The military diet became one of the most popular diets during the past few years. The diet claims you can lose up to 10 pounds in a single week. The diet is strict for three days, with the remaining four days allowing more versatility. And the best part about the military diet is that it’s free. However, some people don’t like all the products on the list. That’ why we’re discussing military diet substitutions today.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty of the military diet substitutions, let’s take a look at what the diet is and how it works. The biggest advantage of the diet is that it’s simple, straightforward, and easy to follow. Despite everything, the military diet might not be your first choice because of its limits and restrictive nature. That’s why military diet substitutions help you balance the diet.
What is the military diet?
Simply put, this is a 3-day diet that can help you lose up to 10 pounds in one week. You follow a strict diet plan for 3 days and then follow it up with a 4 days off plan. You can repeat the weekly cycle again and again until you reach your desired goal.
Some believe that the origin of the diet is the U.S. military, where nutritionists helped soldiers get into top shape quickly. However, that’s not the case. You can find other names for the diet, such as the Army diet, the ice cream diet, and the Navy diet.
How does the diet work?
As mentioned, the diet lasts for 7 days, split into two phases. The first one is the 3-day strict meal plan, and the second is the rest period.
For the first three days, you follow a strict meal plan that’s low on calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are no snacks in the military diet. The total calorie intake is between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day. Note that this is much lower than the average recommended calorie intake for adults, but that’s the way the diet works.
For the remaining four days, you can eat whatever you like. However, the recommendation is that you stick to healthy foods and limit your calorie intake to 1,500 per day.
What does the meal plan look?
Before we get to the military diet substitutions, we must look at what the meal plan looks like. Here it is:
- Breakfast: a slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, half a grapefruit, and a cup of coffee or tea
- Lunch: a slice of toast, half a cup of tuna, and a cup of coffee or tea (optional)
- Dinner: 3oz serving of meat with a cup of green beans, a small apple, half a banana, and one cup of vanilla ice cream
- Breakfast: one hard-boiled egg, half a banana, and a cup of coffee or tea (optional)
- Lunch: one hard-boiled egg, a cup of cottage cheese, 5 saltine crackers, and a cup of tea or coffee
- Dinner: two hot dogs with no bun, half a cup of carrots, half a cup of broccoli, half a banana, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream
- Breakfast: 1oz slice of cheddar cheese, 5 saltine crackers, a small apple, and a cup of coffee or tea
- Lunch: a slice of toast, one egg cooked however you like, and a cup of tea or coffee
- Dinner: 1 cup of tuna, half a banana, and a cup of vanilla ice cream
During the diet, you can drink coffee or tea as long as you don’t add sugar or cream. You need to drink plenty of water as well. For the remaining 4 days, snacks are permitted, and there no food group restrictions. Just eat healthy foods, and keep your calorie intake under 1,500 calories.
Military diet substitutions
Even though the military diet is fairly restrictive, you can still turn it into a gluten-free, lactose-free, or even a vegetarian version. It’s all up to you to find the right military diet substitutions. The only challenge is to find substitutions that contain the same amount of calories.
Here are some options:
- Substitute coffee and tea with a sugar-free cup of hot chocolate. Make sure to use water to make the hot chocolate.
- You can substitute the bitter taste of grapefruit with a glass of water with ½ tablespoon of baking powder in it. Don’t go for orange, as it’s rich in sugar. No other citrus fruit can substitute for grapefruit in this diet (only grapefruit is low on calories and sugar).
- If you want to avoid peanut butter, use almond butter, pumpkin, sunflower, or soy butter. Most people use a substitute for peanut butter if they have allergies.
- For those of you who don’t like tuna, go for any chicken or lean meat instead. Just make sure to stick to a 200-calorie serving. As for vegetarians, cottage cheese, almonds, peanuts, and tofu are nice options.
- You can substitute any meat on the military diet list with lentils, beans, or tofu.
- You can replace eggs with 2 bacon slices, 1 chicken wing, a cup of milk, or ¼ cup of nuts or seeds.
- While on the military diet, you can substitute bread with whole grain foods like whole-grain cereals, protein bar, or even ¼ cup of yogurt. Tortilla wraps will also do the trick.
- Banana is the easiest fruit to substitute in the military diet. There are many options, like 2 apricots, 2 kiwis, 1 cup of papaya, or any fruit (e.g., plums, apples, and grapes), provided they have the same amount of calories.
- Swap celery, squash, beets, or bell peppers for carrots.
- Many people don’t like green beans, and you can use leafy green vegetables like spinach instead. Tomatoes can work as well, but they are a bit high in calories.
- For your broccoli, use any other cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower, or another green veggie like asparagus.
- Instead of cheddar cheese, use cottage cheese. If you want to avoid dairy altogether, opt for eggs or ham.
- Instead of cottage cheese, you can get 1 cup of Greek yogurt, ham, or eggs. If you want another cheese option, go for ricotta or cheddar cheese.
- For the saltine crackers, rice cakes work best. However, make sure you consume the same amount of calories.
- Last, but not least, 1 cup of fruit yogurt or apple juice is the best alternative for ice cream (although I don’t believe anyone hates ice cream!).