A Guide to Ingredient Substitutions for Healthier Eating

Looking to cut out unhealthy foods like trans fat, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup, but don’t want to give up your favorite foods? I’ve been using these simple food substitutions in my recipes for years, and continue to evolve into healthier eating habits. Don’t feel like you need to make all these changes at once. Every step towards healthier eating will benefit your body.


Using this:Try using this:
Breakfast cerealCooked oatmeal, steel cut oats or cooked millet
BreadB Free GF Bread or Schar Artisan Baker GF breads (Both are egg-free)
Bread crumbsGround flax seeds or baked, ground garbanzo beans
Chocolate chip Lily’s chocolate stevia sweetened baking chips
Cocoa powderRaw cacao powder
Coffee Dandy Blend, Instant Herbal Beverage with Dandelion
Coffee creamer Aroy-D coconut milk in a box and pure maple syrup
Corn chipsTrader Joe’s Grainless Cassava & Coconut Chips or Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips
CornstarchArrowroot powder
FlourTrader Joe’s GF All Purpose Flour, Bob’s Red Mill GF 1 to 1 Flour, or Namaste from Costco
KetchupTrader Joe’s brand, Annie’s Organic, look for one without HFCS
PastaZucchini zoodles, spaghetti squash, lentil or garbanzo bean pasta, most GF pasta are ok
Soy SauceCoconut aminos
SugarCoconut sugar, date sugar, raw honey or maple syrup
VinegarFresh lemon juice


Using this:Try using this:
BaconApplegate Organics Uncured Turkey Bacon or Trader Joe’s brand
ButterCoconut oil (use refined oil for no coconut flavor)
CheeseMiyoko’s brand cheeses 
Deli meatApplegate Farms Organic
EggsBaking: 1 Tbsp. flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. water, let thicken for 5-10 minutes
Ground meat100% grass fed beef, or organic ground turkey
Mayonnaise  Follow Your Heart Avocado oil Vegenaise or Soy-Free Vegenaise
MilkAlmond milk or coconut milk
Tunawild-caught salmon, canned (tuna has high mercury levels)
Whipped creamFull-fat coconut milk Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk, Aroy-D, Nature’s Charm, 365 Whole Foods Organic Coconut Milk all work well. (Don’t use Trader Joe’s brand; it doesn’t whip.)

“Whole Foods Market in the East Village of New York” by david_shankbone is licensed under CC BY 2.0

My Favorite Places to Shop:

  • Trader Joe’s, for most of my groceries
  • Local market in summer & fall for produce 
  • Local Health food stores:
    • Marlene’s Deli, Federal Way, WA
    • PCC Natural Markets, greater Seattle area
  • Costco, lots of organic 
  • Fred Meyer/ Kroger, un-remodeled stores “natural” section
  • Whole Foods

Test out a few of these substitutions and see which ones are your favorite. A few simple changes can add up to big results!

For more helpful tips you might enjoy How To Keep Your Groceries From Spoiling Before You Can Eat Them.

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