3 Day Military Diet Substitutions: List of Best Food Substitutes


It is no secret that a military diet is one of the most successful diet plans around. While there is no evidence that this diet plan is anywhere related to military or to show where it has come from, it has been tested by nutritionists, and it passed with flying colors. The basic rule of military diet is to give your body fewer calories as compared to the normal diet. And these calories will be obtained more from protein and less from fat, as we all know how unused fat is stored in the body to increase your weight.

There are a lot of food items in this military diet that will make you feel fuller as compared to any other diet, which means you will not feel hungry between meals and you will not even realize that you are eating less food than usual. This will also reduce cravings and snacking, which are the main culprits of weight gain. These features make this diet your perfect plan if you have some event coming up and you want to look slimmer for it. Be it a wedding, graduation, beach vacation, etc., this diet will work wonders for you, and you will see a change in a very short time. It totally depends on your dedication, to follow this diet, as to how much you will lose. People have reduced up to 10 pounds of weight in just a week by following this diet, and you can do so too.

While this diet is in itself a brilliant one, some people might not be willing to eat some of the food items present in this diet. Vegans and vegetarians will especially not want to follow this diet because of the non-vegetarian and dairy food items in this diet (1). They will need the replacements for military diet food products, which will comply with their food preferences. Not only vegetarians and vegans, a lot of different people will have different preferences when it comes to food, and all of them will require different military diet substitutes according to their choice and belief.

Remember that substituting doesn’t just mean that you can have a similar food item in the same quantity; it means that the calories provided by that item should be from the same source and equal to the original food item. Below is a list of different dietary preferences and why they will need a substitute for this 3-day military diet.

Who Will Need The Military Diet Substitutes?

  • Vegetarians: There are a lot of food items present in this diet plan, which are not suitable for vegetarians like the meat products, hot dog, fish, etc. They can make their own vegetarian military diet by using the substitute items in the list below.
  • Vegans And Lactose Intolerant People: Both vegans and people with a dairy allergy will not consume any products made from or with milk. As this diet includes cheese and cottage cheese, substitutions for this plan are necessary for this group of people.
  • People With Gluten-Free Preference: Military diet is generally considered as very healthy, but some people prefer their food free of gluten. Simple food items like bread have very little gluten, but that doesn’t matter for this group. There is a requirement for substitutions for this 3-day military diet plan for this group.
  • Allergies: Apart from lactose intolerant people, there is a large group allergic to various food products. These people will need other options if the items they are allergic to are mentioned in the military diet. We have listed a lot of options to substitute most of the food products from this diet.
  • Medication Interference: If you are on some medicine and want to follow the diet, you must consult your doctor first to know if any food items present in this diet may interfere with your medication. This happens when the components present in the medication and food items clash. This can have an opposite effect on your body, which is why your doctor has to know about your diet so that he/she can tell you what all food items you can not consume.

3 Day Military Diet Menu Substitutions


This is the list of food items that you can replace from this diet plan in order to satisfy your eating preferences and avoid the food items that you might be allergic to:

1) Military Diet Plan Substitutes For Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a great source of alkaline-producing agents (2) in the body, which helps in maintaining the pH levels of the body. We generally eat a lot of food items that are highly acidic, but we do not balance it with alkali-producing components, which leads to acidity and unbalanced pH of the body. People might not be willing to eat grapefruit because of various reasons. Some may not like the taste without any seasoning, it may interfere with medication of some people, it may not be available in some places, etc. None of these reasons should stop you from following the military diet.

You can replace half a grapefruit with half a teaspoon of baking soda in water. Just dissolve the baking soda in the water and drink it. Do not add sugar, as it will increase the calories consumed in that day and hinder the military diet results. You can also add stevia syrup to improve the taste of this water solution as baking soda will taste weird.

Note: Never have oranges as a grapefruit substitute as they will have an opposite effect on your body because of their acidic nature.

2) Replacement For Peanut Butter

Not just military diet, this tip will help you avoid peanuts, regardless of the reason you are not eating them. You may be allergic to peanuts, or you may simply not like them, but it’s okay because you can replace it with other types of organic butter and follow the military diet with all ease.

You can replace peanut butter with either almond butter, sunflower seed butter, soy butter, or pumpkin butter (3). The nutrient content of these substitutes is similar to peanut butter so the quantities will remain same and you will get the same benefits you were getting with the original menu item.

Some people have also substituted peanut butter with the same amount of hummus or bean dip, and it has worked well for them. The basic idea is to get the equal amount of dietary fat (good fat) for the body’s requirements to produce the optimum amount of ketones through ketosis.

3) Replace Bread With These Substitutes

People may not prefer eating bread for various reasons. They might not prefer eating bread because of allergies, and some may not eat it because they avoid eating gluten. No matter what your reason is, you can still lose weight using the military diet. If you are allergic to some grain, try eating the bread which doesn’t contain that grain (4, 5).

Multi-grain bread may contain a mix of various grains, so you can opt for the ones made with a single grain. If you are allergic to yeast, there are types bread in the market that have no yeast (6), and are produced based on naturally induced fermentation without using yeast. If you don’t want to consume any kind of bread because of whatever reason, you still can replace one bread with different food products like 1/5 oz of sunflower seeds, 3 oz yogurt with 2-3 grams of flax seeds, ½ bar of protein granola bar high in dietary fiber, 6 oz whole-grain cereal, etc.

You can choose the option that suits you best, and incorporate it into the military diet in place of bread according to your liking. Other substitutes are also available, like a single tortilla, 2 rice cakes, etc.

4) Military Diet Substitutions For Tuna

This is a diet with a lot of non-vegetarian items, and one of them is tuna. Now you might love tuna, or you might hate it, but that should not come in your way of losing 10 pounds in a week. The reasons for not eating tuna, for some people, might range from allergies to pure dislike. Some people may not like the tuna that is water-packed, but this diet has a very strict regime where you have to lower your fat consumption a lot, and oil-packed tuna is not the way to it.

If you don’t want to have tuna because it is water-packed and you don’t like its taste, you can replace it with grilled sushi grade tuna without changing the serving size. This has a better taste because it is grilled by using no to minimum fat. If you don’t want to have tuna altogether, you can replace it with other meats, like chicken and turkey breast of similar portion size.

For vegetarians, tofu is the best replacement here as it is full of protein (7, 8). It will provide you with the protein content but will lack omega-3 fatty acids present in tuna (9). For this you can eat a few almonds and/or peanuts, with tofu, to obtain all the required nutrients, which you would otherwise get from tuna. Try eating other fishes in place of tuna for the best results.

Fishes like mackerel and salmon have a high omega-3 fatty acids content, and will not deter the diet program much. 1 cup of tuna can be replaced with 4.5 oz of chicken, 500gms tofu, 350gms of cottage cheese, and a handful of peanuts and/or almonds. This replacement calculation is done according to the protein and calorie content of the replacement items.

5) Cottage Cheese Substitutes In Military Diet

Cottage cheese is a very important part of this diet, but both vegans and lactose intolerant people will restrain from consuming it. Not just these two groups, but there are also a set of people who dislike it. Well, this is not a big issue because cottage cheese has got a lot of replacements, both dairy and non-dairy, to cater to the needs of anyone refraining from eating cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a milk product that provides you with a good amount of protein, calcium, and dietary fat (11).

Tofu is just like cottage cheese, nutrient-wise; the only difference is that it is dairy-free, making it edible for a lot of people who live dairy-free. 100 grams of tofu has around 9 grams of protein (12), while 100 grams of cottage cheese has 11 grams of protein. When you replace cottage cheese with tofu, just make sure you have a little more of it. 400 grams of tofu would be good to replace a cup of cottage cheese.

There are other substitutions for cottage cheese, like ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, ham, etc. Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt have the same amount of protein as cottage cheese, so you don’t need to change the serving size when substituting with these items. When using ham, use half the quantity of cottage cheese, and when using eggs, replace one cup of cottage cheese with 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites to obtain similar nutrients. These food items will provide you with the almost same amount of nutrients in a similar proportion as the original menu item.

6) Substitute For Tea/Coffee

The importance given to coffee and tea in this diet is very high because of their caffeine content. It plays a big role in the weight-loss mechanism of the body, but its addiction has gripped the society so hard that its disadvantages are overlooked. However, having coffee or tea, for just the one week following this diet, is not a big deal and will do more good than harm to your body. The basic idea behind substituting coffee/tea is giving the body the required amount of caffeine to keep the military diet in place.

Now you must be thinking about Redbull, but mind you, Redbull and other such sources of caffeine contain a high amount of sugar, which will complicate the diet even more (13, 14). So, you should steer clear of such caffeine substitutes and look for healthier alternatives like green tea.

If you can not have coffee or tea, because of highly bitter taste, you can add stevia syrup to it, but make sure that you use only as much as required to get it down your throat, because most of the artificial sweeteners interfere with the diet in different ways. Stevia syrup is the best one recommended by dietitians and nutritionists to make any dish sweet (15).

If the case is to avoid coffee and tea completely, then your best bid is green tea. It contains fairly less amount of caffeine (almost 1/4th amount of the caffeine in tea.) This means you will have to have 4 cups of green tea as opposed to 1 cup of black tea. We would suggest only 2 cups of it because 4 cups of green tea are too much for the body to take in at one time. But if it suits your body to drink that much green tea, it will be better for your diet program, as you will get the same amount of caffeine as in one cup black tea or coffee.

7) Hot Dog Substitute In Military Diet

As this diet has mentioned simple hot-dogs, you must be wondering that it is a fast food item and is not healthy, as per any nutritionist’s standards. You are correct, but you should also know that the hot dogs mentioned here are only included in your diet for three days, which will not affect your body negatively. The nitrate content in hot dogs is high, which is the reason people look for substitutes of this menu item in the military diet.

The calories provided by 2 hot dogs are around 250-300 calories, and you will have to replace the hot-dogs with either its vegetarian substitute or some other healthier meat option with no preservatives. If you have no problem eating meat, but you are not inclined towards eating hot dogs because they are preserved and contain nitrates (16), you can replace them with other deli meat products, luncheon meat, baloney, turkey dogs, etc. To replace 2 hot dogs containing 250-300 calories, you will need about 100-120 grams of baloney, 70 grams of luncheon meat, 150 grams of turkey dog, and about 70-75 grams of deli meat. These amounts will provide you the same calories as 2 hot dogs, and if the diet mentions 1 hot dog, you need to consume half the amount mentioned for these replacement items.

For vegetarians and vegans, no kind of meat is an option, whether it is preserved or not. They can replace the hot dogs with other vegetarian items, like soy dogs or tofu dogs. These products will have a different composition than hot dogs, but if you consume the right amount, you can get very close to the nutrient ratio of the original food product. For 2 hot dogs, you can either have about 180 grams of soy dog or tofu dog. Other substitutes for vegetarians and vegans could be beans, portobello mushroom, lentils, etc. The amounts of all these items will differ to equal the calorie count. For every 2 hot dogs, you can have around 220 grams of lentils, 80 grams of beans or 550 grams of portobello mushroom.

8) Substitute For Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a very small component of this diet, and it is very easy to replace in case you do not prefer eating it. You can replace it with some other cheese that you might like, for example, mozzarella, Edam, Gouda, Emmental, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, etc. The quantities will remain same as cheddar in the original recipe.

If you do not want to have cheese because you are a vegan, lactose intolerant, or just don’t like cheese, we have still got you covered. There are other substitutes, which can replace cheddar and provide you the same amount of calories with a similar nutrient proportion. You can either use tofu, eggs, ham, or soy cheese. All these ingredients have a different composition than cheddar or other cheeses, but you can use these to your advantage if you consume them in the following quantities, as opposed to a slice of cheddar cheese, which is about an ounce. 200 grams of tofu, 1 whole egg, and one egg white (given that the eggs are medium sized,) 100 grams of ham, or 60 grams of soy cheese. These quantities are for replacing one slice of cheddar cheese; you can adjust the quantities according to the original item’s quantity.

9) Military Diet Substitutions For Eggs

Military diet is the kind of diet where you won’t have to give up on the food items you like. Some people love eggs and want to have them every day for breakfast, while others do not prefer it at all. The reason for not eating eggs could be because the person is vegetarian, or a vegan or they simply don’t like the taste. Eggs have a lot of benefits and have also been called as a very important part of a healthy diet if the amount consumed is controlled. They also have a lot of important nutrients from protein to dietary fat (17), and are a very crucial component of the military diet.

Eggs can be replaced with the substitutes to provide you with similar nutrition and calories, to keep up the diet and enjoy its effects. Some of the substitutes are milk, chicken wings, any nuts, or bacon. The quantity of these food products will differ to equal the nutrition provided by one medium egg.

One egg can be replaced by either a cup of milk, ¼th cup of any nuts, 2 slices of bacon, or a chicken wing (18). You may not want to prefer having chicken wings early in the morning for breakfast, so it is suggested to use any other substitute.

10) Substitutes For Carrot And Broccoli

Carrots and broccoli are very safe items to put on the menu because you will hardly find any people with an allergy to these food items. Vegetarians and vegans will also eat broccoli and carrots happily, and they’re not an issue for most of the religions out there, either. Having said that, there could be only one major reason for not eating these two food items- dislike for their taste.

100 grams of carrot will contain about only 41 calories, which come from complex carbohydrates (with dietary fibers,) very little protein, and negligible dietary fat (19). This diet contains 170 grams of carrots containing around 70 calories, which can easily be replaced with 400 grams of squash, celery, 170 grams of beets, 100 grams of parsnip, or 350 grams of bell pepper.

Broccoli is the one less preferred by people as some people think it’s too bland for their palette. This reason should not stop you from losing weight. A serving of broccoli in this diet is 170 grams, which will provide you with around 60 calories. You can replace this with about 260 grams of spinach, 240 grams of cauliflower, 300 grams of asparagus, or 130 grams of Brussels sprouts.

11) Substituting Apples

“An apple a day keep the doctor away,” this is true in a lot of ways, as apples have been considered one of the healthiest fruits (20). Some people do not like the taste of apples, or the availability of good-quality apples in their area might be very low. This is a contributing reason why you may have to replace them with another fruit to obtain the similar calories and to keep up the diet and lose weight.

You can look for other fruits if apple is not your choice, like dried apricots, plums, grapes, peaches, etc. These should provide the same nutrition as apples in this diet. This diet includes a small-sized apple, which will be about 120-130 grams and will provide you with around 65 calories. Instead of apple, you can eat about 160 grams of peaches, 140 grams of plums, 95 grams of grapes, 110 grams of pear, or 30 grams of dried apricots. All these fruits have a similar composition as apples and will help you boost your diet, and kill the monotony.

12) Replacing Saltine Crackers

Saltine crackers are a small part of this diet and can be easily replaced with any other crackers, which are either multigrain or whole-grain. Another thing to keep in mind is that the replacement is gluten-free. Nutritionists have said that the perfect substitute for saltine crackers are rice cakes. Other alternatives could be plain whole/multigrain toast or whole-grain cereal. Each saltine cracker contains around 12-13 calories, as it weighs about 3 grams.

The diet has 5 saltine crackers mentioned in one serving, which will provide about 65 calories. To replace them, you need to consume the alternatives in an amount that will provide you with a similar amount of calories. You can either have 16 grams of rice cakes, 1 regular toast, or 130 grams of whole-grain cereal.

13) Substituting Vanilla Ice Cream

Why would you want to replace ice cream when you are losing weight by eating it? Some people may not be allowed to eat ice cream because of tooth sensitivity, some may think ice creams are too cold for them (again tooth sensitivity, but in denial.) There are also vegans who prefer their ice creams dairy-free. All these reasons may deprive you of the good stuff known as “the ice cream,” but you can eat alternatives that provide you the same nutrition.

Vegans can replace it with ice cream made with coconut milk. The quantity will remain the same. Other replacements can be apple juice, almond milk, fruit yogurt, etc. 2½ cups apple juice, 3 cups almond milk, or 9 oz of fruit yogurt will be perfect to replace the serving of vanilla ice cream in the diet menu.

Military Diet Grocery List

These replacement menu items will help you lose weight, and at the same time, they will be in line with your dietary preferences. The list below will help you find out the products that you need to buy before starting a military diet. The original item is mentioned first along with the replacement items.

  1. Grapefruit: Baking soda and stevia syrup (optional)
  2. Water-packed tuna: Grilled sushi grade tuna, mackerel, salmon, chicken/turkey breast, or tofu. Almonds/peanuts (additional for tofu.)
  3. Peanut butter/almond butter: Sunflower seed butter, almond butter, soy butter, or pumpkin butter.
  4. Tea and coffee: Green tea and stevia syrup (optional)
  5. Wholegrain/multi-grain bread: Sunflower seeds, yogurt, flax seeds, high-protein granola bar, whole-grain cereal.
  6. Apple: Peach, pear, plum, grapes, dried apricots.
  7. Vanilla ice- cream (made with coconut milk is preferred): Almond milk, fruit yogurt, apple juice.
  8. Eggs: Milk, chicken wings, nuts, tofu.
  9. Saltine crackers: Rice cakes, plain toast, whole-grain cereal.
  10. Cottage cheese: Ricotta cheese, eggs, yogurt, ham, tofu.
  11. Hot dog: Baloney, luncheon meat, turkey dog, deli meat, beans, portobello mushroom, lentils, soy and tofu dogs.
  12. Broccoli: Spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts.
  13. Carrot: Squash, beets, parsnip, celery, bell pepper.
  14. Cheddar cheese slices: Mozzarella, Edam, Emmental, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, tofu, eggs, ham, soy cheese.

[ Also Read: HCG Diet Plan: Does it Work? ]


Military diet is a great and a very healthy way to lose weight, and the best part is you get to eat hot dogs and ice cream on this diet. It is also one of the quickest methods to lose weight, and it is most effective when you have the original items mentioned in the military diet menu. Your reasons to substitute these items may differ, but you have to understand that the efficacy of the diet will be affected if you use include the replacement items. The more the substitutes, the less effective the diet becomes. Make sure you substitute the food items only when it is absolutely necessary to get the best results out of the military diet. In the end, remember, you have to believe in yourself and realize that no transformation happens overnight. Dieting is the only game where you win when you ‘lose,’ so stop wishing and start doing.

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