Top Five Paleo Substitutions
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Eating a paleo diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite foods. Feeling restricted is never fun … have no fear, there are plenty of great substitutions so you can still enjoy your favorite recipes!
Vegetable and canola oils are out! Good-for-you traditional fats are in! It’s really easy to substitute fats with paleo cooking. Make sure to use quality, sustainably sourced fats so you get all of the health benefits.
- Animal Fats – sustainably sourced and organic preferably
- Avocado Oil – great for higher-temp cooking, baking, salads, mayonnaise
- Coconut Oil – when heated, mixes well into soups, warm drinks, smoothies
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – great for salads, best when not heated
- Ghee / Clarified Butter – lactose free, great for higher-temp cooking
- Grass-fed Butter – great for cooking and baking
- Palm Oil – sustainably sourced, great for higher-temp cooking
- Palm Oil Shortening – sustainably sourced, great for baking and frostings
Baked goods are usually one thing that people wonder about when it comes to the paleo lifestyle. While paleo baking does take a little bit of experimenting to find out what you like best, it’s absolutely doable! Everything from muffins, to cakes and tortillas can easily be converted using some grain-free substitutions.
- Blanched Almond Flour – can usually be substituted 1:1 for refined white flour
- Cassava Flour – can usually be substituted 1:1 for refined white flour, however, it often needs a bit less flour or needs more liquid (like coconut milk) or more moisture (like pureed fruit or vegetables—applesauce, bananas, dates, pumpkin, squash)
- Coconut Flour – this flour absorbs a lot of liquid and usually requires a lot less flour and often more eggs
- Tapioca Flour or Starch – can be used in combination with other grain-free flours
- Baking Soda – use instead of baking powder
- Apple Cider Vinegar – a liquid leavening substitution
- Chia Seeds or Freshly Ground Chia Seed Meal – can be used in baking as an egg-free substitute
Smoothies, soups, curries, casseroles, homemade ice cream and so much more would not be the same without a creamy addition. You can still enjoy all of your favorites without dairy! Coconut milk and cream is usually best used in recipes that need a higher fat content and a creamier texture. Nut and seed milks are usually best used in recipes that need liquid like smoothies or hot chocolate.
- Almond Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Coconut Cream – great in curries and homemade ice cream
- Coconut Milk – great for creamier recipes that need the fat content
- Hemp Milk
- Macadamia Milk
Skip the agave and refined white and brown sugar and reach for the natural sweeteners!
- Coconut Sugar – great lower-glycemic granulated sugar, darker in flavor
- Date Sugar – great granulated sugar, mild in flavor
- Maple Sugar – great granulated sugar, mild in flavor
- Maple Syrup – great liquid sweetener with more moisture content, quality is important
- Medjool Dates – pitted and soaked, a great addition for natural sweetening, add to smoothies, ice cream or baked goods
- Raw Honey or Quality Honey – great sweetener with more moisture content
Skip the Rice
Grains are out when you’re eating Paleo, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a side of “rice!” Vegetables like cauliflower are most commonly used for a great substitution, but broccoli and carrots can be used too.
- Frozen Riced Broccoli
- Frozen Riced Cauliflower
- Riced Broccoli
- Riced Carrots
- Riced Cauliflower
The only question left now is which Paleo substitution will you try first?
Emily Sunwell-Vidarri is the blogger behind RecipesToNourish.com