18 Best Military Diet Substitutions

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Military diet substitutions may be necessary if you have certain dietary restrictions, but there are plenty of simple replacement options to choose from.

The military diet is a calorie-restriction diet broken up into two phases that are known to achieve rapid weight loss. This is considered a crash diet, as the calorie intake during the first three days of each week is dropped to 800-1,100. That is more than a 50% reduction in calorie intake, which can have extreme effects on the body. Given the strict rules regarding what you should eat each day, it is important to understand what alternatives there are if you are gluten intolerant, diabetic, lactose intolerant or allergic to any of the included foods. [1]

3-Day Military Diet Substitutions

There are many viable military diet substitutions for the most common foods in this diet, including coffee, peanut butter, eggs, apple, banana, carrots, broccoli, saltine crackers, and more.


If you don’t want too much caffeine, try green tea instead, but avoid adding any sugar or sweeteners.

Peanut Butter

If you have a peanut allergy, try using almond butter or pumpkin butter instead, as they will have a similar level of calories.


If you are a vegan, you can replace the protein from the egg with 1/2 cup of seeds or nuts, or you can drink 1 cup of milk.


If you are allergic to apples, try eating a pear, or simply adding an extra banana to the day, which will be somewhat equal in terms of calories.


2 kiwis are a great way to replace 1 banana and will deliver a similar amount of calories and nutrients.


Toy soldiers around a salad

Military diet uses calorie-restriction for weight loss. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Bell peppers or celery are an equivalent vegetable trade for carrots, although they won’t have as many valuable antioxidants.


If you don’t like broccoli, try different leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.

Green Beans

Green beans can be easily substituted with lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, and cooked kale.


Grapefruit can be easily substituted by oranges and other berries like raspberries or blackberries. It can also be substituted by baking soda as they both have a rich alkaline content.


If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, then you can substitute your bread with sunflower seeds, protein bars, or greek yogurt.

Cheddar Cheese

If you are lactose intolerant, or just not a fan of cheese, switch to cottage cheese for an egg or 1 slice of ham.

Hot Dogs

For vegetarians, you can swap out the processed hot dogs for lentils, beans or tofu.

Saltine Crackers

If you have a gluten sensitivity, try eating a rice cake instead, which also have more nutrients than regular saltines.

Vanilla Ice Cream

This sweet treat at the end of every day on the diet can be replaced by a cup of yogurt or a glass of apple juice (if you are lactose intolerant).


For vegetarians, lentils, beans, and tofu can deliver similar nutrients, but if you just don’t like fish, try chicken or other lean meats in equal quantities.


Vegetarians on this military diet can replace the meat with various protein-dense options, such as tempeh, tofu or beans.


People who need to eat gluten-free can replace the daily pieces of toast with protein bars, sunflower seeds or even corn tortillas.

Cottage Cheese

Some people don’t like the consistency of cottage cheese, but you can easily substitute in Greek yogurt or a slice of ham.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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