For those of you living in the United States dealing with food allergies or those of you cooking for those with food allergies, it can be confusing what food products to substitute with when dealing with the top allergens. Fear not; we’ll explain all the top substitutions for the top 8 allergens and provide a food allergy substitution chart PDF for download.

Your Immune System Lives in Your Gut – Keep it Happy!

The vast majority of the human immune system can be found in our gut, hence why it is critical for athletes to fuel themselves with excellent nutrition, especially those suffering from food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances.

The athletes I know who are the sickest and have the greatest recovery issues often have the most gut issues, too. If they don’t have gut issues, they’re often candy and processed-food monsters, making it easy for me to predict how their recovery is going to be.

A solid nutrition routine should be the foundation of every athlete’s regimen. If its not, you’re risking injury, impaired performance, and increased frequency of illness.

A few consistent ways to keep your gut and immune system happy are:

  • Regularly consume colorful foods high in quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system.
  • Include fermented foods in your diet to increase the number of good-gut bugs in your GI system

While this may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, for those of us with wheat, dairy, soy, egg, tree nut, fish, shellfish, or peanut butter allergies/sensitivities, this can be a little harder. But, with proper planning, knowing the right brands, and a little bit of planning, we can avoid being miserable and do a 180 to thrive instead.

While fresh, whole-foods should always be the staple of your diet, here are a few of the best brands to consider for packaged goods if you suffer from food allergies:

  • Zego
  • Made Good
  • 88 Acres

>>>Read More: 39 Tasty Allergy & Peanut Free Snacks

Finding Food Allergy Substitutions Doesn’t Need to Be Expensive

I coach hundreds of individuals with food sensitivities, so I know how real that struggle is during their first few trips to the grocery store. It breaks my heart to see my athletes spending 3-4 hours on ONE shopping excursion because they are frantically flipping over food labelss in an attempt to not accidentally contaminate themselves.

OK, in the words of Sweet Brown, “ Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!”

Or, even worse, they come back to my office saying they bought everything that looked “clean” but they ended up spending a fortune. Alright so at the same token, no one should have to sell a kidney on the black market to be able to pay for decent groceries.

Listen, friends, I work around the clock so you don’t have to when it comes to eating well. My sole focus is to help you eat in a way that best supports your unique immune response and personal performance goals. Ideally, I want to help you do this in the most time-efficient and cost-effective manner. Below are couple of tips I used to help my athletes save money while dealing with major food allergens.

  1. Shop at Thrive Market and use the “Health & Ingredients” list to select the good alergy you want to avoid. If you haven’t used Thrive Market before, you can use our affiliate link to get a free gift and discount on your first order.
  2. Shop at Costco where you can buy tons of food allergy substitutions foods such as Siete wraps, almond milk, Simple MIlls crackers, King Arthur gluten free flour, Bonza gluten free pasta, and much, much more.
Screenshot from Thrive Market showing how to search by the top allergens to select food allergy substitutions.

What are the Top 8 Food Allergens?

While there are a lot of foods people may have serious allergic reactions to, we’re going to highlight 8 of the most common food allergens and their food allergy substitutions.

If you have an issue that is outside of the most common allergens, we recommend working 1 on 1 with a healthcare provider such as us, who can help you map out a plan to successfully navigate having your allergen.

1. Egg Allergies

Eggs are an awesome source of nutrition, particularly amino acids, B vitamins, and choline. However, if you are unable to tolerate eggs, this can be a tricky situation to navigate.

Trust us, we’ve been there.

If you are accustomed to eating eggs for breakfast or using them to get your optimal protein intake, a great substitute is turkey or chicken links or patties. We regularly keep the Jones Dairy Farm and Amylu sausages from Costco on hand for ourselves as well as our daughter.

If you want to make something from scratch, a great recipe to try is these homemade turkey or chicken patties.

You can throw salsa, hot sauce, or guacamole on the patties just like you would for eggs and feel just as satisfied when the meal is over.

How to Replace Eggs when Baking

If you typically use eggs for baking but you or someone you know has an egg allergy or sensitivity they’re dealing with, try flax or chia eggs or aquafaba, the liquid found in canned chickpeas. Strange, I know, but it works wonders, and the person who figured that one out deserves a Nobel Prize.

Flax eggs are purchased in the grocery store or you can make your own at home by using this recipe:

Flax Egg Substitute Recipe

For one egg, follow this template. It can be exchanged for one egg in any recipe:

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (Purchase them pre-ground or grind your own. Just be sure to measure after you’ve ground the seeds)

3 tablespoons of water

Stir well, and allow the mixture to set for 10 minutes.

If you want more of an egg-white consistency or a meringue texture, aquafaba eggs work best.

Remember that 1 whole egg = 3 tablespoons of aquafaba and 1 egg white = 2 tablespoons of aquafaba.

When looking for a replacement for meringue, you will need to beat the aquafaba for approximately 10-15 minutes until you reach your desired texture.

Pro Tip: If you have a sensitivity to eggs and not a true IgE food allergy, consider trying farm-fresh eggs from your local farm. The diet of a free-range chicken eating an organic diet produces a very different egg than the eggs from your standard conventionally raised chicken. I have worked with many individuals who could tolerate farm-fresh eggs and not conventionally raised eggs. You may also try duck eggs as well.

2. Wheat Allergies

Please do not shed any tears. Avoiding wheat does not mean you can never eat pasta again. I know because I have celiac disease.

In the history of mankind, it has never been easier to deal with a wheat allergy. There are dozens and dozens of wheat and gluten-free pastas on the market now, although not all of them are created equal. Two of my favorite brands are Tolerant and Banza.

  • Tolerant is pasta made strictly from lentils- red and green lentils are the only ingredients!
  • Banza is a little more protein-dense as it is made from chickpeas and pea protein.
  • Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta is made purely of rice and has a great texture as long as you undercook it.

I love these brands, and I probably eat Tolerant and Bonza every month. For those who’re super picky about texture, I tell them to try Tinkyada. Tinkyada has a milder flavor, and the texture comes closer to traditional pasta made from flour.

Pro Tip: I would highly recommend cooking all of these kinds of pasta 2-3 minutes less than the directions on the box, or al dente as the Italians say. Otherwise, you will have a mushy bowl of pasta and for most people, that is not appetizing.

Are you a sandwich lover? Check out Siete almond and coconut grain-free tortillas. These are perfect for anything from grilled chicken sandwiches to hummus and veggie wrap, Taco Tuesday, and even a quick PB & J roll-up. Our daughter’s favorite snack is a Siete wrap with organic turkey slices!

3. Dairy Allergies

Good news for all my dairy lovers: There are so many completely dairy-free nut and seed milk/cheeses/ice creams on the market now; the possibilities are endless!

I could talk about dairy-free alternatives for days, but I will spare you and only list my top picks:


Lucky for you, non-dairy milk substitutes are completely mainstream at this point. Almond milk, rice milk, pistachio milk, hemp or flaxseed milk, hazelnut milk, and the list goes on. There are so many options we had to keep it super simple on our food allergy substitution chart and just say to look for non-dairy options.

For those of you hoping for a taste and texture similar to cow’s milk, check out Almond Breeze, Silk, Diamond regular, or vanilla almond milk. These can typically be found at any grocery store. Add the nut or seed milk to your smoothie, oatmeal, or pudding, or just drink it straight.

Worried about all the gums and fillers in your non-dairy milk? Check out the brand Elmhurst. They offer a variety of gourmet, plant-based nut milks, each containing only four natural ingredients and no artificial flavors or binding agents.


Looking for a nice little cube of cheese to pop in your mouth? Maybe a little shredded cheese for your salad? Daiya takes the dairy-free cake! With options like mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack, what’s not to love?!

Are you more of a cream cheese lover?

Check out Red Lotus Vegan Cashew Spread (my favorite is garlic and herb) or Kite Hill Chive. Dip your favorite cracker or veggies here, or use this as a spread on your sandwich. I’ve had a few alfredo-obsessed athletes in the past, and they enjoyed melting a few tablespoons of the non-dairy spread over their pasta.


Need a creamy landing pad for your fruit and granola in the a.m.? Check out these dairy-free yogurts at your specialty grocery store:

Anitas Coconut Yogurt (No gums or fillers!)

Kite Hil Almond Yogurt

4. / 5. Tree Nut Allergy and Peanut Allergies

To all my peanut butter lovers out there now suffering from a peanut allergy – Don’t panic. Sunflower butter has come to the rescue!

And by the way, if tree nuts are your issue this will also work.

The brand Sunbutter is my favorite because they make mini portable cups of sunflower seed butter, perfect for athletes on the go. Sunflower seed butter is an excellent substitution for peanut/nut butter in smoothies and oatmeal and also a great spread for fruit.

You can dip your favorite cracker in sunflower seed butter, and carrots work as a nice dipping vehicle, too.

Looking for an even easier version of sunflower seed butter? Yumbutter offers a squeezable nut butter pouch. The pouch contains a little spout for your eating convenience.

Lastly, sunflower seed butter is a great alternative to peanut butter in the famous Pb & J sandwich.  Or, if you are anything like my husband Michael, you can just polish off large spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter by itself. No judgment! (Well, maybe a little, ????).

Are you the type of person who prefers the convenience of eating large handfuls of nuts? Try a handful of seeds or a trail-mix-esque mixture instead. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts taste better than you might think when you add a few raisins and a variety of dried fruit.

6. Shellfish Allergies

Can’t tolerate shellfish?  No big deal.

Salmon, tuna, and cobia fish are some of your best options as they are all full of high-quality protein and heart-healthy fat, particularly Omega 3.

Looking for a more convenient version of these fish? Wild Planet is a great brand for wild-caught, canned salmon and tuna. These items are found at your specialty grocery store, but the best price are found at Thrive Market.

Be sure to give our affiliate link a try if you would like a free gift and discount off your first order. We’ve been using Thrive Market for years and buy everything from toothpaste and diapers to snacks on there.

Can’t tolerate fish or shellfish altogether? Try Sophie’s Vegan Toona, a top 8 allergens-free version of canned tuna made from pea protein that is often found on Thrive Market. Eat it straight from the can or add it to a fresh green salad or a bowl of Tolerant pasta. 

7. Soy Allergies

Do you love the crunch and convenience of dried edamame but struggling with a soy allergy? Try toasted chickpeas instead for a similarly delicious protein-packed snack.

There are several brands to choose from, but I love The Good Bean’s flavor selection. Chocolate? Mesquite BBQ? Thai Coconut Lemongrass? Yes, please.

Is soy sauce the condiment of your dreams? Check out Coconut Aminos made by Coconut Secret. This tasty, slightly sweeter version of soy sauce is a magical replacement for soy sauce in stir fry. Bonus: it is soy AND gluten-free!

Trying to avoid soy milk in that lovely plant-based recipe? Try almond, flax, cashew, or coconut milk.

ProTip: Not interested in paying full price for some of these luxury items? Me neither. That is why I mention Thrive Market.  As mentioned above, here is a link for 25% off your first order with Thrive Market is an online (Dry goods) grocery store selling your favorite specialty items at 25-60% off! The items from this article can be found on Amazon, or for a small membership fee, you can get them at a discount through Thrive Market. 

8. Sesame Allergies

Looking for a sesame-free crunch in your next dish? Try poppy seeds, whole flax seeds, or hemp seeds.

Hoping for a sesame oil replacement? Try walnut oil, peanut oil, or cold-pressed olive oil.

Pro tip: Be mindful of fast food restaurants for two reasons. 1) Certain restaurants sprinkle sesame seeds on top of their buns. 2. Many major fast food restaurants are now ADDING sesame as an ingredient to various foods on their menu so that they do not have to follow the sesame-free allergen guidelines.

Be safe out there. The food industry is like the Wild Wild West these days.

Food Allergy Substitution Chart

As promised, we have a food allergy substitution chart PDF for you to save and print.

To keep things readable, we had to keep things super simple for certain allergies like milk allergy. There are so many great substitutions now; the list would be crazy long!

Food allergy substitution chart infographic explaining the best substitutions for the top 8 allergens.


Fortunately for those with the most common allergens, food allergen labeling has dramatically improved over the years thanks to the Consumer Protection Act passed in 2004.

While our food allergen chart is a helpful guide, don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like one-on-one coaching to overcome food sensitivities and allergies. We offer a free 15-minute strategy call to map out a coaching package to help you achieve your goals.

Where is your favorite place to shop for allergen-free food items? What are your favorite substitutions for the Top 8 Allergens? Do you use any substitutes we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!