6 Healthy Ways to Replace The Grains In Your Diet

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The Paleo diet is all the rage these days, but just like any other diet there are healthy ways and not-so-healthy ways to approach it. Replacing grain-based breads, crackers, and cookies with nut-based breads, crackers, and cookies can be helpful for those who need to avoid gluten, but relying heavily on these baked goods on a daily basis won’t necessarily improve your health.

recipes that are grain free

When done the right way, a grain-free diet should help increase your vegetable intake while also reducing your intake of processed foods and sugary snacks. It’s essentially just a “whole foods” diet, which is why so many all-natural recipes fall into the Paleo category in the first place.

Today I want to share 6 ways to replace the grains in your diet, without relying on heavy nut-based alternatives. Even if you don’t follow a grain-free diet, the following tips are a great way for anyone to increase their vegetable intake!

1. Try veggie “rice.”

bowl of vegetable rice

Pulsing vegetables like cauliflower or butternut squash in a food processor creates a rice-like texture that can be just as satisfying as using real rice. This Cauliflower Fried Rice is my favorite way to convince skeptics– it tastes just as good as the real thing!

2. Spiralize your vegetables. 

zucchini noodles

Making “noodles” out of your vegetables can actually be quicker and easier than cooking a box of pasta. Simply use a spiral slicer, like this one, or even a traditional vegetable peeler to create flat fettucine-like noodles out of your favorite veggies, like zucchini, carrots, or sweet potatoes. This recipe is a great place to start!

3. Use steamed vegetables as “pasta.” 

marinara zucchini


If you’d prefer to skip the fancy spiral slicers, a simple bed of steamed vegetables makes an easy base for your favorite pasta sauce! Some of my favorite options include steamed cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini (pictured above).

4. Make a vegetable-based pizza crust.

cauliflower pizza

This cauliflower pizza crust is life-changing. (You can use it as a flatbread for sandwiches, too!) Even if you eat half of this pizza on your own, you’ve essentially just eaten a pound of cauliflower topped with some marinara and cheese.

5. Swap your lasagna noodles. 

preparing eggplant lasagna

You can thinly slice vegetables like eggplant or zucchini to make lasagna “noodles.” This Eggplant Lasagna recipe is a great place to start, and the recipe for my very favorite Zucchini Lasagna is in my cookbook, too.

6. Lettuce wraps.

lettuce wrap

There’s no need to bake a grain-free bun, when a lettuce wrap is SO much easier! Try using butter lettuce for a velvety wrap that you can fold in half, or collard leaves to roll up your favorite sandwich or burger fillings.

I hope these ideas help you increase your vegetable intake, while enjoying some delicious meals in the process!

Reader Feedback: Do you have any other healthy alternatives to share? I’d love to hear them!

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

Yup! Love my grains. but I’m also a huge starch advocate! Plantains, yucca, all potatoes!


If you don’t have enough cauliflower for the veggie rice, you can mix in broccoli (as long as its finely chopped) with the cauliflower. Although the veggie rice will appear green, the taste will be similar to cauliflower rice. But DO NOT substitute cauliflower with broccoli because the taste will be completely different.

Farha - faskitchen

great ideas for a delicious and healthy meal.. loved the tips.. thanks for sharing


I absolutely love your posts and you’ve inspired me to experiment with recipes of my own. I’ve tried so many of your recipes and have never been disappointed. Thanks for sharing! One pizza alternative I love to do is eggplant parmesan. I love how they’re like mini individual pizzas and you still get a full serving of vegetables.


There are some wonderful ideas here, Megan! Thank you, always!

Emily @ Sinful Nutrition

Great tips! I also love using sliced and baked sweet potatoes instead of buns for burgers or sandwiches. Taste better than the bread in my opinion too!


Thanks so much! This couldn’t have come at a better time. My naturopath has be on a “no sugar, no flour of any kind” diet, so these ideas will certainly come in handy!


My son has Duchenes and have been told to take all grain food out of his diet. Am struggling as only 8 years old. Do you have a book that can help thx.


Brialliant! Great post, very clever and useful ideas. The best part is that it offers real substitutes for grains that are very healthy; the benefits of cooking this way are profound and worth the effort. Thank you.


Thanks for sharing this today on Facebook Megan. Just yesterday I was saying how much you have helped me clean up my eating. I am not where I need to be with that but I am in a much better place than I was almost 4 months ago. This is the first time in my life I am not on a diet but am really changing my lifestyle to the point where I am enjoying it and not feeling deprived. A big part of that is your blog and recipes. Since finding your blog I have been searching a number of similar blogs and to date none of these have had recipes that are as successful or easy as yours! I needed this post today. I have recognized that whilst I may have cut back on gluten, dairy and sugar I have not increased my vegetable intake apart from salads. It is something I want to work on this year. I have tried your pizza and the zucchini pasta and both were great. Sundays are my Detoxinista baking day as it helps me not only “snack prep” for the week but for some reason it helps me get focus and keeps me motivated. I think this weekend I will give the cauliflower fried rice a try!


thank you for the “grain-free” series of articles!


I just got here, and it’s still early days on on my heath-recovery journey, at a time when I do not know what to eat that is healthy and healing> I am quite excited just reading and looking at what this site offers in terms of appetizing meals (because, in my myriad health challenges, I struggle a lot and tiresomely with my appetite). I look forward to trying these recipe and coming back here to report on my experiences. I am even more excited about your Facebook page and what more I encountered there.

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