TikTok Wants You To Put 'Clothing' On Your Rice Cake. What Does That Mean?

How do you like your rice cakes? Have you ever topped them with avocado, Nutella, yogurt, or peanut butter and jelly? As it turns out, this crunchy treat tastes amazing with peanut butter and chocolate, and people are going crazy over it. The recipe went viral on TikTok thanks to Monique Volz, the founder of Ambitious Kitchen. All you need are four basic ingredients and five minutes of your time.

Rice cakes are not particularly nutritious but can fit into a healthy diet. The ones made with brown rice or seeds are usually higher in fiber, a non-digestible substance that slows sugar absorption into the bloodstream and keeps you full longer. One serving, or two brown rice cakes, has 70 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, and 15 grams of carbs, including 0.8 grams of fiber. You'll also get 29% of the recommended daily manganese intake, 8% of the recommended daily amount of selenium, plus small amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.

This crispy treat is low in calories and sodium, and most varieties are gluten-free. But it also has a glycemic index (GI) of 87, which is higher than that of white bread, couscous, cornflakes, and other foods rich in carbs. Therefore, it can quickly spike blood sugar levels, increasing your risk of diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease. With that in mind, should you still add chocolate, peanut butter, or other extras to the mix? Let's see what the research says. 

Peanut butter rice cakes are taking social media by storm

One of the latest TikTok trends revolves around two beloved treats: rice cakes and peanut butter. The so-called "Reese's rice cakes" are perfect for when you want a quick, filling snack with few calories. First, top the rice cakes with peanut butter and then dip them in melted chocolate. Put them on a plate, add a pinch of sea salt, and freeze the whole thing. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Some food bloggers added their own twist to the recipe, with countless versions popping up all over the place. For example, cookbook author Kelly Kwok prefers to use cashew butter, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, pea protein, maple syrup, and chopped cashews. Alternatively, you can top the rice cakes with dark chocolate, almond butter, fresh berries, honey, or coconut chips. There are endless ways to upgrade a rice cake, depending on what you're craving.

As you might have guessed, some recipes are healthier than others. It's one thing to eat your rice cakes with dark chocolate and peanut butter, and another thing to add all sorts of extras, such as honey or maple syrup. For instance, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup have 26 grams of carbs, including 24 grams of sugar. Rice cakes are mostly carbs; and, from a nutritional standpoint, it doesn't make sense to serve them with other carb-laden foods. 

This crunchy treat might actually be good for you

Surprisingly, eating rice cakes with peanut butter — or any nut butter, for that matter — can make this treat healthier. Peanut butter is rich in protein and fat, two nutrients that slow carbohydrate absorption into your system, preventing blood sugar spikes. Additionally, protein increases satiety and boosts your metabolism while preserving lean mass, notes a 2008 review featured in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Similarly, dietary fat suppresses appetite and makes it easier to reduce your food intake. Plus, you'll reap the benefits even if you dip the rice cakes in chocolate.

Go one step further and choose one of the healthiest peanut butter brands, like Adams, Brad's Naturals, or MaraNatha. These contain 100% peanuts and have no sugar or other fillers. Ideally, use dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, as it's higher in antioxidants and healthy fats than other chocolate varieties. The higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content.

Last but not least, try different toppings for extra flavor and nutrition. Pureed bananas, sliced avocados, hummus, cottage cheese, blueberries, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt all go well with rice cakes. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon to give your taste buds a kick.