Here are 20 AIP Diet food swaps (Autoimmune Paleo Protocol) that you can use instead of Standard American Diet foods.
One of the hardest and most confusing parts about doing AIP is how different than the regular Standard American diet or even from Paleo it is.
I think this holds a lot of people back, but it really shouldn't and today I want to give you 20 different food swaps that will just make life a little bit easier for you.
You can either watch this video to hear the swaps or skip below and read them!
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AIP Swap #1 – Coconut Aminos for Soy Sauce
Now coconut aminos are just a fermented sap. It's like the nectar of a coconut blossom from a palm tree blended with sea salt but it tastes remarkably like soy sauce and it gives that same kind of umami flavor to any dish. (Read more about what coconut aminos are, etc in this post)
AIP Swap #2 – Tigernuts for Nuts
And even can be swapped for oats because I've made some delicious granolas with Tigernuts instead of oats. Now Tigernuts, also called nookon or chufa are not actually nuts but a tuber. So they are completely compliant on AIP.
AIP Swap # 3 – Tigernut Butter for Nut or Seed Butter
Roots makes a great tigernut butter or you can make your own by blending tigernuts and approx 1 cup of oil in a blender or food processor until it’s in a nut butter-like consistency.
I love it on this AIP English Muffin recipe or in a tigernut butter and jelly wrap sandwich (like I showed in this video).
AIP Swap #4 – Coconut or Tigernut Milk for Cow’s or Almond Milk
You can replace cow’s or almond milk pretty much one-to-one in most recipes and they do a great job. Make sure your coconut milk doesn't have guar gum in it, as that's not allowed on AIP. I use the Native Forest Simple Coconut Milk.
I also have a recipe for a banana milk that could be used if neither of these are viable options for you.
AIP Swap #5 -Veggie noodles for Pasta
Veggies like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, or any of these kinds of bulky vegetables are great for spiralizing and making into veggie noodles. See how to make sweet potato noodles here.
If you don’t have a spiralizer you can also use a julienne peeler to make long strips of veggies.
You can also roast and use spaghetti squash instead of pasta too.
AIP Swap #6 – Avocado Oil for Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, or Peanut Oil
Avocado oil is great that it's already in the liquid state so you don't have to melt it like coconut oil, but you can use coconut oil as well. (Or lard, tallow, or olive oil) *If you have a Costco membership, I've found the Chosen Foods Avocado Oil is typically cheapest there (it's ridiculously expensive on Amazon, so don't get it there).
AIP Swap # 7 Mace for Nutmeg
Mace is the red coating that covers the outer shell of the nutmeg kernel. It’s a bit milder in taste, but tastes surprisingly like nutmeg, so it will replace nutmeg in all of those pumpkin spiced things you need to eat!
AIP Swap # 8 – Carob, Chicory Root and Dandelion Root Tea for Coffee
This combination takes a little bit of getting used to, but it's actually a surprisingly good replacement for coffee. It has no caffeine and it’s legal on AIP since it’s not seed-based ( coffee is a seed and we avoid seeds on AIP).
If you get the ratio right for you it provides a good amount of bitterness and can be everything that you're expecting from a cup of coffee. This is a good recipe to start with, but play around with the ratios as I find this much chicory to be too bitter for me – skip the coconut concentrate and oil if you don't want to make it “bulletproof”.
Update 2021: I LOVE these new AIP “coffee” blends by SipHerbals – they're amazing and really the closest thing to coffee that I've found. Use code THRIVING10 to take 10% off your first order too!
AIP Swap # 9 – Carob for Chocolate or Cocoa Powder
Sadly, chocolate is a seed so must be avoided on AIP. But carob can be used as a replacement. It’s definitely got a bit of a different taste, but it’s good in these AIP Carob Chip Cookies! And I also like it mixed with some coconut oil and honey and drizzled over fresh fruit.
Caution: Be careful that you avoid pre-made carob chips, or at least look at the ingredients, as many use wheat and other non-AIP ingredients as stabilizers.
AIP Swap # 10 – White Sweet Potatoes for White Russet Potatoes
If you’ve never had a white sweet potato you might be surprised about how not sweet they are. The fact that they are that white color also can trick your brain into thinking that you're not having something so sweet as a regular orange sweet potato too.
White sweet potatoes are usually marketed as Japanese White or Jersey White and either have a light golden colored skin or a reddish-purple skin.
AIP Swap # 11 – Cauliflower Rice for Rice
Cauliflower rice is pretty prevalent these days and a normal staple of a Paleo or Whole30 diet, but in case you’re coming from a Standard American diet, here’s how you make it: Just take a food processor or blender and pulverize the cauliflower until it’s small like rice. You can also buy pre-riced cauliflower in most grocery stores these days- usually either in the prepacked salad section of the fresh veggie aisles or in the frozen section.
Cook on the stove for a few minutes until tender. Our favorite recipe is this Coconut Cauliflower Rice recipe.
AIP Swap #12 Nutritional Yeast for Cheesy Flavor
If you want that cheesy kind of flavor without cheese you can use nutritional yeast. It gives a little bit of a cheddar kind of flavor to dishes. Common uses are in mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower as a side or in a runnier version of these (mixed with something like chicken broth) to make a “cheese” sauce.
AIP Swap # 13 -Thinly Sliced Veggies for Lasagna Noodles
Thinly sliced zucchini, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes make a good replacement for lasagna noodles. Now on AIP it’s a bit hard since you can’t have cheese nor tomato sauce, but you can make a “no-mato” sauce and use tons of other veggies to make a delicious lasagna. (Here’s a good recipe to start with and feel free to modify as desired)
AIP Swap # 14 – Sweet Potato, Plantain, or Cassava Chips for Tortilla or Potato Chips
Sweet potato chips (I like these by Jackson’s Honest), Plantain Chips (I love these by Inka Chips) and Cassava Chips (I like these by Artisan Tropic) are really good replacements for tortilla or potato chips. Plantain chips hold up especially well if you want to dip some guac or anything like that, and all of these make great sides for on-the-go meals.
AIP Swap # 15 – Coconut Milk Yogurt for Cow's Milk Yogurt
You can do coconut milk yogurt, which is great with fruit and tigernut granola as a breakfast or snack, but I do caution you that you should probably make it at home by yourself because the stuff in the store has a lot of additives in it that aren’t AIP-compliant. If you do make it yourself, you should use either a starter that is (AIP compliant which I'm not really sure of one but please let me know if you know of one) so I would instead I would recommend using probiotic pills as your starter. This video was a Facebook Live I did for an Instant Pot Week Challenge and explains how to make coconut milk yogurt in your Instant Pot.
AIP Swap # 16 Kombucha for Soda
Kombucha can still be fizzy and have all sorts of flavors, yet has health benefits rather than detriments like soda.
AIP Swap # 17 Cassava Flour Tortillas for Corn Tortillas
It’s still fun to have tacos on AIP, but instead of using corn you can make your own cassava flour tortillas. It took me a few tries the first time to get it right without the tortillas completely breaking on me, but once I figured out how to do it I found it’s not hard. I love this cassava flour tortilla recipe by Downshiftology.
AIP Swap # 18 Arrowroot Powder for Cornstarch
Arrowroot powder (also called arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch) can be used 1:1 instead of cornstarch to thicken sauces or gravies.
AIP Swap # 19 Baking Soda/Cream of Tartar for Baking Powder
In a recipe that you might be modifying yourself from non-AIP, you can use baking soda and cream of tartar instead of baking powder (which typically either contains corn or other non-AIP ingredients). Squirrel in the Kitchen has a great AIP Baking Powder recipe you can make and store in your pantry.
AIP Swap # 20 – Coconut Oil or Palm Shortening for Butter
Now I wouldn't say that you’d want to spread these on top of a baked good (at least not without some additional ingredients – this is a good AIP “butter” spread recipe) but instead of butter in a recipe you are modifying yourself, then you can typically use these 1:1 for butter.
Bonus: Here are 14 AIP egg substitutions!
Printable AIP Swaps List
Want a printable version of these swaps? You can get the AIP Swaps Cheat Sheet (plus tons more stuff) inside my Paleo Freebie Library! Get the password here.