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10 Lowest-Calorie Flour and Flour Substitutes

POSTED ON Mar 16, 2022
10 Lowest-Calorie Flour and Flour Substitutes

Flour is an ingredient that is found in so many foods and delicious recipes. But if you’re watching your calorie intake, you may steer clear of flour-based products.

Today there are many lower calorie flour options available as well as nutrient-dense flour alternatives that may fit with your calorie goals. You no longer have to rely on plain white flour for your baking and cooking.

In this article, I list 10 flour products that rank the lowest in calories. I also give a perspective on whether these are a healthy option for you and how you can use them in your recipes.

Key Takeaways

  • Low calorie, doesn’t always mean nutrient-dense.
  • There are many flour subs that offer great health benefits.
  • You may need to play with ratios in baking or combine flours in some recipes to get the consistency right.
  • The calorie and nutrient content varies from one brand to the next, so refer to the nutritional information on the packaging.

What is low-calorie flour and is it a healthier option?

Low-calorie flour simply means it’s lower in calories than other flour products on the market. As we all have different calorie needs, the term “low-calorie” will have a different definition for you than it does for me.

If you frequently count calories, you may shy away from flour altogether. However, several options may fit your calorie targets that you may not have previously considered. The Seriously Low Carb plain flour, for example, only contains 199 calories per 100g.

But is a low-calorie flour a healthier option?

Not necessarily. Calories are just one aspect that determines the nutritional value of a food product. If you’re trying to lose weight, obviously calories can play a role in your success.

However, the nutrient content and quality are what really determines if a product is healthy for you.

A flour or flour substitute can be low in calories compared to other flours but contain very few nutrients.

A plain white flour, for example, has about half the calories of almond flour. However, almond flour contains double the amount of protein and is a good source of quality healthy fats. It also contains much more dietary fibre and far fewer carbohydrates.

On top of that, almond flour is nutrient-dense and rich in nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin E. While I love almond flour for its nutritional benefits, you won’t find it on this list as it contains approximately 611 cals per 100g.

Plain white flour on the other hand contains very little nutrients as the processing methods remove the bran and germ. What’s left is endosperm which is the starchy product that enhances the gluten content of the flour.

Most refined flour products are enriched with nutrients. This means the manufacturers have put back one or two synthetic vitamins and minerals that have been stripped during processing. In other words, it’s a marketing tool!

As a nutritionist, I encourage my clients to look beyond the calorie content of many foods, including flour and take into account its nutrient worth. As you can see from the above example, low-calorie flour isn’t always the healthiest option.

Important:

Lower in calories is not always better for you. When choosing a flour, take into account the entire nutrient profile of the product. Is it highly refined? Does it have a good amount of protein and fibre? Does it contain micronutrients?

10 lowest-calorie flour and flour substitutes

If you’re looking for a lower-calorie flour or flour substitute, we’ve done the hard work for you by compiling a list of products you’ll find at supermarkets or your local health food store.

Included in the list are traditional wheat flour products as well as flour substitutes. Flour substitutes are flour alternatives that use ingredients other than wheat. Some flour substitutes are also gluten-free, can be used as a 1:1 replacement and many are nutrient-dense.

Here you’ll find a list of 12 lowest-calorie flours and flour substitutes. Just keep in mind, the calorie and nutrient content may vary from one brand to the next, so always look at the nutritional information on the packaging.

Seriously Low Carb Self Raising Flour

Calories per 100g: 199 cal

What’s good?
Can be used as a 1:1 substitute
Gluten-free
What’s not so good?
Highly-refined
May cause digestive upset

Seriously Low Carb Self Raising Flour is a gluten-free product that uses sweet potato and coconut flour as its base. It can be used as a 1:1 substitute for traditional self-raising flour in baking recipes.

With just 119 calories per 100g, this is one of the lowest-calorie flours on the market. It also only contains less than 2g per serve and is a greater source of fibre.

It’s worth noting, this is a highly refined product and it does contain some guar gum, xylitol and psyllium husk which can cause digestive upset for some individuals.

Lupin Flour

Calories per 100g: 322 cal

What’s good?
Gluten-free
High protein and fibre
What’s not so good?
Best used with other flours
More expensive

Lupin is a member of the legume family and is a great low-calorie flour substitute at 322 calories per 100g.
It’s also gluten-free, high in protein and a great source of dietary fibre.

Lupin flour has a yellow appearance and a subtle nutty flavour. It can be used for baking but is better used in combination with another flour or flour substitute such as 1/2 lupin, 1/2 almond flour.

Note: if you’re on a low FODMAP diet, Lupin is not a good flour for you as it falls into the same category as peas and beans.

Macro Organic Australian Wholemeal Plain Flour

Calories per 100g: 327 cal

What’s good?
100% wholegrain
Unbleached
Versatile
What’s not so good?
Contains wheat and gluten

Macro Organic Wholemeal Plain Flour is unbleached wheat flour. This means it is left to bleach naturally as it ages versus using chemical agents like benzoyl peroxide. It’s also made with 100% whole grains which is not as refined as white plain flour and will retain some of the beneficial nutrients.

Bleaching is done to soften the flour. However, this flour has been triple-shifted so can be used in sweet or savoury baking.

Allergen warning: contains wheat and gluten.

Macro Organic Buckwheat Flour

Calories per 100g: 329 cals

What’s good?
Gluten and wheat free
Rich in fibre, protein + micronutrients
What’s not so good?
Nutty flavour some may not like
Not always 1:1 flour sub

Buckwheat flour is one of my favourite flour alternatives as it is a great source of fibre, protein and nutrients such as copper and magnesium.

Despite its name, buckwheat doesn’t contain wheat and is made from seeds. This makes it a great gluten-free flour that can be used on its own or in combination with another flour or substitute.

Mckenzie’s Wholemeal Spelt Flour

Calories per 100g: 337 cals

What’s good?
Easier to digest
Nutrient-dense
1:1 swap for plain flour
What’s not so good?
Contains gluten and wheat

If you’re not celiac disease, wheat sensitive or gluten intolerant but still find flour-based products leave you bloated, Wholemeal Spelt flour might be one to try. I often find spelt flour is easier to digest as it contains a weaker gluten structure and is higher in fibre.

Spelt is an ancient grain that has a nutty aroma and taste. It’s also nutrient-rich gain containing protein, fibre and nutrients such as iron and zinc.

Spelt flour can be used in any recipe that calls for plain flour.

Allergen warning: contains wheat and gluten.

Green Banana Flour

Calories per 100g: 338 Cals

What’s good?
High in resistant starch
Low GI
Wheat and Gluten-free
What’s not so good?
Flavour may be overpowering
May not work in all recipes
More expensive

Banana flour has become a popular and nutritious flour alternative. I love it for being a rich resistant starch source that’s great for blood sugar maintenance and gut health. It also has a low glycemic index.

The resistant starch content does reduce when heated so it’s best eaten raw such as in smoothies. However, if finding gluten-free flour is your main goal, this is a good baking alternative to wheat flour.

Vetta Smart Protein Plain Flour

Calories per 100g: 339 cals

What’s good?
High in protein + fibre
Low in carbs
Versatile
What’s not so good?
Refined

Vetta Smart Protein Plain Flour does contain higher protein and lower carbs than some plain flours on the market. The addition of oat fibre also increases the dietary fibre content.

Just keep in mind, there are other flour alternatives that have a better nutrient profile.

Nutrients aside, this is an Australian owned and made product that is involved in rural community initiatives through its partnership with Rural Aid which is a positive.

Allergen warning: contains wheat and gluten.

Cassava Flour

Calories per 100g: 345 cals

What’s good?
Grain and Gluten-free
Natural taste
High in resistant starch
What’s not so good?
Not readily available
More expensive

Cassava flour is another flour alternative that contains resistant starch that feeds your gut bacteria.

Made from the root vegetable, cassava flour can be used as a gluten-free substitute to flours in baking or cooking. It’s also grain-free too!

The Healthy Baker Plain Flour Easy Store

Calories per 100g: 347 cals

What’s good?
Lower calorie plain flour
What’s not so good?
Refined
Nutrient-poor
Misleading marketing

This is a traditional plain flour that’s wheat-based and enriched with thiamine and folate.

Containing 347 calories, it’s not the lowest but certainly not the highest in calories. But as far as nutrients, it definitely won’t rank on my list. I also think the marketing messages implying this is good “for strong teeth and bones” and “enriched for healthy mums and bubs” is misleading.

Allergen warning: contains wheat and gluten.

Coco Earth Lentil Flour

Calories per 100g: 349 cal

What’s good?
Nutrient-dense
Gluten and wheat free
Versatile
What’s not so good?
May need to adjust ratios in recipes
Not FODMAP friendly
More expensive

As a lentil flour, this is a nutrient-dense and versatile flour alternative. It’s also gluten-free and wheat-free so an option for coeliacs or those with an intolerance or sensitivity.

Lentil flour has a slightly bitter taste but this transforms to an earthy flavour once cooked. You can use it in savoury or sweet baking replacing about 25% of traditional flour.

Note: Lentil flour is considered to be a high FODMAP food.

Final Verdict

The variety of flour and flour substitutes available is growing giving more options for those counting calories or looking for a healthier alternative than traditional white flour.

This list features some of the lowest-calorie flours and flour alternatives on the market. Just remember, the calorie content of flours varies from one to the next, so please refer to the nutritional information on the product’s packaging.

Finally, I recommend you have a play with flour alternatives like green banana flour, lentil flour and spelt flour. You may find a nutritious option you enjoy plus mixing up your ingredients will also expose you to a variety of different nutrients!

Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford is a registered clinical nutritionist who believes achieving optimal health and wellbeing relies on living with intention.

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Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford is a registered clinical nutritionist who believes achieving optimal health and wellbeing relies on living with intention.