10 Simple Paleo Swaps for the Standard American Diet (Plus: Free 15 Recipe Guide)

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

092919 Copy 800X675 1 | 10 Simple Paleo Swaps For The Standard American Diet (Plus: Free 15 Recipe Guide)

Faves Friday is all about catching up with what you missed on the blog this week, PLUS sharing some of my latest tips, tricks and things I am totally digging right now (that you SHOULD totally know) in order to thrive more in your own life.

Today we’re talking: Making healthy eating work for YOU (and your fam and friends). Here’s how to:

(1.) Educate them on 10 Simple Healthy Changes they (TOO) can make in their nutrition

(2.) 10 Simple Ways to Talk to Them About Healthy Eating

(I’ve got your back).

Before we get to the fun, here’s what you about and what you missed this week on the blog…


Body Fat Loss

Monday 14 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss – Part 1 

Tuesday 14 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss – Part 2 

Wednesday  Travel Workouts (You Can Even Do in the Airport) 

Thursday  Surviving the Holidays in Eating Disorder Recovery 

Friday 15 Healthy Holiday Recipes (to Even Impress Junk Food Lovers) 


Alright, now onto “Faves”…

Today, with Christmas T-minus 2 days away, I am sharing some last minute holiday meal and snack ideas to throw together (and impress the crowd) in no time at all—all in my downloadable Thrive Holiday Recipe Guide.

15 EASY PEASY fresh new recipes (to mix up the traditional fare—move over turkey, green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole—like everyone else). Try these instead:


  • Crispy Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots/Celery + Homemade Ranch
  • Pepperoni Chips + Guacamole


  • Classic Roasted Chicken
  • Baked Herb Salmon with Cranberry Chutney
  • Bison Steak

Side Options:

  • Cinnamon & Pumpkin Spice Dusted Butternut Squash (or Sweet Potatoes)
  • Cauliflower Mash
  • “Cheesy” Broccoli
  • Simple Roasted Asparagus
  • Sauteed Spinach


  • Carrot Cake
  • Lemon Bars
  • Peppermint Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Custard

Download your Free Holiday Recipe Guide HERE. ( *Trust me, Cousin Eddy won’t know the difference). 

All these recipes combine FLAVOR + FRESHNESS + NOURISHMENT to create a pleasant dining experience (even for the “non-healthy” food lovers at your table).

CONVINCE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO EAT REAL-FOOD (No convincing really needed at all). 

While these dishes may fool the Mac & Cheese, Chinese takeout and sugar-lovers at your dinner table… think back to the time when eating real food seemed overwhelming (like it probably does to them).

You thought it was boring, bland and hard to do.

You closed your ears with both fingers when someone tried to tell you all about healthy eating.


If not, allow me to refresh your memory with 10 SIMPLE REAL-FOOD FOOD SWAPS ( paleo friendly) for old standbys of foods many of your resistant friends and family know and love…PLUS 10 simple ways you can both educate and inspire your guests this holiday season to lead healthier lives themselves.


Spaghetti Squash Pasta

1. Old Eat: Dairy

Swap: Almond & Coconut Based Dairy Alternatives

  • Almond Milk, Coconut Milk. Reach for an additive-free, simple ingredient based non-dairy milk, or make your own. Avoid soy. My faves:
    • Malk Almond or Cashew Milk
    • Native’s Forrest Coconut Milk
  • Cheese
    • Grassfed, Organic Full-fat Cheese
  • Ice-Cream
    • Homemade
  • Yogurt
    • Coconut Coyo Yogurt or Kokonut
    • Grass-fed, Organic Full-Fat Plain Yogurt
    • Sheep’s Yogurt

If you do do dairy, reach for a grass-fed, organic whole-fat source

Real Food Swaps

Recipes to Try:


2. Old Eat: Bread

Swap: Coconut or Almond Flour-based to avoid gut-irritating grains

Recipes to Try:

Coconut Flour Tortillas Substitute

3. Old Eat: Granola Bars

Swap: Real-food Ingredient Bars

Recipes to Try:


4. Old Eat: Canola Oil, Margarine & Vegetable Oil

Swap: Non-hydrogenated Oils & Fats

  • Ghee
  • Coconut Oil
  • Grass-fed Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Recipes to Try:


5. Old Eat: Refined White Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners

Swap: ‘Real’ sugar options

  • Raw Honey
  • Fruit
  • Stevia
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Carob Powder

Recipes to Try:

Paleo Cookies

6. Old Eat: Peanut Butter, Peanuts

Swap: Non-legumes, Natural Raw Soaked Nuts

  • Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Raw Nuts
  • Bulk-Section Trailmixes (no added oils, with 1 dried fruit or coconut flakes)

7. Old Eat: Pasta, Rice, Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes

Swap: Veggie Noodles & Sides

  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Butternut Noodles
  • Capellos Almond Flour-based Pasta

Recipes to Try:

Paleo Butternut Squash


8. Old Eat: Pastries, Donuts, Muffins & Bagels, Pancakes

Swap: Coconut Flour, Almond Flour, Cassava Flour

Recipes to Try:

Paleo Pancakes


9. Old Eat: Standard Condiments

Swap: Avocado-oil Based, No high-fructose corn syrup, Olive-oil, No sugar added condiments, like:

Recipes to Try:

Real Food


10. Old Eat: Chips, Crackers

Swap: Nut/Seed-based, Cassava Flour, Veggies, like:

Recipes to Try:

Paleo Crackers



Paleo Dinner Party

1.Be the change. Live your life and do your thing, Lead by example.

2. Seek to understand first, then to be understood. Listen to their concerns and struggles (why do they say it’s so hard to do)

3. No Jerry Springer. Don’t stir up controversy over food or tell others what they should be doing.

4. Cook Good Food. Prepare a dish or two to showcase how delicious coconut-flour pancakes really can be, or how spaghetti squash pasta has much more flavor than bland noodles.

5. Keep it simple. No need to talk about “juicing”, zinc deficiency or making your own bone broth. Sometimes such thoughts or changes can be overwhelming to your average “consumer.” Keep things light with simple meal plans, grocery lists and other resources to help make healthy eating practical.

6. One Small Thing. In line with point 5, encourage friends and family to think of ONE small habit or change they can adopt for their healthy eating habits this week. (One thing at a time).

7. Spice it up. The majority of culture views healthy food in a very “black and white” sense: Cardboard rice cakes and bland egg whites. Reveal to them that healthy eating is anything BUT non-palatable. Coach them up or invite them into the kitchen to doctor up old standbys for new staples (that are tasty)–like pizza, tacos, or muffins (all above).

8. Educate. There’s also a TON of misconceptions around how food works in the body. Fat makes you fat right? Carbs store in your thighs, right? Protein makes you bulk up? Go meat free! Help please up the confusion. Point them here to the blog for daily insights, debunking old-school beliefs.

9. Stay Positive. Encourage them in their efforts–even if their efforts don’t quite fit the total health bill (“I’ve cut back to 2 Diet Cokes/a day as opposed to 8″…Or, “I am choosing soy over regular milk”). They are trying…continue to educate and guide.

10. Surprise. Occasionally surprise them with something straight from your heart to theirs–A batch of paleo-friendly cookies, or invite them over for dinner, or out to lunch as a real-food friendly cafe. Build community and fellowship around good food and let the food work the magic.

Don’t forget to download your Free (Last-Minute) Easy Holiday Recipe Guide HERE. 

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