It looks like someone is looking for a Paleo Diet food list so they can start their paleo diet soon. If this someone is you, congratulations, you are about to embark on an awesome journey that is likely going to be life-changing for you.
Whether you have made your decision to go for a Paleo Diet or you are just curious what it means for your grocery list, you have come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to help you by not only providing a comprehensive Paleo Diet Food list, but by helping you creating a custom one for yourself.
I’m going to try to be as simple as possible and avoid any complexities, but keep in mind that things always have a deeper layer and that things that look easy on paper don’t always translate with the same ease to real life.
Now, let’s recap what is the paleo diet real quick before we get into the nitty gritty life.
A Recap of The Paleo Diet
Really quickly, the Paleo Diet is a diet that consists of what only our ancestors in the Paleolithic era could have eaten. This means that they could only eat things that they found in nature as hunters gatherers.
But, why? Why would we willingly avoid all the delicious foods our modern way of life provides to us? All these burgers and beers are surely not the best for our health, but why abandon all of this completely and go back thousands of years?
The main logic behind the Paleo Diet is that our human bodies evolve much slower than our diets, or at least this has been the case in the last 10 thousand years – since humans started growing their own food.
The logic is sane and reasonable enough, and the assumption that the majority of our modern health issues are caused by the foods we eat today is very plausible, and it now has many studies and scientific evidence backing it up.
So, by avoiding all of these modern foods, we can, in a way, reset our bodies to a more natural state. Let’s not forget that the jump in human civilization over the last 10,000 years is unprecedented and , as far as we know, the fastest jump a species has made in its evolution.
This means that when we reset our bodies to foods that it evolved to consume without repercussions we will be avoiding the many health issues these foods cause us.
If you want to dig a bit deeper, you can click here for all the Paleo Diet Basics you need to know.
An easy Diet to follow
The Paleo Diet is an easy diet to follow. There is one guideline to follow; only eat what your ancestors in the Paleolithic era could’ve eaten. This is a very basic principle that, when applied correctly, can make your meal decisions very easy.
As you can imagine, this also makes creating a simple diet food list a very easy task.
Having a simple guideline to follow means there is no need for confusing micro-nutrient calculations, you don’t need to do calories counting, and you don’t even need to eat at certain times.
You can follow the diet with or without combining it with exercise, but of course you get the best benefits when you combine it with a more active lifestyle.
As you can see, following the Paleo Diet sounds easy on paper, but giving up so many food items and complete food groups is not easy on real life, so why would you go through the pain of sticking to the Paleo diet and only eating from the Paleo Diet Food List?
Paleo Diet Health Benefits
Even though many people like to follow diets because they’re “fad”, “cool”, or “trendy”, this is not the case with the Paleo Diet. The Diet has never really taken off as a cool diet – unlike it’s sibling, the Paleo Diet – so those who follow it do it for the health benefits that come with it.
And it really does come with amazing benefits. If you want a comprehensive list of those benefits, check out those 10 very real Paleo Diet Benefits you will definitely feel.
Here is a quick look at the health benefits you can expect when you follow the Paleo Diet:
- Sustained Weight Loss
Even though the weight loss on the paleo diet is not as dramatic as it is on the Keto diet, for example, the weight loss here is more likely to be sustained for longer and you are less likely to regain all this weight if you decided to switch back to a normal low-carb or low-fat diet.
This means that it is okay if you want to go on the Paleo Diet to lose weight, but we would recommend trying to turn the diet into a lifestyle for some time and seeing how the results change over time.
- Less Health Problems
Following the Paleo Diet and eating from the Paleo Diet food list means your body will have to deal with many less toxins and bad ingredients, so you can expect less bloating, less blood sugar, reduced risk of heart diseases and cardiovascular issues, and so on.
We truly are what we eat, and the Paleo Diet food list has nothing but clean, natural whole foods, so you can expect your health to start recovering in all aspects with time as you stick with the Paleo Diet.
- Beauty Benefits
Many people who follow the diet has reported the disappearance of some of their skin issues like acne and black heads, and most people also reported a noticeable improvement in their skin’s health.
Following the Paleo Diet means your body will get the nutrients it needs from healthy foods, so it is more capable of absorbing those nutrients and putting them into good use.
- More Energy
There is not processed or sugary foods on the Paleo Diet Food List, which means you can expect your energy levels to start stabilizing, giving you more energy throughout the day.
The highs and lows we experience from sugar and caffeine are very harmful to us and they cause our energy levels to run wild and wreck havoc on our physical and mental health, but the Paleo Diet resolves this issue.
- Better Sleep
Your Sleep will significantly improve with the Paleo Diet. Since there is no added sugars or caffeine on the Paleo Diet Food List, your energy levels will start stabilizing and your mind will start operating in a clearer, more natural way.
When that starts happening, your sleep cycles will reset to their norm, which means you will have a deeper, more peaceful, and more restful sleep every night.
- Reduced Inflammation
There are a number of studies that have shown how eating low-carb, low IG foods – especially those that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids – can be effective in protecting your body against inflammation.
Thankfully, these are the kind of foods you will plenty of on your paleo diet food list.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of the Paleo Diet, you should definitely check out these 10 very real Paleo Diet Benefits you will definitely feel.
The Paleo Diet Food List
The Paleo Diet focuses on natural, unprocessed, whole foods that include vegetables, fruits, and grass-fed meats. The paleo diet food list contains all tastes of food, so you shouldn’t be worried about missing out on sweet foods, for example, but it eliminates anything that has even a hint of being processed or man-made in any way.
There are some foods that are clearly paleo, such as fish and grass-fed meat, but there are some foods which are not very clear whether they’re paleo or not – dairy for example.
Not to worry, we will cover everything thoroughly so that you can have the best idea on what belongs on your paleo diet food list and what does not, and we will even go a bit deep into dairy to answer all the questions you may have.
We should also clear a misconception before we begin; many people think of paleo only as a low-carb diet that has its main focus on meat. This is not the right way to think of the Paleo Diet.
In fact, most of the foods on your paleo diet food list will not even be meats, but rather plant-based foods. It’s true that the Paleo diet can be considered a low-carb diet, but there are still plenty of carbs to be found in paleo diet food such as veggies, fruits, and nuts.
A Complete Paleo Diet Food List
Here are the foods you can eat on the Paleo Diet:
Vegetables are your friend in the Paleo Diet. You can eat green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, winter squash, and summer squash (but you can’t eat night vegetables, but we’ll get to that later.
Here are some of the Veggies you can enjoy:
Veggies like celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, okra, avocados.
Root vegetables like Carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, radish, Jerusalem artichokes, yams, cassava.
Green leafy vegetables like Zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow crookneck squash.
List of Allowed Vegetables:
- Bell Peppers
- Green Onions
- Yellow Summer Squash
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Swiss Chard
You can consider this list your “Paleo Diet Food List Vegetarian Edition” if you wish. Keep in mind that starchy vegetables should be eaten in moderation, especially if you’re trying to lose weight on the Paleo Diet.
Starchy vegetables include:
- Acorn Squash
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut Squash
These vegetables have a high starch content and tend to have a lower nutritional value when compared to the amount of carbs/sugars they contain, so they are not of high nutritional value when compared to other veggies.
Fruits are nature’s candy, and they will be the only candy you are allowed to eat. All fruits are fair game, and they are the best snacks.
Here are some fruits to add to your Paleo Diet food list or shopping list:
- Berries (strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry)
- honeydew melon
- passion fruit
It’s important to keep in mind that even though fruits are paleo and their sugar intake isn’t that high, they still contain relatively large amounts of fructose – which is still miles better than the high fructose corn syrup you get in sweets.
However, if you are going into the paleo diet in order to lose weight, you will want to take it easy with the fruits and cut back on them and focus more on the vegetables as they don’t have nearly enough sugar. Up to three servings of fruits per day should be fine.
You should also keep in mind that some fruits are more sugary than others, so you will want to try and limit yourself to fruits that are low on sugar if you are aiming to shed off a few founds.
Meat is a great source of protein, but it’s not the only source of protein, so you should consume meat in moderation. Remember that the Paleo Diet is not an all-meat diet like the Carnivore diet like some people mistake it to be.
If you can, always go for the grass-fed meat. Don’t buy meat if you know that the animals were raised in cages and were bred just for meat. Try to do a bit of investigating to find out of the animals were at least given the chance to take a break from their cages and smell the fresh air.
Organic products are good, but I understand that they will cost more, so it’s okay if you don’t always go for them or if you sometimes go for frozen products, but remember that your meats should be as close to nature as possible.
As for what types of meat, any kind of unprocessed meat is fair game. This includes game meat like deer, rabbit, reindeer, wild turkey, moose, duck, and elk.
Poultry is a delicious source of proteins and other nutrients. Chicken, turkey, duck, tail, and goose are all allowed.
However, due to how most chicken is raised, I really have to emphasize here that you need to do some digging or stick with organic and the farmer’s market for chicken in particular.
There are many ethical concerns and questions about how humans treat chicken, but this doesn’t apply to all farms. Find farms that give chicken the chance to live a somewhat close-to-natural life and stick with it if possible.
Fish are a great source of vitamins, Omega-3s, and other nutrients, and since our hunters gatherers ancestors definitely consumed them, they belong on the paleo diet food list.
If you live in an area where you can easily fish your own fish and you have the time to fish your own food, this would be awesome, but I understand how rare this actually is.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to fish your own fish, but it’s still better if you get your seafood from the fish market if you have one in your town as most coastal cities do. If you can’t, try to find companies that sell fish that were fished and not farmed, farmed fish shouldn’t really belong.
List of Paleo-friendly fish:
- Red Snapper
Seafood is delicious, nutritious, and paleo-friendly, and so they definitely deserve a spot on your menu.
List of Seafood to include in your shopping list:
- Nuts and Seeds
I have never met anyone who didn’t love nuts and seeds, because they are awesome (even if Cashews, my favorite, is too darn expensive for my poor self).
The good thing is that nuts and seeds have a place on the Paleo Diet Food List, but the bad thing is that you can’t really eat a whole jar while watching Netflix on a boring day.
Nuts and seeds are kind of high in fats and you should limit the amount of nuts your’re consuming, otherwise you will find it hard to lose this weight you’re trying so hard to lose before summer.
A list of Nuts and Seeds you can eat on the Paleo Diet:
- Pine nuts
- Sesame Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
A very important thing to note here is that Peanuts are not on this list, and that’s because Peanuts are not paleo since they are actually a legume, not a nut.
- Healthy Fats and Oils
I know what you’re thinking right now; “wait, fats? How? Why?”
Contrary to what you have been told, fats don’t make you fat, and low-fat diets do not work. You think that fats make you fat because the sugar industry spent millions of dollars on marketing to put the blame on fats, and their marketing worked better than they could even expect.
Fats are actually very essential for us. They are an important source of energy and humans have been consuming them as long as we’ve lived on this planet.
Here are some of the healthy fats and oils you can consume on the Paleo Diet:
- Grass-fed butter
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Olive Oil
- Other Paleo-Friendly Foods:
The following are some of the best paleo-friendly foods that belong to other categories.
- Cacao Nibs
- Cayenne Pepper
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Coconut Aminos
You now have a very comprehensive Paleo Diet Food List that you can pick from whenever you are going shopping. We’ll always keep this updated and will try to continuously keep adding to it as we’re learning more and receiving more of your questions.
Now that you know everything you can eat, let’s see what you can sometimes eat and then get into the things that you just can not eat on the Paleo Diet.
Foods You Can Sometimes Eat on the Paleo Diet
There are three foods that you can sometimes eat on the Paleo Diet, but just because they are allowed doesn’t mean you get a full-on green pass. Let’s see what they are and what are the rules and guidelines about the foods you can sometimes eat on the Paleo Diet.
In theory, dairy should not be allowed on the paleo diet since our ancestors the hunters gatherers did not have cows to milk and definitely didn’t know how to make cheese and butter. Dairy came after humans started growing their own foods, so it doesn’t belong to the Paleolithic era.
This means that the strict paleo diet doesn’t not allow milk or anything made with milk such as cheese, butter, yogurt, and sour cream. However, some variations of the diets allows some dairy on their paleo diet food list as long as it meets some conditions, such as coming from grass-fed cows.
The reason they are allowed is that dairy products do have some good benefits for us, such as containing healthy amounts of omega-3s.
Fermented dairy products are also okay on the Paleo diet thanks to them having a lower content of casein and lactose which are two of the major concerns paleo dieters have with dairy.
But what about milk itself, you might be asking. Isn’t milk bad for you? Well, the answer to this questions is a pretty complicated one, and I’m not really qualified enough to tell you a definitive answer on whether milk is the devil or not.
What I will do, however, is share this awesome video that was made with a ton of research and which can definitely answer this much better than I can.
If you are totally against milk, you can just stick with the basics and substitute dairy with non-dairy products such as almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk.
If you want to go 100% Paleo, then Alcohol is an obvious no-no. Liquor contains traces of gluten and beer is made of grains, and clearly, our ancestors in the paleolithic era didn’t have access to either, so they should not be on the diet food list.
However, some paleo dieters allow the occasional celebratory glass of red wine every now and then. The reason is that red whine contains resveratol which is an antioxidant. White wine and beer are not allowed, though.
The good news for cider-lovers is that many ciders are actually gluten-free, so they are allowed within the paleo diet as long as you check the label to make sure they are actually gluten-free since some still contain gluten.
A good recommendation here would be to take this chance of going on the paleo diet to also quit alcohol if you have been wanting to and just never got to it. Consider it a side effect of the Paleo Diet, one that your kidneys will thank you for later in life.
Chocolate clearly doesn’t belong on the paleo diet, but dark chocolate is one of the very few indulgences you can enjoy on the paleo diet as long as it’s in a reasonable amount.
You should only choose dark chocolate that has 70% or higher cocoa content. This chocolate will actually be quite nutritious and healthy for you. Dark Chocolate has plenty of antioxidants which come with many health benefits including improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
What you Can’t Eat on the Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet food list of what is allowed is a large one, and it contains only natural unprocessed whole foods. The Paleo diet food list not allowed is one that contains most modern foods. Let’s take a deeper look into what foods are not allowed on the Paleo Diet:
Grains came with agriculture, so they are not allowed on the Paleo Diet. This means that anything made from grains or with grains doesn’t belong on your paleo diet food list.
This means that the following are not allowed:
The second reason grains are not allowed on the paleo diet is that they are high in carbs that can spike your blood sugar. Of course not all grains are created equal and whole grains do not cause the same spike in your blood sugar as does refined grains.
But with that being said, they still shouldn’t be on your food list because they also contains other compounds and proteins that are thought to cause inflammation int he body and even make your body unable to absorb other nutrients in the body’s full capacity. Such compounds include gluten and lectins.
There are some versions of the paleo diet that give some grains a bit of space if you have no allergies or other health issues, but most paleo dieters completely eliminate grains from their menu.
Legumes are also not allowed on the paleo diet since we started eating them only after we started growing them, and this makes them not paleo.
- Soy and Soy products
Legumes also contain high contents of lectins and phytic acid, further reasons to eliminate them from the Paleo Diet Food List.
However, there is a good body of research that recommends healthy diets to include legumes thanks to their low fat and high fiber, protein, and iron contents. But if you are following a strict paleo diet, legumes should not have a place in your kitchen or in your meals.
I don’t even think we need to discuss this. Processed foods have the largest NOT ALLOWED stamp on them, all in red caps. Refined sugars, salt, refined oils and vegetables, and artificial sweeteners should not come anywhere near your meal.
While there are some arguments for legumes and grains, there are almost not arguments for the cause of refined and processed foods. In fact, processed foods are strongly linked to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.
Even though the FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) states that artificial sweeteners are safe to consume, they are very much not allowed on the paleo diet because they are the definition of man-made foods.
Anything made in a factory is completely our of the questions and shouldn’t be allowed on the Paleo Diet. This is a very simple rule to follow and will make following the diet very easy.
Keep in mind that corporations and businessmen will try to push their products with millions of dollars invested in marketing and lobbying, so just try to keep things and simple and don’t let them distract you from the prize; your health.
A Paleo Diet Food List for Beginners
If you want a simple paleo diet food list for beginners, here is one to keep on you when going shopping:
- Meat: Avoid frozen and try going for grass-fed
- Fresh Vegetables: Farmers’ market or organic is preferable, but they are not a must. Easy on the starchy vegetables, though.
- Eggs: Go for the free-range, pastured, or omega-3 enriched eggs
- Fruits: The same as vegetables, and easy on the fruits that are high in sugar.
- Nuts and Seeds: Only for light snacks, don’t go grabbing jars of almonds. Remember that peanuts are not allowed.
- Fish and seafood: Wild-caught are your best option. If not, avoid those coming from farms if possible.
- Healthy fats and oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are allowed, among with others.
- Spices: Go for sea salt if possible, garlic, tumeric, and rosemary are allowed as well.
Try to go for organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed options whenever possible. This will not always be possible due to price, which is totally understandable. If you can’t, the rule of thumb is to pick the least-processed option.
Why is meat on the Paleo Diet? Isn’t meat bad for you?
Meat is on the paleo diet because it is definitely one of the foods our ancestors on the Paleo Diet have relied on for sustenance. The question of whether meat is bad for us and for the environment is a very important question, and one with so many complicated answers I can’t delve into here.
However, I can share with you two very well-done, well-researched videos that hopefully will explain the whole issue for you.
Are Peanuts Paleo?
Peanuts are not paleo. Even though nuts and seeds are allowed on the paleo diet as long as they’re consumed in moderation, peanuts don’t belong on the Paleo Diet food list.
This is because Peanuts are not actually belong to the nuts and seeds family, but rather to the legumes family, which do not have a place on the Paleo Diet as we’ve discussed previously.
Is unsweetened Chocolate Paleo?
Unsweetened chocolate is considered paleo since it is made with 100% cocoa and doesn’t have any added sugars or artificial sweeteners. It’s a good paleo snack or dessert when consumed in reasonable amounts, but you should know that it has a strong taste and it is not to everyone’s liking.
If you don’t know what is unsweetened chocolate, it’s the baking chocolate.
Is almond milk Paleo?
Yes, almond milk is considered paleo. It’s also considered Keto if you’re wondering. However, you must make sure that it doesn’t include any chemicals added to it such as artificial sweeteners. added sugars, or thickening agents.
That’s it. That’s everything you need to know about the Paleo Diet Food List. By now, you have a very good idea of what you can and can’t consume on the paleo diet, and this should serve as a very good guide for you through your paleo journey.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments or send us an email through our contact us page. You can also find us on social media.
We will try to get back to you with answers as soon as possible, but I hope you understand that it can take us a while to get to your email, we will try our best though.