When you’re first starting a Paleo (or a grain-free, legume-free, mostly dairy-free) lifestyle, it can be hard to let go of some of your favorite staples.
Milk in your coffee.
Bread with your dinner.
Any quick snack you used to grab on the go.
But there are ways to follow a Paleo Lifestyle and feel satisfied. In fact, you might feel so good without some of your old favorite staples that you stop craving them altogether.
Here are a few of my favorite “Paleo-friendly” counterparts for the most popular staples in the Standard American Diet.
Instead of milk or half and half in your coffee, try coconut milk or unsalted butter.
I use full fat, canned coconut milk in my coffee most days, and unsalted Kerrygold butter on other days. The butter and/or coconut milk cuts the bitter taste of the coffee AND give you some delicious healthy fats and nutrients in the process.
Instead of bread with dinner, try a sweet potato or other starchy vegetable.
When I used to eat bread with my dinner, it was because I was looking for that “something else.” That dense, filling thing that was going to make my meal more satisfying. These days, instead of reaching for bread, I go for the starchy veggies, like sweet potatoes and winter squash. They add some substance to my meat and veggie meals and help make my meals more satisfying.
Instead of a granola bar, try a piece of fruit with nut butter or a homemade Larabar.
When you start a Paleo lifestyle, you might have to look harder for snacks. Grabbing a granola bar usually isn’t an option any more. Stock your kitchen with fresh fruit and nut butter, or make some homemade larabar treats that you can grab and go. Preparation is essential when first starting out, so make sure you have some quick and easy snacks to grab.
Instead of sandwich bread, try a big green leaf.
I love me some sandwich guts…the insides of a sandwich, sans bread. Wrapping your usual sandwich guts in a big leaf–like a Swiss Chard leaf, or Romaine lettuce leaf– is a great way to make your sandwich guts more portable. You can even use leaves in the place of tortillas for things like tacos or fajitas.
Instead of milk chocolate, try dark chocolate.
Yes, chocolate has health benefits. Especially the dark kind. The darker the better. Switch out your milk chocolate for some delicious dark chocolate. You’ll get the benefits of less sugar, more magnesium and a healthily satisfied sugar craving.
Instead of pasta, try spaghetti squash.
Back in my wheat-eating days, pasta was always a vessel for sauce. I think you’ll find that spaghetti squash is a amazing alternative. It has a mild squashy flavor that complements most anything that you top it with. Including garlicky kale pesto.
Instead of peanut butter, try almond butter.
Peanut butter is definitely one of the harder things to give up (at least for me it was), but it can sometimes cause more harm than good. Almond butter and sunflower seed butter are great substitutes to try on fresh fruit and in smoothies.
Instead of soda, try seltzer or kombucha.
Need a bubbly beverage? Experiment with plain or flavored seltzer waters, or try some kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea with probiotics and detoxifying properties. It’s an acquired taste for some, but definitely worth experimenting.
For you Paleo newbies, what foods have you been missing most? Feel free to share in the comments below.
For you Paleo oldies, what “paleo-friendly” substitutions have you made?