Adapting Recipes for Dietary Restrictions

If you’re like us, you don’t want food allergies or digestive issues to limit your meal planning or culinary adventures. I have a dairy allergy; I follow a low FODMAP diet in which I avoid kitchen staples such as wheat, onion, garlic, and cauliflower; and we also try to limit added sugar. We savor the challenge of meal planning to both accommodate my needs and to keep our family and friends satisfied. Our secret is to adapt standard recipes through trial and error.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”

Thomas H. Palmer’s ‘Teacher’s Manual’

We’re willing to risk eating a meal that isn’t 100% perfect to understand which ingredients work best as substitutes for items we need to avoid. Over time, we’ve developed a food replacement roadmap that keeps my health and digestion in check and also produces delicious meals.

Food Replacement Roadmap

High FODMAP IngredientLow FODMAP Substitute
Onion (yellow,
purple, white)
Parsnip and Green Onion
Wheat FlourAlmond, Coconut, Garbanzo,
Oat, Rice
Dairy IngredientNon-Dairy Substitute
MilkPlain unsweetened Almond or
Coconut milk
ButterMiyoko’s Vegan Butter or
Coconut Oil
CheeseMiyoko’s Mozz or Creamery
spreads; Kite Hill Ricotta;
Violife Sliced Cheese
Sour CreamPlain unsweetened Almond
or Cashewgurt
Sugar IngredientNon-Sugar Substitute
White/Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup
or Honey
Unsweetened Applesauce
or Dates*

*I’m able to tolerate a moderate amount of dates, apples, and broccoli. If you also follow a low-FODMAP diet. you may have different experiences. I learned which foods to avoid by following an elimination diet developed by Stanford University’s Digestive Health Center, under the guidance of my doctor.

Adapted Recipe Success Stories

Doesn’t this Pumpkin Bread look amazing? You’ll have to take my word for it that it was yummy. Here’s how I adapted the recipe from Paleo Running Momma.

The kitchen never smelled so sweet as it did while this Moist Free Mango Bread, originally from Preheat To 350°, was baking!

I’ve learned to adapt every recipe I find to make it work for my dietary issues. Preparing meals doesn’t cause me stress or worry. I don’t have to dwell on what I can’t eat; I can focus on the ingredients I can incorporate into a recipe to make it taste delicious and keep my body happy.

What are you best replacement tricks?


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