, prawns, shrimp, cottage cheese, tofu, egg omelet, or legumes if you want to reduce or maintain your calorie intake. 

Do note that too much filling in your rice paper rolls will also increase the calories it contains. Just make sure to keep the filling of your rice paper wrappers healthy and not put in too many rice noodles or meat inside to keep the calorie count at a low level. 

On the other hand, sushi can contain a lot more calories but it depends on the filling as well. Sushi rolls can contain anywhere from 150 to 300 calories. Many sushi restaurants use white rice as their sushi rice, but it can be made with brown rice as well, making it a good source of energy.

Dishes You Can Make With Rice Paper

You can easily buy rice paper from any Asian grocery or online grocery store if you don’t have any physical stores near you. Once you’ve got your rice paper on hand, you can make just about anything with it. 

One of the ways to use rice paper is to make spring rolls. Simply toss your ingredients of choice together in a bowl, then prepare a bowl with warm water to dip the rice paper wrap in for 5 minutes. Remove gently and lay it flat on a surface, add 2 tablespoons of your filling of choice, then fold in the sides of the rice paper and roll slowly to enclose everything. 

To prepare a simple dipping sauce for your rolls, stir in sugar, lime juice, cilantro, and fish sauce in a bowl. Dissolve all the sugar and serve next to your rolls. Some other sauces that you can dip your rolls in are sesame oil and peanut sauce.

If you’re not too concerned about the fats, another cooking method that elevates rice paper is deep frying it. Slice the rice paper into strips and then fry them quickly in oil. You’ll get delicious deep-fried, thinly sliced rice paper chips. 

If you have leftover rice paper, be sure to store them in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

Can I Eat Rice Paper Raw?

Rice paper is a healthy food option that you can eat raw. It’s best to dip it in warm water first to easily use it as a wrapper for any fresh spring roll or dumpling.

Final Note

Are rice paper rolls healthy? Yes, they are! Rice paper is a great addition to any healthy diet as it has a high nutritional value. Made from white rice flour, rice paper is gluten-free and does not have any added fat or calories. It can help reduce cholesterol and because it has a low glycemic index, you won’t have to worry about your blood sugar levels spiking. 

Rice paper is used in many delicious recipes, most notably in Asian cuisine. Arguably, the most popular dish that uses rice paper is rice paper spring rolls. These can contain a variety of ingredients from vegetables and herbs to seafood or meat.