3 Day Military Diet Substitutions [Free Download]

The 3-day diet is one of the most popular fast weight loss diets around.

The diet also goes by the name of the military diet, banana diet, ice cream diet or the Navy diet.

One of the things that makes this 3-day military diet so popular is the diet’s simplicity.

The military diet menu takes a straightforward approach to fast weight loss. It comes with a full 3-day menu that tells you exactly what to eat and how much.

Since each meal is pre-set, there is no need for guessing or measuring.

All it takes to succeed on this diet is to follow just as it’s laid out. It’s truly one of the easiest and simplest diets to follow.

Not only that, this 3-day diet is extremely short, only lasting for 3 days.

Just by sticking this diet menu, it’s claimed to help you lose 10 pounds or 4.5 kg.

It sounds pretty remarkable, and it is, but there is a catch.

The catch is the menu is already set.

While that may be okay for some, it leaves out people with dietary restrictions and allergy.

What if you can’t eat dairy? What if you are a vegetarian or vegan? Can you still do this diet?

Of what if you simply don’t want to eat some of the foods on the meal plan?

In other words, people are often put off by the restrictions on the military diet food list. It’s a rigid plan that doesn’t meet different dietary needs and food allergies.

But have no fear. We have a list of substitutions.

It addresses the need of some dieters who want to give this 30-day diet a try but couldn’t because of their dietary restrictions.

We created this military diet substitution to help work around your food choices.

We carefully picked the alternatives and substitutes for their similar nutritional profile.

Obviously, the suggestion is to go with the original plan as much as you can, but should you need to substitute, here they are.

To substitute, just replace the foods you don’t want with the ones you can eat from the list below.

Military Diet Substitutions

Military Diet Substitutions

How to Use the Military Diet Substitutions

Rule 1: The first rule is to only use this list of substitutions when absolutely needed, and don’t attempt to swap out the entire menu as it may potentially hinder your weight loss on this diet. Try to only substitute the foods you can’t eat.

Rule 2: It is strongly recommended that foods you are swapping are almost equal in the number of calories. This prevents accidentally over-consuming calories and gets mixed weight loss results at the end.

Rule 3: When you are swapping foods, don’t go by the food portion. Go with calories. 1 cup of tuna may not necessarily be equal to 1 cup of nuts in terms of calories. The portion may be the same, but calories would be different between those two foods since it would only take 20 nuts to amount to the calories of 1 cup tuna. 

What’s important here is the number of calories. Replace each food with an allowed alternative for a similar amount of calories. 

Be sure to take calories into consideration when choosing a replacement.

Military Diet Substitutions List

You can follow the list of food substitutes below to create a lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian 3-day military diet menu.

Find the Food Substitutes for:  
Coffee Bananas
Grapefruit Saltine Cracker
Tuna Hot Dogs
Vanilla Ice Cream Carrots
Peanut Butter Broccoli
Eggs Meat
Whole Wheat Bread Apple
Cottage Cheese Green Beans

1. Coffee Substitutes

Coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine per cup. Although tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, it brings alertness as coffee would. The best tea for that is green tea. Alternatively, you may drink sugar-free hot chocolate. Or better yet, use a pure cocoa powder with no sugar for hot cocoa. 

The best coffee alternatives include:

  • Green tea 
  • Optional: Non-sugar hot chocolate

2. Grapefruit Substitutes

Eating half of a grapefruit before meals can lead to significant weight loss.

According to a study, it has a great effect on lowering insulin levels and improving insulin resistance. Needless to say, grapefruit has a reason to be on the diet menu, and it should really stay if there is no urgency to replace it. 

But if you must, the best substitute for the grapefruit is apple cider vinegar water, which you can make by combining ½ tsp apple cider vinegar with warm water or lemon water. 

These are the two best grapefruit substitutions. 

Although it may sound more logical to replace fruit with another fruit, all fruits differ in carbs and calorie content, which doesn’t always make them a preferred choice as a replacement.

For a grapefruit replacement, stick with apple cider vinegar water. 

3. Tuna Substitutes

Tuna, a protein-rich and omega-3 containing seafood is no stranger to a diet plan. Not surprisingly, on this 3-day military diet plan, it makes its appearance a couple of times. 

But that doesn’t mean tuna is a favorite high protein food for many. 

If that’s you, you can replace tuna with other fish like salmon that’s not too high in mercury and low in calories. 

Those fish are also one of the best sources of vitamin D food you can eat. 

As for the serving size, stay at the same portion of canned tuna/salmon to get the same calorie count.

If you must, other lean meat like turkey and chicken would be an ok choice, but the preferred choice is still fish. 

If you’re a vegetarian, substitutes for tuna include:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts 

Keep in mind that calorie count from those foods should be around the same as what you’d find in the tuna.   

4. Vanilla Ice Cream Substitutes

I’m not really sure if anyone has ever wanted to opt-out on the vanilla ice cream, but in case you happen to be someone who dislikes ice cream or can’t have it for whatever reason, here are a few other good options for you. 

For vegetarians and vegans, you can do non-dairy vanilla ice cream. A scoop for a scoop. Unfortunately, you won’t score an extra scoop by skipping dairy. 

You can also substitute this with Greek yogurt or vanilla frozen yogurt. 

Be sure to check the calorie count on your replacement item. One scoop of typical vanilla ice cream is about 90 calories. You should stay around that too. 

5. Peanut Butter Substitutes

Nut allergy is more common than you think. Even if you are not but one of your family members is, then you might not want to bring in tree nuts into the kitchen for their health and safety. 

Luckily, you may replace peanut butter with a few other plant-based bread spread.

Here are some: 

  • Almond butter
  • soy butter
  • Hummus (be careful hummus can be really high in calories)
  • pumpkin butter
  • sunflower seed butter

6. Eggs

Eggs are one of the healthiest and nutritious foods you can eat. They are a great source of high-quality protein containing around 6 g of protein and all sorts of vitamins and nutrients often lacking in the modern diet.

Eggs indeed are a weight loss friendly food you can count on. 

But for those who want to avoid going over the fences, you can replace your egg with:

  • Tofu
  • chicken
  • nuts
  • Turkey 

In one egg, there are about 78 calories. 

7. Whole Wheat Bread Substitutes

The whole wheat bread is a frequent food in this 3-day military diet.

Which means, it should only be substituted if absolutely necessary. 

Other alternatives to the whole wheat toast for whole wheat bread are:

  • ½ cup whole wheat/grain cereal
  • Brown rice cake

8. Cottage Cheese Substitutes

Cottage cheese can be best replaced by cheddar cheese. It also has a few non-dairy, vegetarian swap options like:

  • Soy Cheese
  • Soy Milk
  • Tofu

9. Banana Substitutes

Bananas are the only food showing up every day on this 3-day diet. That’s more than grapefruits. 

Although calories in a banana are higher than many other fruits, bananas are still weight loss friendly. 

They provide satiety and are a rich source of potassium and vitamin B6. 

But if needed, replace banana with one of these options: 

  • 1 cup papaya 
  • 2 kiwis 
  • 2 apricots

To substitute ½ banana, the portion for other alternatives should behalf. 

10. Substitute for Saltine Crackers

One saltine cracker is about 13 calories. Substitutes allowed under this diet are gluten-free crackers like rice cakes. I personally like Mary’s Gone Crackers. They are gluten-free and have nutritious ingredients like quinoa and seeds. They provide far more nutritional values than other crackers.  

11. Hot Dogs Substitutes

There are certain items on the 3-day menu like bananas and grapefruits that are highly suitable for a fast diet, but hot dogs are something that doesn’t seem to add much to the diet, nutritionally. 

Especially for those on a vegetarian diet, paleo diet, or gluten-free diet, these hot dog substitutions are a must. 

Depending on your dietary preference, pick an item from the following list: 

  • Turkey dogs
  • Deli meat
  • Bratwurst
  • Luncheon meat

Here are some of the vegetarian options you can use:

  • Soy dogs
  • Tofu dogs
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Beans
  • Lentils

12. Carrot Substitutes

Carrots can be replaced by the following substitutes:

  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Squash
  • Parsnip
  • Bell pepper

13. Broccoli Substitutes

Green vegetables below make the best substitutes for broccoli:

  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower

14. Meat Substitutes

3 oz of meat on the menu is really your choice. You can have chicken, beef, turkey, or even pork, but if you are looking for some vegetarian-friendly options, pick one from the following:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Portobello mushrooms

15. Apple Substitutes

Apples are a great tasting fruit that even earned a saying “one apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This goes without saying that you should really keep this fruit on the menu if possible. But if you must, here are some apple replacements you can pick from: 

  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Zucchini

16. Green Beans Substitute

Last but not least, green bean alternatives include tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce. 

Remember, these substitution options are only there to accommodate your allergy and dietary preferences. They are not meant to be free swap options for the 3-day military diet as too many changes may alter your weight loss results. 

Final Thoughts

The military diet is simple and easy to follow a weight loss diet. If you’re looking for a diet that’s easy to help you lose weight, this diet can help. 

It’s helped many people lose weight quickly. 

If you have any food allergy and don’t like some of the items on the original military diet grocery list, use the substitution list above to swap some of the foods to more suitable options for your personal needs. 

The important thing here is to stay within the calorie range provided by the military diet.

Misato Alexandre

Co-Founder

After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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