Last year, I radically changed my diet in hopes to control my asthma. I’ve struggled with asthma, allergies, and eczema since I was a kid. Over the years, I’ve done a lot to manage it all. But, I finally found something that made the biggest difference.
Last October, I cut out grains, dairy, and sugar. It was a hard transition to make and I didn’t know what to eat for many months. Even now, I sometimes struggle figuring out what to make.
I’ve found that many recipes that you generally make can be made with substitutes. All substitutes I’m sharing is dairy, and grain free…much of it is no sugar, too.
Here’s a few substitutes that you can use-
1. Unsweetened Almond Milk or Coconut Milk
Unsweetened almond milk can be used for a milk substitute except in store bought pudding. I did use it to make a chocolate pie though, and it worked. The chocolate pie I made is the kind you cook on the stove from scratch.
Coconut milk can be used for a substitute if you want a sweeter flavor on something. It’s naturally sweet, and since I avoid sugar, I put it in smoothies.
2. Ground Flaxseed
Flaxseed can be used as an egg substitute in baking. As long as the egg isn’t used as a binding agent, you can swap it out. Use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg you want to substitute.
I like to use it as a grain sub. I put it in meatballs or meatloaf in place of breadcrumbs. Also, I add it to the topping for apple or strawberry crisp.
You’ve likely seen cauliflower used as a pizza crust alternative. I have made a cauliflower crust before, but I didn’t like it. Here’s what I like to use it as an alternative to:
Cream soup base
4. Butternut Squash
If you are trying to stay low carb, you can use butternut squash as an alternative to sweet potatoes. While it isn’t a grain, I find that if I eat too many potatoes, I never feel satisfied.
5. Grain Free Thickeners
There’s a few different things you can use as a no grain thickener. This is different than no gluten, because if you are just avoiding gluten, you can use cornstarch.
Potato flakes-If you aren’t low carb, use potato flakes to thicken your soups, gravies, and stews. Make sure to read the ingredients list to confirm dairy free.
Arrowroot– Another substitute you can use is arrowroot powder. It is a little weird when it thickens gravy, because it makes it a little jello like, but it’s still good. But, I’ve used it in soups without a problem.
6. Cheese Flavoring
There is a dairy free cheese on the market, but I’ve not been impressed with it, but have used it on occasion with some amount of luck. It tastes really salty and doesn’t melt. Also, did I mention it’s like $5-$6 per bag where I live? Insane.
However, there’s another solution if you want to add cheese flavoring to your food. It’s called nutritional yeast. I’d say it tastes similar to the cheese powder on cheetos. I’ve mixed it into mashed cauliflower or put it into soups. It will dissolve.
I’ve made dairy free, grain free mac and cheese that way. I just used unsweetened almond milk, dairy free butter, nutritional yeast, dairy free cheese, and chickpea noodles.
7. Grain Free Flours
I am surprised at the number of grain free flours I’ve found. So far, I haven’t figured out how to make sandwich bread from any of them, but I’ve had huge success with muffins and brownies.
Here’s the top grain free flours I like:
Banana flour– this is not a sweet flour like you might think. It’s made from ground up green bananas. Just note that it is a dryer flour, so it’s easy to overcook your muffins.
Almond flour– this has a texture similar to ground flaxseed. I’ve used it successfully to make apple crisp or strawberry crisp. Again, it’s kind of dry, so if you are using it for baking, mix it with another flour.
Soy flour– I’ve used this flour to fry chicken and it’s amazing. My family prefers it to regular flour now.
Coconut flour- I’m in love with the banana coconut flour recipe on Wellness Momma.
One of my favorite things to eat is chickpeas. I like it in the form of hummus for my vegetables. Also, I use it as a substitute for noodles in chicken noodles soup. It doesn’t taste like noodles, but it fills up the soup without the starch.
You can also bake them in the oven with a little season on them. I think they have the texture of oven baked fries, because they are soft in the middle with a tougher outside. Here’s a roasted chickpea recipe.
9. Grain Free Noodle Alternatives
There are a few vegetables that I like to use as noodle alternatives. Spaghetti squash is a popular option, because it naturally shreds like angle hair pasta. You can make wide zucchini noodles with a vegetable peeler.
I was super excited to find chickpea noodles. These noodles cook up great and don’t get mushy in your soups. I’ve also seen black bean and red lentil pasta before at Walmart.
10. Grain Free, Dairy Free, Breakfast Bars
You can eat any type of breakfast bar from Larabar. I think most are sugar free, because they are sweetened with dates. You can buy them in the protein bar sections at the grocery store. They also sell a dairy free, grain free brownie bites and caramel bites.
11. Cloud Bread
Cloud Bread is a good biscuit substitute. It’s basically meringue, but it’s really good. You can put jelly on it and it rocks.
12. Dessert Options
The Costco where I live sells something called Crispy coconut rolls. These taste like waffle cones. I see them here on ebay if you don’t have a Costco. That’s a high price for them. They are like $6 or $7 at Costco, but they may sell them on Amazon.
Here’s the easiest dessert ever that I make all the time:
I make from scratch is strawberry crisp. I cut up fresh strawberries.
For the topping:
½ cup of almond flour
½ cup of coconut flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons dairy free butter or coconut oil hardened
I just sprinkle the topping on the strawberries and bake at 350 for 30 minutes- just like mom’s apple crisp.
I like to add coconut yogurt on it sometimes too. I’ve even baked it on top of the strawberry crisp in patches, and it was good. You can add a little bit of sugar to the yogurt or it will be a bit bitter.
Peanut Butter Cup Recipe
These peanut butter cups are so easy. Just need a Ghirardelli chocolate bar, peanut butter, and coconut oil..
13. Grain Free Tortilla Chips
This is the closest thing to grain free tortilla chips. They are made up of mostly beans, but there’s a little bit of rice flour in them. Not completely grain free, but good enough. They’ve got a cheeto like chip, but it’s not dairy free. You can buy gluten free tortilla chips, if you don’t mind the grain of corn.
14. Best Grain Free, Dairy Free Pizza Substitute
The best pizza substitute I’ve come across is cooking french fries and then covering them with spaghetti sauce and pepperonis. If you like the dairy free cheese, you can add that. You can also add some onions and bell peppers and it has the same flavor as a veggie pizza.
Overall, I haven’t come across a too many recipes I couldn’t modify with substitutes. As long as you make it from scratch, you can just about find a substitute for it.