Keto Substitute Recipes from a Dietitian to Keep Track on Your Diet

Keto Substitute Recipes from a Dietitian to Keep Track on Your Diet
Anyone who is just starting to fall in love (or is already in a committed relationship) with the ketogenic lifestyle is likely fascinated by the science of the human body.

How cool is it that we can manipulate our metabolic pathways to work for us, improve energy, and optimize performance, all by choosing the right type of fuel for our machine?

Every good cook knows the key to great food is great ingredients. Check out our Master Keto Food List with 100+ keto foods mapped out for you! 

Guess what? Cooking is all about science, too.

Whether you are new to cooking or a seasoned pro, figuring out how to adapt favorite recipes to fit your new lifestyle may feel like you are entering uncharted territory. We understand. Here's a quick guide to keto-fy just about anything... except maybe a tasty craft beer.

Keto Sweetener Substitutes

Before we go there, let's first talk about sugar and sugar substitutes.

As a Registered Dietitian, I'll be the first to tell you to get rid of added sugars in your diet. Beyond being toxic, these can cause systemic inflammation and become addictive.

Whenever I recommend eliminating sugar, I am usually immediately asked about sugar substitutes.

Sure, they are a better alternative to the hard stuff because they won't cause blood sugar or insulin spikes, but they are like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Here's why: Non-nutritive sweeteners (Splenda, Truvia, Equal, etc.) are 200-700 times sweeter than their "natural" counterpart (1,3). When we replace natural sugars (table sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, and the like) with these substitutes, we don't train our taste buds to adapt to a less-sweet product. Instead, we cause our taste buds to crave even sweeter foods, making our sugar addiction even harder to break. While we may be decreasing the physiological addiction to the sweet substance (sucrose which breaks down to glucose), we aren't addressing the psychological component of the sweet craving.

What about sugar alcohols? These guys aren't as super-sweet as non-nutritive sweeteners, but they do still produce a small effect on blood sugar levels and insulin response (2,3), which we want to avoid on a ketogenic diet. Another downside to sugar alcohols is that they can cause bloating and diarrhea when consumed in excess (3), especially in individuals predisposed to food sensitivities and gut imbalance.

Bottom line: sugar substitutes are ok to use in dessert recipes when you have a hankering for something sweet, but these foods should still be thought of as "treats" and not staples in your day-to-day diet. Moderation is the name of the game! Try experimenting (food science!) by reducing quantities and adding in spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of a sugar-free sweetener, try halving it or replacing it with a spice or two. As you become fully keto-adapted, your body naturally reduces cravings for carbohydrates and sugars, so help your taste buds adapt with the rest of the new you.

Now onto my tips and tricks for "keto-fying" your favorite dishes. These are my best and favorite keto recipe hacks!

Gluten Free?

Instead of panko or breadcrumbs as breading on fish or meat, TRY:
  • Crushed pork rinds mixed with Parmesan cheese
  • Sesame seeds mixed with ground flaxseed and unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Coarsely chopped nuts (almond, macadamia, hazelnut) with 1-2 tablespoons of almond flour or coconut flour
  • Crushed Keto Crackers (made with almond flour or coconut flour, butter, baking soda, and spices)
Instead of all-purpose flour in gravies and sauces, TRY:
  • Almond flour (for a more neutral taste) or coconut flour (if the taste is complementary) mixed with xanthan gum to thicken
  • Ground flaxseed or chia mixed into a small amount of water or almond milk
Instead of soy sauce, TRY:
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos (no carbs)
  • Gluten-free tamari sauce (2g carb/Tbsp)
  • Brown rice miso paste (4g carb/Tbsp)
  • Coconut aminos (4g carb/Tbsp)
  • Fish sauce (1g carb/Tbsp)

Dairy Free?

Instead of cheese, TRY:
  • Cashew cheese
  • Pureed silken tofu with a pinch of salt (for a softer cheese)
  • Avocado mashed with olive oil for a spread
Instead of sour cream, TRY:
  • Silken tofu
  • Full-fat dairy-free plain yogurt (Ripple or Coconut)
Instead of Butter, TRY:
  • Ghee (all the dairy proteins have been removed through heat)
  • Avocado mashed with olive oil for a spread
  • Olive oil for baking
Instead of mayonnaise, TRY:
  • Avocado mashed with olive oil and salt
  • Coconut cream (top layer of a can of coconut milk)
Instead of heavy cream, TRY:
  • Coconut milk (cream mixed in)
  • Pureed silken tofu
  • Almond milk mixed with coconut or emulsified MCT oil
Instead of whey protein powder, TRY:
  • Collagen powder

Craving a favorite carb-heavy dish?

Instead of pizza, TRY:
  • Pounded chicken thighs or pork chops topped with store-bought pesto, tons of gooey cheese, and chopped tomatoes
  • Zucchini squash cut in half length-wise, seeds scooped out to create a hollow, filled with cheese, bacon, and chopped basil
  • Thinly sliced eggplant topped with a thin layer of sugar-free tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and chopped fresh oregano
Instead of mashed potatoes, TRY:
  • Mashed steamed cauliflower, mixed with butter, sour cream, roasted garlic, and spices
Instead of fried rice, TRY:
  • Cauliflower Rice fried in coconut oil and drizzled with sesame oil (all you need is a food processer)
Instead of pasta, TRY:
  • Spiralized zucchini, daikon radish, or turnip (enjoy in moderation – 1 medium turnip has 6 net carbs)
  • Shirataki noodles (found in the refrigerated produce section of most grocery stores)
  • French green beans (the long skinny ones) - once you pour a yummy sauce over these, you won’t miss the carb-heavy pasta!
Instead of avocado toast, TRY:
  • Egg beaten with 2 tablespoons flaxseed, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, salt and pepper, cooked in olive oil as you would a large pancake. Once cooked, toast to make crunchy. Top with avocado, olive oil and a fried egg for a heartier meal.
Instead of pancakes, TRY:
  • 1 scoop vanilla KetoLogic® KetoMeal®, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ cup almond milk, cinnamon to taste
Molly is a registered dietitian, personal chef, former collegiate athlete, and busy mom of three. She believes that nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and integral to both disease prevention and intervention. Her areas of experience include integrative and functional medicine nutrition therapy, adult weight management, sports nutrition, diabetes management, dietary modification for food allergies and sensitivities, and wellness education.


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*The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these articles and blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of KetoLogic. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and are not liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. KetoLogic reserves the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner we see fit content entries that we, in our sole discretion, deem to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright, or other laws, of an express commercial nature, or otherwise unacceptable.

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