Diet and Nutrition

Military Diet Substitutions

Military Diet Substitutions

Trying the military diet can be a choice to lose weight. The military diet is among the newest dieting trends today, and it is surprisingly simple and easy to do. The most confusing thing about it is the diet pattern to follow for the next few days. The military diet requires you to eat from a set food plan for three days. Sometimes, you may find some food items that you cannot eat for various reasons.

So, what should you do? This is where military diet substitutions come in. You can eat some foods as a substitute so you can still stick to the diet plan.

What Is the Military Diet?

Before we go into food substitutes, it is important to first get a basic sense of what the military diet is.

There is actually no information on who started or created this diet pattern. The military diet calls for three days of eating a set food plan and this food plan contains fewer calories than you need for a day. Then, it is followed by four days of normal eating. The diet promises to remove around 10 pounds from your body within a week.

The main focus of the military diet is to limit the number of calories you consume during the 3-day diet plan. In addition, you must stick to a food plan that contains the food you should eat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner for three days. This food plan is set and you must not eat other types of food. Military diet calories amount to only 1,400 in the first day, 1,200 calories on the second, and 1,100 calories on the third day. The number of calories in this type of diet are far less than the recommended calorie intake for both men and women.

The military diet may work because it allows you to take only a few calories. This deficit may help cause the body to burn its own fat and cause weight loss. It will make you feel starved and cranky, so you must be determined and prepared.

The diet itself will only last for three days. Just three days is all you need to lose some pounds. Here is the set menu that you must eat for the next three days:

Day 1


  • ½ grapefruit
  • 1 slice of toast (whole wheat bread) with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup coffee or tea


  • ½ cup tuna
  • 1 slice toast (whole grain again)
  • 1 cup coffee, tea, or water


  • 3 oz. meat (any meat of choice, but please do not select fatty cuts of meat)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • ½ banana
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Day 2


  • 1 egg, cooked any style
  • 1 slice toast
  • ½ banana


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 5 pcs. saltine crackers


  • 2 pcs. hot dogs without buns
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • ½ cup carrots (cooked or raw it is up to you)
  • ½ cup banana
  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream

Day 3 (The Last Day)


  • 5 pcs. saltine crackers
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese (typical thin slice, not a chunk) 
  • 1 small apple


  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 slice toast


  • 1 cup tuna
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream

You can greatly increase the chances of success by simply following the diet plan to the letter. This will prove difficult to most people, as portions are small and often not satisfying. However, it is the only way to make your body burn its own fat and lose weight. In some sense, the military diet works like intermittent fasting, which works by suddenly subjecting the body to a sudden loss of calories so it uses up its own blood sugar and fat. In the same manner, the sudden reduction of calorie supply in the military diet may do the same thing.

Compared to other diets that compel you to eat only certain foods such as cabbages or lemons, the military diet has some variety and contains all the nutrients you need. Moreover, you are only required to stick to the restrictive diet for three days. Thus, having nutrient deficiencies are very unlikely to happen. Exercise is also NOT a requirement, but you can still do so if you want to. Lastly, the military diet does not require you to purchase or use expensive supplements or herbal products just to lose weight.

Military Diet

Why Do I Have to Know Substitute Foods?

It is quite simple. Some people are not able to eat some of the items in the military diet. Remember that to lose weight, you must stick to the set food plan. So, if you are unable to eat one or more of the foods that are part of the military diet, you can instead use one of the substitutes and still stick to the diet. You can also use substitutes if you simply don’t like eating certain items such as tuna or grapefruit. Another reason why substitutes exist is to cater to vegetarians and those who are lactose-intolerant or cannot eat gluten. In these cases, they cannot eat meat, ice cream, cheese, or bread.

In using substitute foods, it is the calorie counts that really matter, not the serving sizes. Therefore, you should eat portions that have the same calorie counts to the original food plan. However, food substitutions can be tricky. For example, the same slice of bread has a different calorie count compared to the same amount of rice. 


What Can I Substitute for Tuna in the Military Diet?

Some people do not like to eat canned tuna. Some are allergic to tuna. If you do not like tuna in cans, you can eat fresh tuna instead. Simply cook it grilled or boiled. Try sashimi if you are brave enough. Drained tuna from the can has the same calories as fresh tuna.

If tuna is not your thing, you can replace it with other fresh fishes. If you do not like fish at all, you can eat the same amount of cottage cheese, chicken (no skin), lean pork or beef, or the same amount of peanuts, tofu, or almonds.

Substitutes for Green Beans

Green beans are chock-full of protein and fiber, but it is very likely you will not want to eat them often. Maybe you had plenty of green bean casserole or stewed green beans last week. If you cannot stand green beans, you can replace them with the same amount of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, or another green vegetable.

Substitutes for Meat

You can substitute meat if you have decided not to eat meat during the 3-day military diet. Vegans and vegetarians choose not to eat meat. Some good meat alternatives include beans, lentils, tofu, and mushrooms. You can choose to eat slightly more or the same amount, which has fewer calories.

Substitutes for Carrots

You can eat carrots boiled or raw. Like green beans, carrots are tasty and nutritious, but you don’t want to eat them often. Instead, you can eat the same amount of squash, parsnip (roasted parsnips are tasty), celery, or bell peppers.

Substitutes for Cheddar and Cottage Cheese

Cheese is a good source of complete protein. However, you might not be able to eat cheese due to lactose intolerance or if you are vegan. If you can eat dairy but not cheese, you can substitute with an ounce of plain or unflavored Greek yogurt, soy cheese, or soy milk. A slice of cheddar can be substituted by an egg or a slice of ham. If you are vegan, you can get your calcium from half a cup of shredded cabbage or a block of tofu.

Substitutes for Hot Dogs

Some people just don’t like eating hot dogs. You can eat an equal amount of sausages, turkey dogs, bratwurst, luncheon meat, deli meat, or bologna. Vegetarian options include tofu dogs and soy dogs.

If sausages and other cylindrical-shaped foods are not your thing, then you can eat beans, lentils, or mushrooms instead. Since two hot dogs have around 300 calories, you can eat 1/3 cup beans or lentils. You can also eat as much as 2 cups of low-calorie mushrooms.

Egg Substitutes

Eggs are good and contain healthy amounts of fats and proteins. Eggs are not high in calories as long as you don’t fry them. However, you may not be able to eat eggs if you are allergic to them or if you are vegan. Some good substitutes for an egg include a cup of milk, a chicken wing, or two slices of bacon. You can also eat ¼ cup of seeds or nuts as a vegan option.

Apple Substitutes

Some people experience gas or constipation from apples. If you don’t like apples, you can eat equal quantities of fresh plums, pears, peaches, grapes, or zucchini. You can also eat a small handful of dried apricots.

Vanilla Ice Cream Substitute

Not all people want a vanilla-flavored ice cream, especially if they don’t appreciate the natural flavor of vanilla. Instead, you can eat a cup of yogurt or drink 1 cup of apple juice. If you don’t want dairy, a cup of almond milk will work just fine.

Saltine Crackers

Those who are gluten-sensitive may not be able to eat saltine crackers. You can instead eat equal quantities of rice cakes, which are naturally gluten-free. If you can eat gluten but don’t want saltine crackers, you can eat 1/3 cup of cooked oatmeal.

Banana Substitute

Bananas are nutritious and filled with fiber, so they are included in the military diet. It is rare to find someone who does not eat bananas, but if you are that person, you can choose to eat either 2 pcs. of kiwis, 1 cup papaya, or 2 pcs. of apricots in place of one whole banana.

Substitutes for Broccoli

If you are among those people who don’t like broccoli, you can eat cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus. However, broccoli and bananas are good for you as they are rich in nutrients. Allergic reactions from these foods are rare, so try not to substitute them with anything.

Peanut Butter Substitute

Individuals with peanut allergies are not allowed to eat peanut butter. You can eat equal quantities of various butters including almond, pumpkin, soy, or sunflower seed. You can also eat equal amounts of hummus, bean dip, or whole sunflower seeds.

Bread Substitutes

Bread is not good for those with gluten allergy or sensitivity. If you just don’t like bread but can still eat wheat, you can eat a half cup of whole grain cereal.

In place of a slice of bread, you can eat 1/8 cup (small handful) of sunflower seeds, half a protein bar, or ¼ cup yogurt with a ½ teaspoon of ground flaxseed.

Coffee Substitutes

Coffee is actually good for the body. It helps promote blood circulation, alertness, and metabolism. However, some people are very sensitive to coffee and caffeine. You can drink green tea if you find it desirable. Coffee and green tea are recommended as long as you don’t add artificial or natural sweeteners. If you still don’t like coffee or green tea, you can take the sugar-free Red Bull instead.

Grapefruit Substitute in the Military Diet

Grapefruits are among the foods that trigger the most concern. The military diet seems to love grapefruit since it is really delicious. However, grapefruit is known to cause drug interactions. This means that the grapefruit can cause medicines to become less effective or even cause adverse effects. Most drugs you take, including maintenance drugs, contraceptives, hormones, or antibiotics can interact with grapefruit. Even eating one grapefruit fruit in a day is enough to cause drug interactions.

Note that oranges, lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits are not suitable substitutes for grapefruit. The only thing that you can use as a substitute for grapefruit is baking soda water, which is made by mixing ½ teaspoon of soda in a glass of water.

Can You Have a Snack During the Military Diet?

Snacks are not allowed because they increase the intake of calories. It also removes the "discipline" aspect of the diet, where food intake is limited for a certain period. Eating snacks can alleviate your hunger and cravings, but it will derail your diet plan.

The military diet is a set plan that can help get rid of excess weight. However, you need to be disciplined while you're on the diet. Thus, stick to the food plan and use substitutes. These substitutes are good choices if you will repeat the military diet more than once.