Don’t eat meat? Unable to tolerate gluten? There is no universal diet regimen for everyone. It’s simply a matter of determining which way of eating works best for you. Following are our top healthy food swaps for some of today’s most popular lifestyles.
- Almond milk instead of milk. Rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients, almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. Knock back a tall glass of this slightly nutty-flavored substitute, add it to your morning coffee and use it in place of milk in all your favorite recipes!
- Seitan instead of chicken. When bird most definitely isn’t the word, consider cooking up some protein-packed seitan instead. This nutritious wheat gluten is remarkably versatile—prepare it the same ways you’d cook chicken (or beef or pork…)!
- Agave syrup instead of honey. As we all know, honey comes from bees, which is a no-go when you're following a vegan diet. But sweet agave syrup is purely plant based. Substitute equal parts agave for honey in recipes and be sure to reduce your baking temp by 25 degrees Fahrenheit (because agave browns more rapidly than honey). Agave syrup is also much sweeter than honey, so replace half the recommended amount of honey when sweetening cold foods and add more to taste.
Paleo diet swaps
- Avocado instead of mayonnaise. Mayo is noted for its creaminess, but so is perfectly paleo avocado. Mash up the good-for-you green fruit (contrary to popular belief, avocado is not a vegetable!), and use it in place of mayonnaise in recipes ranging from salad dressing to chicken salad.
- Coconut flour instead of white flour. White flour simply isn’t part of the paleo landscape. Coconut flour, on the other hand, is perfectly permissible. Use the tropical flour in place of white flour in recipes that call for lots of wet ingredients and keep in mind, ¼ of the amount will generally do the trick!
- Zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) are at the height of popularity, so don’t be surprised if you see them on a restaurant menu near you! In addition to being paleo (unlike regular pasta), zoodles are low in calories, full of fiber and strong enough to withstand your favorite sauces.
- Lettuce instead of buns or tortillas. Being gluten-free (gf) doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite dishes. With simple tweaks, like replacing buns and tortillas with lettuce, you can continue to enjoy hamburgers, tacos and more. An added bonus for those watching their waistlines: lettuce is much lower in calories!
- Mashed potatoes instead of pizza crust. Leftover mashed potatoes make a wonderful stand-in for traditional pizza crust. Mix one serving of leftover mash with approximately ¼ cup of your favorite gf flour. Then spoon and smooth the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and pop it into a heated oven until crisp. Add your sauce and toppings, and return your mashed potato pizza to the oven until its warm.
- Almond flour instead of wheat flour. Your go-to recipes don’t have to suffer just because you decided to ditch wheat flour. Use all-natural almond flour in place of wheat flour to make all manner of baked goods, including cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pancakes and more! Start off by substituting equal parts almond flour for wheat flour and add more if necessary.
- Organic corn instead of regular corn. Corn is among a select group of veggies considered “high risk” for genetically modified organisms, unless, of course, it’s organic. So when you’re shopping for your next big barbeque, be sure to stock up on the all-natural variety!
- Organic beef instead of regular beef. Many cows eat feed that contains GMOs. To steer clear (pun intended!) of beef from these cows, look for organic varieties of your favorite cuts. Whenever you see the “USDA Organic” product label, you can rest assured that you are purchasing a non-GMO product.
- Organic chips for regular chips. Many popular potato and tortilla chips contain GMOs. Trade them in for non-GMO, organic chips instead!