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!

Healthy Fats

Paleo Healthy Fats - Avocado OilVegetable 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

Paleo Baking

Paleo - Baking FlourBaked 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

Non-Dairy Milks

Paleo - Non Dairy MiksSmoothies, 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

Natural Sweeteners

Paleo - Natural SweetenersSkip 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

Paleo - Riced BroccoliGrains 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