Losing weight by following a ketogenic diet plan is not always a fun thing to do. It takes perseverance, patience, and determination as well as a bit of inspiration and creativity. Even if your lifestyle is an active one, you can also lose weight by replacing some of the foods you’re currently eating with their healthier and low-carb alternatives. Below, I have listed some of the best keto-friendly substitutes that will help you lose weight while also enjoying tasty meals.
A. Dairy Products Keto Alternatives
Dairy can affect a lot of people, especially those who deal with food sensitivities or even allergies. Also, according to several studies, dairy products might be linked to certain health conditions. Anyhow, it doesn’t really matter how you put it. One thing is for sure! Some dairy products might not suit a ketogenic diet that is followed by the book. So here are some very good replacements.
1. Coconut Oil
This is an excellent choice that can easily replace butter in most of your favorite recipes. On the one hand, you will not achieve that exact buttery flavor. On the other hand, your recipe will gain a nice creamy coconut flavor. Go ahead and use coconut oil for both baking and sautéing.
2. Coconut Milk
Instead of regular milk, you can always switch to coconut milk. It is creamy enough and also delicious. I usually include coconut milk in recipes that I like to cook on a regular basis such as chia puddings, low-carb quiches, etc. I even like it in an occasional treat or a keto-friendly dessert that I enjoy once in a while. You can prepare your own coconut milk, at home, but I must confess that I am a bit lazy and I prefer to buy it from the grocery store.
3. Nut-Based Milk
The most popular vegan milk is the almond one but you can choose from other types of nut-based milk as well. For instance, I like both cashew and pistachio milk. I normally add them to my morning coffee, smoothies, and even cookie recipes. If you purchase these types of milk from the supermarket, you should always read the label because some products tend to contain too many preservatives, colorings, and other artificial additives. Also, if I were you, I would avoid consuming rice milk, oat milk, and soy milk because they contain plenty of carbs and they can even cause gut irritation.
4. Nut-Based Cheese
If you want to make your ketogenic diet a dairy-free eating plan, there are certain alternatives to cheese that have a similar texture as the real thing. The most commonly-used one is the cashew cheese because it has a nice flavor and it is easy to prepare. All you have to do is leave the cashews soaking in water overnight. Then, the next day, blend them until you obtain a smooth and creamy paste; something that resembles the consistency of ricotta. I simply love using cashew cheese as a base on my keto pizza crust. You can also use it as a dip.
Here are some other possible keto-friendly cheese substitutes:
· Zucchini “cheese”– you need to mix zucchini with gelatin to achieve a sliceable cheese;
· Cauliflower “cheese”-cauliflower is both keto-friendly and very healthy.
5. Yogurt Food Swaps
· Coconut yogurt – it is a creamy and delicious yogurt replacement. Enjoy it with keto-friendly granola or simply use it as sour cream;
· Nut-based yogurt – for those of you who don’t really like the taste of coconut, you should try other alternatives such as almond or cashew yogurt.
B. Keto-Friendly Flour Substitutes
1. Almond Flour
This flour substitute serves multiple purposes. In fact, it is one of the best alternatives to standard flour. For recipes in which you used to include one cup of regular flour, you must add only ¼ cup of nut-based flour. Almond flour has a high amount of healthy fats but it lacks gluten. Therefore, you should add some extra eggs to provide structure to your recipes. Baking powder will also do the trick!
This type of ketogenic low-carb flour is derived from blanched almonds (the nuts are boiled in order to remove their skins). Then, the almonds are ground until a fine flour is created. Unlike other nut-based flours or even coconut flour, this one will add a bit of moisture to your batter as well as a slightly sweet taste. In other words, almond flour is the ideal choice for ketogenic cookies, bread, pie crusts, and cakes.
Here are some useful tips on how to use almond flour in your baking recipes:
- Add a tad less oil because almonds are high in fat;
- Use a smaller amount of liquid because almonds tend to add some moisture to the batter;
- If you want to achieve a better structure, especially when you cook muffins or bread, you should add one extra egg;
- Adding baking soda or baking powder can also come in handy;
- If this low-carb flour turns brown, cover the bowl or the pan with aluminum foil;
- Almond flour should be baked at a lower temperature than regular flour.
2. Coconut Flour
This flour replacement is sourced from dehydrated coconut. First, the meat of the fruit is removed or extracted in order to obtain coconut oil. Then, the remains of the fruit are left to dry and, finally, they are ground and the final result should be a fine powder. Coconut flour comes with high fiber content, so it is excellent in giving you a digestive health boost. However, you cannot simply add this type of keto-friendly flour directly to your baking recipes because it will soak up all the liquid ingredients. Therefore, I’ve put together a short list of tips regarding the proper way to use coconut flour in your old recipes:
· For each additional cup of coconut flour, you should also add one more cup of liquid as well as six eggs;
· You don’t need to adjust the baking temperature because coconut flour can be cooked at exactly the same as regular flour;
· If you’re thinking about mixing almond and coconut flour together, then you should always make sure to follow this ratio: three parts almond flour to one part coconut flour;
· Batters made with coconut flour will thicken if you let them sit for a couple of minutes. In this case, you will end up with sturdy yet less crumbly baked goods. I do that for my waffle recipe because I don’t like when my cookies or baked goods create crumbs all over the place.
3. Other Keto-Friendly Flour Substitutions
· Bean flours – there is a wide range of potential bean flours that you can choose from. They can be made from the following ingredients: fava beans, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, and others;
· Organic soy flour – is sourced from ground soybeans and it is very similar to the flour obtained from coconut. What I mean is that soy flour is pretty dry so it will absorb moist ingredients quite quickly;
· Organic sesame flour – this is an excellent keto-friendly and low-carb flour that serves multiple purposes. It is the perfect addition to both savory and sweet recipes. You can even make keto bread from it.
C. Keto Options for Bread Crumbs
If you want to prepare a delicious meal and replace breadcrumbs, you can never go wrong with parmesan. It is a delicious breadcrumbs substitute and it will enrich the taste of any dish, not to mention it is low in carbs while also being high in fat. These characteristics make it the optimal keto food. You can use a combination of parmesan and butter to coat your meats in before frying them. The coating will provide the recipe with a crunchy and crisp texture.
If you’re craving for a tasty yet healthy and low-carb snack, there’s nothing better than baked parmesan kale leaves. Just coat the leaves with parmesan and bake them in a preheated oven for a couple of minutes.
2. Almond Crumbs
First of all, you need to soak the almonds in cold water and leave them there overnight. Then, get rid of the water and ground the almonds by using a high-speed blender. Feel free to adjust the consistency by adding a small amount of fresh water. When the almonds are finely ground, strain the nuts from their milk with the help of a nut milk bag. Now, you will have achieved two different keto-friendly substitutes: almond flour and almond milk.
Take the almond meal/flour and place it evenly on a cooking sheet. You can use a dehydrator or simply bake the almond meal in the oven to get rid of the excess moisture.
3. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds provide a lot of benefits because they contain a high amount of fiber and healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids. You can use them as they are or you can ground them to make sesame seed flour. First, coat your ingredients in a small amount of butter, and then, sprinkle the sesame seeds all over them.
4. Golden Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are highly nutritious and they contain plenty of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. They are said to help you achieve a better-looking skin. Also, these seeds are supposed to lower cholesterol, balance your hormones, support weight loss, and lower body inflammation. My favorite recipe in which I use flaxseeds instead of regular breadcrumbs is one of keto-friendly meatballs.
D. Keto Substitutions for Pasta
1. Veggie Noodles
I simply love pasta in all their kinds: spaghetti, penne, linguine, tagliatelle, lasagna… you name it! Still, I have recently started to follow the ketogenic diet, so, regular pasta is out of the question. In this situation, I’m sure you can understand my struggle to find the best low-carb alternatives without sacrificing the taste of the food. Let me tell you that veggie noodles are the next best thing after pasta.
Making this food replacement not only will help you significantly lower your carb intake but it will also make you enjoy your meals. Cooking veggie noodles is very easy and time-saving. Furthermore, the taste will resemble the one of standard pasta but this will also depend a lot on the way you choose to prepare the noodles.
2. Squash Spaghetti
Most people simply love the combination of meatballs and spaghetti and I am definitely one of those people. I remember I used to eat this meal very often, as a kid. Following a keto eating plan has made the consumption of spaghetti and meatballs simply unrealistic. Fortunately, you have a healthy and tasty alternative. I’m talking about squash spaghetti. Ok, I’ll admit! It isn’t identical to regular spaghetti but, for me, it is decent and has already passed the test of flavor.
What I like most about replacing pasta with spaghetti made from squash is the sweetness that comes along (I have a huge sweet tooth). Simply, mix these “spaghetti” with meatballs and a lean and healthy sauce, and you will achieve an excellent substitution for a traditional pasta dish.
E. Some Other Great Keto-Friendly Food Swaps
1. Lettuce Instead of Tortillas
Let’s face it! Tortillas are delicious and I always love a good tasty wrap. However, they are full of carbs and we should avoid them when we’re on a ketogenic weight-loss diet. So, for all of you ketogenic dieters out there, it is time to get rid of tortillas who contain around 98 grams of carbohydrates per serving and replace them with lettuce leaves. One serving of lettuce leaves has only one single gram of carbohydrates. Also, this replacement will make your wrap a lot crunchier. Ok, I’ll admit that the taste won’t be exactly the same but if you keep the interior stuffing delicious, you will barely notice the difference.
2. Stevia Instead of Sugar
Yeah, yeah… sugar is great and all that, but it isn’t healthy and although I always tend to crave for sugary foods, I did my best in replacing them with healthier alternatives. When you’re following a low-carb eating plan, substituting sugar with stevia is a good idea. You will achieve approximately the same sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth. On the other hand, some people might need a while to adjust to the taste of stevia. Don’t worry! In time, you will get used to it.
The Best Keto-Friendly Substitutes – Bottom Line
All the keto-friendly food swaps presented above are simply great and they can easily serve multiple purposes. Trying out these replacements will allow you to discover plenty of healthy options that will support your low-carb diet. In fact, as you can see, there are available alternatives for basically any food or ingredient you want to consume. In some cases, the taste might be a tad different, but your general health will significantly improve.
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