What you soon find out when doing research on wheat flour is that there are alternative flours that make food just as good (if not better). When trying to figure out what to eat and what not to eat (when trying to get rid of the inches), there two are at the top of the not-to-eat list:
- Anything processed
Usually the two are together – like in processed bread you buy at the store. Processed flour + sugar + a few preservatives (the names of which you cannot pronounce) = the packaged bread you usually purchase at the neighborhood market.
What they forgot to tell you is that those packaged breads will never help you lose weight. No. Not even those so called “wheat” breads (the brown ones). Why? Without going into a lengthy debate on the upsides or downsides of GMO's (genetically modified organisms), there does seem to be growing evidence that GMO wheat is not good for you. (Look up “controversy over GMO's” and “GMO's and your health” if you want to know more).
It is very evident that processed sugars are not good for your health. So what ARE you supposed to eat?
The good news is that there are many alternative foods that you can cook with – that are not processed and are good to eat. If you want a free book with all kinds of information on food choices – this is a good place to start.
Can you learn to cook with some healthy alternatives? I think so. You may not like all of them (just because of personal preferences), but you will like some of them. We start you off with 3 alternative flours to wheat flour.
Alternative Flour 1: ALMOND FLOUR
Blanched almond flour is a low-carb, gluten-free baking alternative to wheat flour. Made of almonds (and only almonds), which are first blanched to remove their skins and ground to a very fine consistency, it behaves similarly to all-purpose flour in baking. In fact, our almond flour is one of the finest grinds you'll ever encounter. Packed with protein and fiber, your baked goods have never looked better or been better for you!
4 Health Benefits of Almond Flour
1) Protein Powerhouse: Almond flour is high in protein (1 serving has 6 grams of protein compared to 5.5 grams in one egg) and low in carbohydrates and sugar. This makes it an attractive option for customers on paleo or low-carb diets. Furthermore, the protein is great for maintaining and building healthy muscles.
2) Heart-Healthy: 64% of the fats found in almonds are monounsaturated fats and according to the American Heart Association, these fats help lower harmful cholesterol as effectively as expensive pharmaceutical drugs in addition to lowering the risk of heart disease.
3) Protective Antioxidants: One ounce of almonds has 35% of your daily recommended value of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. According to The Journal of the American Association (2002), the high vitamin E content of almonds has been linked to protecting against Alzheimer's disease.
4) Minerals and More: Along with being a rich source of protein, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants, the flour also contains high amounts of calcium, iron, and dietary fiber, nutrients that people with gluten-free diets sometimes lack.
A Gluten-Free, Grain Free Flour
Almond flour is particularly popular with customers on gluten-free diets, as it serves almost all of the same uses as wheat flour. It can even be used as a one-to-one replacement for all-purpose flour in baking. Many gluten-free cookbooks feature the flour prominently in their recipes, as do many almond flour recipes on our site. Our blanched almond flour is Certified Gluten-Free.
Compared to other flours, almond flour is especially flavorful, with a nutty taste that works well with many other foods. It produces baked goods that are especially light and moist. It's also very easy to use, and doesn't require any sifting or kneading.
Even if you're not on a gluten free or low carb diet, give this unique flour a try and you won't be disappointed by the nutty flavor, delicate undertones, and the moist yet light baking products that result from its use. It'll be a refreshing difference from your everyday flours.
How To Use Almond Flour for Cooking and Baking
Almond flour is a popular alternative flour due to its subtly sweet taste, high nutrition content, and low-carb attributes. To use it as a substitute for wheat flour, replace the indicated amount of wheat flour in the recipe with the same quantity of almond flour. Baked goods made from almond flour should sit longer once removed from the oven because of their more delicate nature.
Almond Flour Baked Goods
Use this versatile flour as a base in baked goods such as:
- Almond Flour Pancakes
- Almond Flour Muffins
- Almond Flour Cookies
- Gluten-Free Almond Cake
- Blueberry Crumb Bars
…and more. It can also be used to coat meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. This product may also be referred to as almond powder, and just like your favorite superfood powders, it can be added to smoothies for a nutrient boost.
Look for an Almond Flour Banana Bread Recipe to get you started using an alternative flour at the bottom of this post…
Alternative Flour 2: TAPIOCA FLOUR
The Perfect Thickener
Tapioca flour is one of the most popular thickeners, and rightly so. It thickens at a low temperature and retains its consistency when frozen, making it easy to use in many recipes. Tapioca flour thickens so quickly that it can sometimes be used to correct the thickness of sauces right before serving!
When used as a thickener, tapioca flour becomes a clear, glossy gel – the perfect sheen for your dish. It is starchy and chewy, with a neutral taste that won't compete with the other flavors in a recipe. Because our tapioca flour is a fine powder, it will dissolve with a uniform consistency, unlike tapioca pearls.
How to Use Tapioca Flour
1) Substitute for cornstarch: Use 2 tbsp tapioca flour for each 1 tbsp cornstarch.
2) Thickener for soups and gravies: Stir in tapioca flour once your dish is almost finished cooking. The amount of tapioca flour needed will vary depending on the desired consistency.
3) Pie fillings: Perfect for making pies, tapioca flour remains stable when frozen, thickens at low temperatures and imparts a glossy sheen.
4) Baking ingredient: Tapioca flour is often an ingredient in gluten-free baking blends, and you’ll see it in many baking recipes since it adds the chew that gluten-free baked goods often lack. It works best in combination with other gluten-free flours.
Is Tapioca Flour Gluten-Free?
Yes, tapioca flour is gluten-free. Although the cassava plant is very starchy, it’s also naturally gluten-free, which makes tapioca flour a common ingredient in all kinds of baked goods.
Tapioca Flour vs. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing; the names can be used interchangeably.
Alternative Flour 3: COCONUT FLOUR
What Is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is made from ground-up, dried coconut meat. Our coconut flour is 100% all-natural, organic and unsweetened, although the natural sugars in the coconut make the flour mildly sweet. Some consider coconut flour just as tasty as wheat flour, if not tastier, and it has the advantage of being completely gluten-free. Also, organic coconut flour contains more fiber than any other flour, making it especially filling and a popular choice for those trying to lose weight.
Tips for Baking with Coconut Flour
1) Coconut flour behaves differently than wheat flours. It cannot be used as a one-to-one replacement for wheat flours, and generally works best in combination with other gluten-free flours.
2) Substitute 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of wheat flour as a general rule of thumb in baking.
3) Coconut flour is HIGHLY absorbent. Typically, recipes using coconut flour require more moisture, which can be provided by eggs, oils, and other liquids.
4) Scoop, don’t pack. To measure coconut flour, scoop it up with a measuring cup and level it off with a knife. It’s best to avoid packing it into the cup.
Coconut Flour Health Benefits
1) 100% Gluten-Free: Coconut flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a popular ingredient for those who have gluten allergies or want to eliminate gluten from their diet. It has a naturally high nutritional content which makes it an excellent substitution for wheat flours.
2) Protein Powerhouse: With 14 grams of protein per 100 grams of flour, organic coconut flour contains more protein than white, wheat, rye flour, and cornmeal flours. Protein is an important component in building and maintaining healthy muscles.
3) Full of Fiber: Organic coconut flour contains 43 grams of fiber per 100 grams of coconut flour: double the amount found in wheat bran. Fiber helps sustain the feeling of fullness and helps slow the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream.
4) Heart-Healthy: A 2006 study published in Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies found that the fiber content present in coconut flour is effective at lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.
5) Helps to Regulate Spikes in Blood Sugar: Fiber-rich foods such as coconut flour tend to have a low glycemic index because they are better at regulating blood sugar levels. A 2003 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that using increased amounts of coconut flour in baked goods lowered the glycemic index of the foods.
So as you can surmise, the power of alternative flours will energize your taste buds and your day! We will bring you more information about using alternative flours in future recipes.
An Almond Flour Banana Bread Recipe to get you started using an alternative flour.
“For anyone trying to avoid wheat/grain products, this is for you! A yummy, nutty bread that is wonderful for breakfast and snacks.”
- cooking spray
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Prepare a bread pan with cooking spray.
- Mix eggs and vinegar together in a bowl; add bananas, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract and stir until blended.
- Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl; stir into banana mixture until well blended. Pour batter into prepared bread pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
What brand of alternative flours do I buy? I have had really good results with Bob's Red Mill flours. They have many choices. You can search on organic and gluten free on their site.
We hope you have enjoyed this article on alternative flours for cooking (and eating!). May it give you hope that you can eat health and well. 🙂 If you want to avoid flour altogether – you can check out this recipe for Did You Think You Could Eat This Awesome Flourless Fudge Cookie on a Diet? . Or maybe 90 second almond flour bread in a mug – Simple & Delish 90 Second Microwave Keto Bread in a Mug
Want to shortcut figuring out where to start and what is really healthy to eat – this free book is a great place to start.
Attributions – nuts.com
Photo- whitney-wright-286731-unsplash, irina-kostenich-634491-unsplash, elle-hughes-483782-unsplash, elle-hughes-483782-unsplash
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