Over the past several years, low carb diets like Paleo, South Beach and Atkin’s have become increasingly popular for fast, effective weight loss. However, they can also come with their fair share of cravings for carb-rich goodies like cake, cookies, bars and bagels.
But great news: if you’re on a low carb diet, you don’t have to give up your beloved baked goods. Instead, check out some of these low carb flour alternatives…
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7 Low Carb Substitutes For Flour
1) Protein Powder
Protein powder contains a special emulsifier which helps it absorb liquid ingredients, so it can be substituted for flour on a nearly 1:1 ratio. It’s an excellent way to cut carbs, increase protein… and it tastes good too!
From plain vanilla to malted milk chocolate all the way through salted caramel, protein powder comes in a variety of delicious flavors. Since flour isn’t typically flavored, substituting protein powder can really kick your recipes up a notch.
If you don’t want to modify the taste of your recipes, you can always buy plain, unflavored protein powder instead.
2) Coconut Flour
One of the most commonly used low carb substitutes for flour, coconut flour is sugar-free, fiber-rich and high in protein. The protein helps your body build and repair muscles while the fiber keeps you feeling full longer, thus reducing the urge to overeat.
The fiber also helps coconut flour absorb more liquid than almost any other flour alternative. For this reason, you only need about 1/3 the amount of coconut flour that you would typically use in any recipe.
Don’t like the taste of coconut? Don’t worry… unlike coconuts flakes, coconut flour doesn’t actually taste anything like coconut. Once it’s added to a recipe, any the coconut taste is quickly masked by other flavors.
3) Almond Flour
Almond flour is another amazing low carb flour substitute. It’s higher in fat than protein powder or coconut flour, but this will help increase the moisture content of your baked goods for a richer flavor and a tender texture. The flour is made from finely ground almonds, so there is a slight nutty taste to it.
4) Flaxseed Meal
Like almond flour, flaxseed meal also has a bit of a nutty taste to it. It’s also high in fat – however, it’s an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid, healthy fats which help promote heart and eye health.
While low in carbs and rich in healthy fats, flaxseed meal can be used to supplement any recipe – but it cannot be perfectly substituted for flour.
Instead, you can use flaxseed meal to reduce the amount of flour needed for each recipe. To swap out some flour for flaxseed, mix about 1 tbsp. of flaxseed meal with 4 tbsp. of water. This mixture will replace about ¼ cup of flour, which will shave around 24 carbs off of each recipe.
5) Sunflower Seed Flour
While sunflower seed flour makes a great low-carb alternative to regular flour, it’s also a wonderful substitute for almond flour.
Although almond flour is highly regarded as the go-to low-carb alternative to flour, it’s simply not an option for those who have nut allergies. It’s also incredibly pricey – with a 5 lb. bag of almond flour costing upwards of $30.
You can make your own sunflower seed flour at home for about half the price of almond flour! Just pick up some whole hulled sunflower seeds that have not been roasted at your local grocery store. Put two cups of the seeds in a blender and then blend on a high setting until it becomes a finely milled powder.
6) Hazelnut Meal
Hazelnut meal is another low-carb substitute for flour. Again, it is similar to almond flour because it is made from ground nuts. However, hazelnut has a richer, more decadent taste. For this reason, it’s a popular additive to chocolate treats like pancakes, brownies, homemade granola and more.
7) Cricket Flour
Cricket flour is made from… you guessed it: finely ground crickets! It might sound strange, but the melodic insects are actually quite nutritious and have been consumed regularly in other parts of the world for centuries.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reports that crickets are low in carbs but high in protein, healthy fats and essential amino acids. You’ll find about 12.9 grams of protein per 100 grams of ground crickets, which is about half the amount found in more popular forms of animal protein such as chicken and beef.
Although crickets have been eaten for quite some time now, cricket flour for baking is still relatively new. For this reason, it might not be on shelves at your local grocer or neighborhood health food store just. If you want to try out cricket flour, you’ll have to buy it online through a major retailer like Amazon.
Which Flour Alternative is The Best?
So which of these low carb flour substitutes should you choose? That all depends on your preferences! Here are four common factors people use to pick their perfect flour alternative:
At around $0.33 per pound, traditional flour is pretty cheap. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for any low carb substitutes. Almond flour is one of the most expensive – but hazelnut meal, coconut flour and the others aren’t much cheaper.
If you’re baking on a budget, try grounding your own sunflower seed flour at home. If you can afford to buy in bulk, protein powder usually works out to be less expensive per serving.
If you’re ready to cook right now, pick a low-carb flour substitute that’s readily available. Almond flour and coconut flour can usually be found at most large grocers or health food chains. However, if you have a vitamin shop or sporting goods store near you, you can also usually find different varieties of protein powder pretty easily.
– Nutritional Content
Besides being low in carbs, what’s important to you? If you want to keep your diet low in fat, avoid the nut flours and pick protein powder or sunflower seed flower instead. If you want to increase your protein, the obvious choice should be protein powder – but cricket flour is also a good alternative.
Flavor is another important factor when it comes to deciding between low carb flour alternatives. For recipes that taste pretty much the same as regular flour, opt for coconut flour or unflavored protein powder. If you want a richer, fuller flavor, select almond flour or hazelnut meal.