10 Healthy Alternatives to Garlic Bread

Why do you crave garlic bread? Try these 10 healthy alternatives to garlic bread as well as our own healthy recipe you can make at home.

In this article

Why People Crave Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is a complex interplay of flavors and textures that can trigger cravings due to its combination of fats, carbohydrates, and savory taste. The high-fat content, often from butter or oil, interacts with the taste receptors, signaling the brain’s reward system, which releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.

The refined carbohydrates in the bread quickly break down into sugars, causing a spike in blood glucose and a corresponding insulin response, which can lead to a short-term energy boost followed by a crash, perpetuating the cycle of craving.

The garlic in garlic bread stimulates the olfactory receptors, contributing to its allure by enhancing the flavor complexity and creating a comforting aroma that can be associated with satiety and pleasure. Additionally, the crispy texture of the toasted bread provides a satisfying sensory experience, which can be difficult to replicate with a garlic bread substitute.

The combination of these ingredients and their effects on the senses and brain chemistry makes garlic bread a particularly crave-worthy food. Finding healthy alternatives to garlic bread that satisfy these cravings without the negative health impacts is a challenge. It requires a balance of flavor, texture, and nutritional content that can still engage the reward pathways in the brain without the high calorie and low nutrient density of traditional garlic bread. Understanding this can foster empathy towards individuals struggling to replace this comfort food with a garlic bread replacement that is both satisfying and healthier.

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10 Healthy Alternatives to Garlic Bread

Whole grain pita with garlic-infused olive oil
This option provides a similar garlic flavor and satisfying chewiness. Whole grains offer more fiber and nutrients than white bread, and olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy.

Roasted garlic cauliflower “steaks”
Roasting cauliflower brings out a natural, subtle sweetness and a satisfying texture. Garlic adds the familiar flavor, while cauliflower is low in calories and high in vitamins.

Garlic and herb zucchini boats
Scooped zucchini halves can be baked with garlic and herbs, offering a bread-like vessel with fewer carbs and calories, plus the added benefit of vegetables.

Garlic hummus with cucumber slices
The creamy texture and garlic taste of hummus satisfy the palate, while cucumber provides a refreshing crunch. This swap is higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in refined carbs.

Baked garlic and parmesan eggplant rounds
Eggplant has a meaty texture that, when baked, can mimic the heartiness of bread. Parmesan adds a flavor punch, and this combo is lower in calories and carbs.

Almond flour garlic “bread” sticks
Made with almond flour, these sticks are low in carbs and high in protein and healthy fats, offering a similar dipping or side item experience without the refined flour.

Garlic and olive oil rubbed kale chips
Baked until crispy, kale chips can provide the crunch and flavor of garlic bread. Kale is nutrient-dense, and the olive oil adds healthy fats.

Garlic-topped mushrooms
Stuffed or topped with garlic and herbs, mushrooms offer a juicy bite with a fraction of the calories. They’re also a good source of fiber and protein.

Garlic-infused Greek yogurt spread on bell pepper strips
The yogurt provides a creamy texture with probiotics and protein, while bell peppers add crunch and sweetness, creating a balanced and nutritious snack.

Toasted nori sheets with garlic seasoning
For those open to a unique texture, nori sheets offer a crispy, savory snack. They’re low in calories and contain beneficial minerals, with a garlic seasoning to satisfy cravings.

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Is Garlic Bread Unhealthy?

Garlic bread, with its buttery goodness and aromatic allure, often falls under scrutiny for its nutritional content. Many people wonder if indulging in this comfort food conflicts with a balanced diet. The truth is, traditional garlic bread made with white bread and an abundance of butter can be high in calories and low in essential nutrients.

However, the occasional treat isn’t a dietary downfall if consumed in moderation. The key is to understand portion sizes and to consider integrating a garlic bread alternative that uses whole grains and healthier fats into your meals.

Can Garlic Bread Be Nutritious?

The potential for garlic bread to be part of a nutritious meal is a hot topic. While the classic recipe may not boast a high nutritional profile, there are ways to enhance its value. Substituting white bread with whole grain options, using olive oil instead of butter, and adding herbs and vegetables can transform garlic bread into a more wholesome choice.

These modifications not only improve the health aspects but can also introduce new flavors and textures to the beloved dish.

Finding the Perfect Garlic Bread Substitute

In the quest for healthier eating, many seek a garlic bread substitute that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. The challenge lies in replicating the unique taste and satisfying crunch of garlic bread without the excess calories and fats. A common misunderstanding is that a healthy alternative to garlic bread will lack the indulgent quality that makes the original so appealing.

However, with creative use of ingredients like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and whole grain flatbreads, it’s possible to create a delicious and nutritious counterpart.

Garlic Bread’s Role in Dieting

Dieting often brings about the misconception that certain foods, like garlic bread, must be entirely eliminated. People frequently ask how they can keep garlic bread in their diet while trying to lose weight. The answer lies in moderation and smart swaps, such as a healthy alternative for garlic bread that includes lighter ingredients and less oil.

It’s also important to remember that balance is key in any diet, and an occasional slice of garlic bread can fit into a well-rounded eating plan.

The Emotional Ties to Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is more than just a side dish; it’s a comfort food that evokes memories and emotions. Some people may not understand why they crave garlic bread beyond its taste. The combination of carbohydrates and fats can trigger a sense of satisfaction and happiness in the brain, making it a go-to for comfort.

Recognizing the emotional connection can help in finding a garlic bread replacement that satisfies both the palate and the heart, allowing for enjoyment without compromising health.

Whole Grain Garlic Bread with Olive Oil and Herbs


This is a healthy recipe for garlic bread that doesn’t compromise on flavor. The whole grain bread provides a hearty and satisfying texture, while the olive oil and herbs add a rich, aromatic flavor. The result is a delicious and nutritious twist on traditional garlic bread.

Prep Time

10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • Baking sheet
  • Small bowl
  • Brush


  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the whole grain bread into 1-inch thick pieces and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley, dried oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  4. Using a brush, generously apply the olive oil and herb mixture onto each slice of bread, making sure to cover all areas.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is toasted to your liking.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your homemade, healthy garlic bread as a side dish or snack.

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