Paleo Food List – This is the only guide you’ll need.
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There are a lot of ‘miracle diets’ out there that promise rapid weight loss, incredible muscle growth, or amazing stamina… and you know most of them are complete garbage…But I’m not promising any of that with this Paleo food list for the Paleo diet.
We are in no way claiming that this diet is perfect for everyone. It’s not. But it is one powerful eating plan that’s worked really well for people we know, and we wanted to share the benefits with you.
What is ‘Paleo’?
There are many variations of the Paleo diet, and they’re all a little different (some are way more extreme than others). There are also a lot of different opinions on how much of each Paleo food group you should eat.
…But we don’t pretend to know how much is right for each individual person. Your doctor is the expert who knows how much protein, fiber, carbs, sugar, etc. you need, so you should talk to him/her before deciding how much of each Paleo food group to eat. Sound good?
This food list lays out what foods are allowed on the Paleo diet, and what foods aren’t. And it’s actually pretty simple to follow.
The Paleo diet is only foods that cavemen during the Paleolithic period had access to.
…And since they didn’t have access to anything prior to the agricultural revolution, that eliminates milk products, wheat products, and sugar (and obviously, processed foods).
Obviously, cavemen ate whatever they could, whenever they could as hunter-gatherers… but the focus of this diet isn’t becoming just like a caveman, it’s cutting down the extra sugars, bad fats, bad/simple carbs and processed preservatives that we can get now.
Here’s why Paleo eaters cut out those specific things:
- ‘Bad sugars’ don’t naturally exist in food, and they can contribute greatly to obesity, poor heart health and high blood sugar. You find this type of sugar (which is what we know as table sugar) in corn syrup, honey, and fruit juice concentrates.
- ‘Bad fats’ affect your heart health, and can contribute to weight gain. You find these fats in butters, fried foods, and processed foods.
- ‘Bad’ or ‘simple carbs’ provide low nutritional value, yet digest at varying rates…meaning you have peaks and valleys of energy all day. You find these carbs in white rice/pasta, artificial sugars, potatoes and pastries.
…So there’s no calorie counting or portion control with Paleo… just cut all those foods from your diet. Make sense?
The Paleo Food List
This list is pretty straightforward… first, I’ve given you a list of Paleo-approved foods to eat, then a list of what Paleo eaters don’t eat in that same category (basically, it’s an ‘eat this… not that’ format).
…And for the ‘not that’ foods, I even explain why it’s not Paleo-approved (which of the three things above (bad sugars, fats, or carbs) it contains… but remember, it’s just no diary products, grains or sugars).
Now, if you’re researching the diet, you should read this entire list,
Here’s the paleo food list:
This is one of the best parts of the Paleo diet…
Almost any vegetable you can find is 100% allowed.
…But do make sure that you eat a large variety of vegetables… because not every vegetable has every nutrient your body needs. Mix them up in your diet to get a good mix of nutrients.
Eat These Vegetables:
- Leafy greens (spinach, arugula, kale, cabbage, etc.)
- Sweet potatoes
- Artichoke hearts
- Summer squash (with thin skin… zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash, etc.)
- Onions (red, yellow, white, green)
- Peppers (bell, jalapeno, poblano, serrano, etc.)
Like I said above, all vegetables are allowed on the Paleo diet… but some Paleo experts suggest you cut these vegetables out of your diet, unless you’re an athlete.
These vegetables are starches (which means high in those bad carbs we talked about), and so they’re only really appropriate for those athletes who need long-term carb energy boosts.
- Winter squash (squashes with a thick, hard skin… butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, etc.)
- Grains (cereals, wheat, bread, pasta, beer, corn, corn syrup, etc.)
Another great part about the Paleo diet… almost all meat is allowed, just like vegetables.
…But just like with vegetables, eat a good mix of red meat, white meat, and seafood. Each of these have those different nutrients, and your body needs more than just steak or just salmon to survive.
Eat These Meats:
- Fowl (chicken, turkey, quail, pheasant, etc.) and their eggs
- Deer (even elk and reindeer)
- Shellfish (crab, craw fish, lobster, shrimp, etc.)
- Fish (salmon, trout, swordfish, snapper, bass, tuna, etc.)
- Even some unconventional meats like rattlesnake, ostrich and turtle.
- Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, miso, lentils, soybeans, tofu). Even though these are high in protein and fiber, legumes are very difficult for your body to break down and can cause a leaky gut.
- Processed meat (hot dogs, spam, etc.). These are high in those bad fats we talk about (plus a ton of added chemicals, and even other animal products).
- Dairy (milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, cream cheese, pudding, etc.). Dairy is high in protein, but also in the bad fats we talked about, and a lot of forms have added sugar (like ice cream, pudding, and yogurt).
…And here’s another nearly unrestricted area of the Paleo diet… fruit.
Fruits are often high in essential vitamins and good carbs that your body uses for energy.
…But try to not eat too much fruit. Even though the sugar in fruit is naturally occurring, it’s still sugar, and can still harm your body (especially your heart) when you eat a lot of it.
Eat These Fruits:
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
- Citrus (lemon, lime, oranges, etc.)
- Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, etc.)
- Fruit juices with added sugar. These drinks needlessly supplement already sweet fruit juice with added sugar and preservatives.
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and fiber, and they powerfully fill you up (since they’re high in protein). But just like with fruits, don’t eat too many nuts, or you risk a fat/calorie overload.
Eat These Nuts:
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Chia seeds
- Peanuts. These ‘nuts’ aren’t actually a nut at all, but a legume like peas and beans.
In general, natural oils are high in good fat, but they’re also high in calories and can be dangerous to over consume.
…But cooking with any of these oils is perfectly Paleo-approved:
Eat These Oils:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sunflower oil
- Macadamia oil
All of these oils are high in bad fats, and/or are heavily processed in their final form.
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
- Corn oil
Just because these natural sweeteners are Paleo-approved, it doesn’t mean that you should eat a lot of them. Really, you’re better off not using them at all.
…But if you really want something to sweeten your coffee, baked goods, or glazes, the following list is the best Paleo-approved options to choose from.
Eat These Sweeteners (Sparingly):
- Maple syrup
- Any artificial sweetener (Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, anything processed). Obviously, these sweeteners are processed, and are high in those bad sugars and/or carbs we talked about.
The best Paleo beverage (and all-around beverage, really) is water, which is essential to life and important in so many processes of your body.
…But I get it:
Sometimes you’re craving a little more flavor. Try any of these Paleo-approved beverages in those moments.
Drink These Beverages:
- 100% fruit juice
- 100% vegetable juice
- Tea (with no sugar!)
- Coffee (with no sugar or cream!)
- Milk. Like I mentioned above, diary products are not a part of the Paleo diet. LINK to above
- Energy drinks/soft drinks. These have a ton of non-natural chemicals and added sugar.
- Fruit juices with added sugar. Obviously… these have a lot of unnecessary added sugar!
Food Subscription Boxes That Offer Paleo Options
This Paleo food list is pretty straightforward and helpful for people starting out this lifestyle. Check out these food subscription boxes that have Paleo options.
- Purple Carrot is a plant based meal box that’s perfect for anyone who love veggies more.
- Green Chef sends you wholesome, sustainable ingredients and recipes that fit your lifestyle. Check our review in TheUnbox.
- Pete’s Paleo makes your life a bit easier by offering freshly cooked paleo meals ready to be shipped based on your schedule. Check our review for this meal box here.
No diet is going to be perfect for every human in the world… we all have different needs.
But if you and your doctor think it’s a good idea, use our Paleo food list to come up with powerfully healthy meals and snacks!