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Forbidden Food: Alternatives to Caffeine, Sugar, Wheat and Dairy

Like it or not, January is typically a month where many of us diet, detox, cleanse, or just plain give up certain foods and ingredients. We've pulled together some delicious alternatives to the usual forbidden food suspects — caffeine, sugar, wheat and dairy — complete with new recipes to try.

Caffeine Alternative: Chickory Root

Chicory Root Maple & Almond Latte

Chicory Root Maple & Almond Latte

Just because you want to cut down on your caffeine intake and/or your expensive drive-thru latte habit doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of the pleasure. Try this caffeine-free roasted chicory root latte that's satisfying and delicious.

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Sugar Substitute: Stevia

Ginger Orange Carrot Cake Smoothie

Ginger Orange Carrot Cake Smoothie

While it's exploded in popularity in recent years, this herb has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries. And just a little bit of stevia can go a long way. In fact, stevia and dates are the stand-ins for sugar in this smoothie version of a rich carrot cake. Serve it for breakfast and snacks — or whip up a large batch as a brunch beverage instead of mimosas.

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Wheat: Lettuce Wrap

Thai Marinated Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Versatile, hearty and malleable, the lettuce wrap is literally the greatest thing since sliced bread. And there's a wealth of lettuce varieties to choose from as your wrap material: iceberg, bibb, Swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage and endive, to name just a few. We suggest using a buttery bibb lettuce in the recipe below.

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Dairy Alternative: Nutritional Yeast

Vegan Spicy Nacho Cheese Dip

Vegan Spicy Nacho Cheese Dip

Use this savory, nutty ingredient to add a cheesy flavor to everything from popcorn to pasta. It mixes into sauces exceptionally well, making it the star ingredient in our deceptively decadent looking spicy nacho "cheese" dip.

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