Favorite Processed Food Substitutions

The fact that you are continuing to read my posts is a good sign. I hope congratulations are in order because you have either decided to eat clean, or are at least seriously considering it.

The Challenge

If you have started, there is a good chance you will run into the following challenge:

You decide to “eat clean” and do pretty well as you enjoy new recipes made with fresh, natural foods. Then, you start missing your favorite processed foods. You manage the cravings pretty well, but packing a lunch is hard when making sandwiches with your old time friend, white bread, isn’t an option . . . and how are you supposed to go without your favorite pasta dish?

Don’t give up – or give in . . . find some favorite processed foods substitutions.


Since eating clean usually cuts out any and all pasta – what can you use instead?

Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Brown rice
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • “Miracle Noodles” which can be purchased online and in some health food stores.
    • These are mushroom based and usually come packed in water. To me, not a great choice because they are a bit of an acquired taste.
  • Squash and zucchini as a pasta replacement are at the top of my list. Use a spiralizer, a veggie peeper, or a knife to cut pasta shapes from the squash.
    • You can eat it raw, or cook it in a dry skillet until your mock pasta is al dente.
    • Serve with our favorite clean pasta sauce or top it with tomatoes cooked in olive oil and garlic.


Image by andresr
Image by andresr

This may be one of the most challenging changes, but it can be done.

You may have to start making your own bread products. I switched to whole wheat flour some time ago, and frankly cannot tell the difference any more.

Check out the Clean Eating Grocery List For Beginners, which is where I found the following list to help you make the change:

    • Whole wheat flour
    • Whole wheat pastry flour – tough to find in some areas, but great for baking
    • White whole wheat flour – Easier to find but not as dense as regular whole wheat flour. (It’s a different variety of wheat, but it’s still whole grain
    • Coconut flour
    • Almond flour
    • Quinoa flour
    • Other flours – These are for gluten-free diets. If this is necessary for you, research other flours on gluten free sites.

You can also bake tasty gluten-free baked treats using eggs, and flax seed or almond meal. A quick Google search will reveal all kinds of quick and easy recipes to try.

Another alternative is to give up bread altogether (which is not a choice I have been willing to make, but some people do). If that is your choice and are wondering how you can prepare a tasty portable lunch without break, wraps are perfect alternative. All you need are a large, crisp lettuce or cabbage leaf and your favorite “filling” to create your favorite clean sandwiches. You can make great wraps that hold your clean sandwich filling very nicely.

Packaged Breakfast Cereal

If cold cereal is your breakfast of choice, I have two yummy suggestions.

  • Try a bowl of fruit and chopped nuts topped with a little almond milk or fresh raw milk (with cream). I think you will find it much tastier than that same old bowl of corn flakes. Keep the ingredients ready in the fridge for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • One of my favorites is Overnight Oatmeal. Follow the link and create your own – using only clean ingredients, of course.

Of course, you can always create wonderful omelets or quick scrambled eggs topped with avocado, tomatoes, and finely diced onions. Cage-free eggs are an excellent choice for breakfast and will keep you full for hours.

Take-out Pizza

This one is really going to stretch your imagination – pizza crust made from cauliflower. It takes some work and slightly messy to eat, but it hits the spot when you are craving a piece of pizza.

You can also make individual-sized pizzas with clean corn tortillas. Check out the clean tortillas at Trader Joe’s. The only ingredients should be corn, lime and water. You may also want to try their sprouted wheat tortilla that is clean and quite good once you get used to the texture. The tortillas are a bit stiffer than the norm. 

Of course, you could make your own. I’m told it’s not really difficult – but I have never done it myself.

Handle the cravings

You will have them, no doubt about it. When one hits or you feel like giving up and calling it quits because you are missing your old favorites so much, STOP, BREATHE, and do a SEARCH on Google. There are amazing clean food recipes out there for almost anything you can think of.