Going Grain-Free: Healthy Substitutions

When you want to change your lifestyle to a healthier one it can be difficult to figure out what to substitute the foods you’ve decided to give up with. When presented with a “no grains” approach, one would think, now what? What about my breakfast sandwich or my morning bagel? What do you use as dressing when avoiding processed foods and transfats?

With this in mind, I’ve decided to formulate some handy substitution ideas! No matter which foods you’re trying to eliminate from your diet, this is an eat-this-not-that type of substitutions list that may help in your transition. Hopefully, this will help give you an idea of how easy it can be to make these substitutions!

The first one is about substituting grains! Some people, myself included, benefit greatly from avoiding grains altogether. While it’s not for everyone, here is a short, quick guide for substituting grains in your diet! I hope it’s useful!


Above: Sauteed potatoes, cabbage, and Mexican squash topped with over easy eggs and bacon.

toast/bagel vegetables (fresh or cooked), coconut/almond flour baked goods Sautee vegetables and serve your eggs or make a salad and add your bagel ingredients on top of that. Or, of course, you can make bread with grain-free flours.
granola/cereal seeds, nuts, and dry fruits Substitute a granola topping with nuts on a parfait. Make a mix with nuts, seeds, and dry fruits, add a bit of honey and spices to taste and bake until crunchy. Then pour your favorite type of milk on it!
oatmeal mashed bananas, shaved coconut (optional) and milk (any type) Mix mashed bananas, coconut, milk. (you can add vanilla extract, other fruits, and nuts to taste for variety), then warm the mixture up in a pot or in the microwave!
rice/pasta, etc… vegetables (fresh or cooked) Vegetables can work just as well and add way more flavor to a dish. Sautee, bake or grill some veggies to eat as a side instead of rice or to toss with your favorite meat sauce, pesto sauce, and any protein you want to add, like in this cauliflower marinara! You can even substitute lasagna pasta with eggplant! (And it’s fantastic!!)
tortillas cabbage/lettuce leaves/endive/cauliflower tortillas The easy and quick way is to use leaves to wrap around your taco fillings. You can also make cauliflower tortillas, or crepe-like tortillas with almond/coconut flour
pizza dough vegetables/almond flour/coconut flour stirfry veggies with pepperoni, salami or other pizza toppings of your choice, add some cheese, and pour pizza sauce on top before serving! You can also make mini pizzas on zucchini and eggplant, simply substitute regular flour with almond and/or coconut flour.
crackers/chips homemade veggie chips, cucumbers, jicama slices, (baked) plantain chips, almond/coconut flour crackers you can use carrots, potatoes, lotus root, beets, etc. slice, bake, done! For a summer cracker, use cucumber or jicama slices, and if you have time and want a more cracker-like feel, you can make almond flour crackers!
cookies/bread coconut flour, almond flour, chia seeds, nuts/seeds Again, you can substitute regular flour for coconut and almond flour to recreate pastries, bread, and cookies. Nuts and seeds are another good replacement, and chia seeds can be used to hold them together for a crunchier (though higher-calorie) snack.
muffins and other sweets fruits (fresh or baked) Bake fruits in a baking dish and add a bit of natural sweetener (optional) and cinnamon for a sweet, warm breakfast. A dollop of Greek yogurt on top adds to the feeling of a creamy decadent dessert! Click here for some ideas!

Above: Endives to be used as tortillas with steak fajitas.

Try these out and let me know what you thought! You can also request recipes and I’ll try my best to get to them soon. And of course, share your own hacks and substitution ideas! I’ll be updating this article periodically so it will contain more and more ideas and links to recipes as I add them.

Happy upgrading!


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