Printer icon

How to Replace Nuts

Replacing nuts

You asked; we answered! Whether you’re allergic to nuts, packing school lunches for a nut-free cafeteria, trying an autoimmune protocol, just not a fan of trail mix, you’ve come to the right spot.

Look on the Bright Side

In many ways, a nut intolerance or allergy is really a blessing in disguise when it comes to Paleo.

At least you won’t fall into the trap of trying to “eat Paleo” by re-creating all your favorite grain-based junk food with almond flour and convincing yourself that it’s “healthy” because it’s gluten-free.

Nuts are technically Paleo, but they aren’t the healthiest foods around. For one thing, they’re high in Omega-6 fats, which can be pro-inflammatory and undo all your hard work spent avoiding seed oils and junk fats. For another, they’re fairly high in phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient which prevents you from absorbing the minerals in the nuts. This doesn’t mean anyone should eliminate them altogether – they’re fine in small doses – but you’re certainly not missing out on anything extremely nutritious.

But on the other hand, cutting out such a versatile food group from an already restrictive diet can make cooking tough. So take a look at the most common uses for nuts and how to replace them:

Snacks

Paleo snacks
It’s the quintessential Paleo snack: just grab a handful of nuts or trail mix! But when a quick scoop of almonds is off the menu, what can you do? Here are some snacks that keep well at room temperature, and don’t require a lot of fuss and preparation to eat.

Baked Goods (cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.)

Paleo baked goods should never be a staple of your diet, regardless if they’re made with nut flour or something else. But if you need a Paleo-friendly flour for a recipe, you do have nut-free options:
Paleo Starches

You could also just focus on treats that don’t involve any flour at all; what about some tapioca pudding or a fried banana with honey?

Salad Crunch

Nuts are a deliciously crunchy addition to a big pile of greens and some nice olive oil. But you have plenty of other options for adding that extra bit of pep. Why not try…

Nut Butters

Ah, but what to smear on your apples? What to dunk your carrot sticks in? Here’s a rundown of your non-nut options:Honey jar

But Where will I get Vitamin E?

One of the fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin E is important for skin health and fertility, among other things. Nuts are always mentioned as the Paleo source of Vitamin E, but you still have other options. You can also find it in…

You’ll also get smaller amounts from most other leafy green vegetables. Really, as long as you eat a diverse diet with a wide variety of plant and animal foods, you’ll be getting plenty of Vitamin E.

Summing it Up

If you want to go Paleo but you’re intimidated by all the nut-heavy recipes: don’t be! There’s no reason why anyone has to eat nuts, even on Paleo. They’re really more of a nice extra. Nut-based “desserts” get a lot of press because they’re often very creative (not to mention easy to take beautiful pictures of), but there’s nothing nutritionally special about nuts, and no reason why you can’t replace them in your cooking with other equally tasty foods. Avoiding nuts shouldn’t make it impossible – or even particularly difficult – to make Paleo work for you.