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The Paleo Diet Food List: What To Eat and Avoid

Shannon Slabaugh


Diet and Nutrition
meal planning

The paleolithic diet has been a popular weight loss approach for years now. Ultimately, what has differentiated the longevity of a paleo diet from other short-lived fad diets, is that it actually works. And while, there are many fad diets that certainly “work” at targeting weight loss, most fad diets actively work against the basic principles of nutrition, and thus, are not sustainable long term.

The Benefits Of A Paleo Diet

Perhaps one of the largest benefits of a paleo diet, from a nutritional standpoint, is that it is a balanced way of eating. A paleo diet follows the basic principle of “eat foods a caveman would have access to” or better yet known as “eat whole foods” which sets most participants up with a great framework for not only losing weight, but actually eating a healthier diet.

Another added benefit of the paleo diet is the simplicity of it. The overlying rule of “eat foods a caveman would have access to” makes it very easy to shop, plan, and stick with the diet. Even when eating out, or ordering food, it is still relatively easy to differentiate between processed foods and whole foods that “a caveman would have access too.”

It should be easy to spot the difference between a paleo and non-paleo option, but as an example, here are two entrees from a traditional American-style restaurant you may see:

Paleo: 6oz Chicken Breast, Baked Sweet Potato, Side of Asparagus (all cooked in Olive oil)

Non-Paleo: Cheeseburger with fries

Another advantage to the simplicity of the diet is that it does not require participants to do too much thinking. While calories in versus calories out (link) is the most basic rule to weight loss, a paleo diet takes a lot of thinking out of dieting because as long as you are eating whole, nutritious foods, you will probably find that weight loss will follow naturally - mainly because this style of eating cuts calories automatically. And while this certainly is not a “one size fits all” approach to dieting, most people will find that if they are filling their body whole natural, whole, nutrient-dense foods, it will have a substantial impact on your overall weight and body composition as opposed to processed foods.

With that being said, you may need some help getting started on a paleo diet. Here are all of the foods considered to be “paleo.”

paleo dieting food listPaleo Diet Food List

Grass-fed meats: Beef, flat iron steak, elk, venison, etc. 

Poultry: Chicken, turkey, etc. 

Fish and seafood: Shellfish, white-fish, salmon, etc. (wild caught if possible)

Fresh fruits: Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, avocados, etc.

Fresh vegetables: Kale, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, etc.

Eggs: free-range or pasturized

Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.

Healthy oils and fats: Olive, flaxseed, avocado, coconut, and ghee

Natural sweeteners: Honey, Maple Syrup 

Non-Paleo Foods To Avoid

Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, etc. 

Dairy: Milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, etc. 

Most cooking oils: Vegetable, canola, corn, peanut, palm, etc. 

Grains: Cereal grains, corn, wheat, quinoa, rice, pasta, grits, etc.

Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, refined white sugar, refined brown sugar, etc. 

Processed Foods: Donuts, processed meats, cookies, chips, fruit juices, etc. 

foods to eat on a paleo diet

Tips For Shopping Paleo

If you are new to eating paleo, this may seem like a big change to your life. Cutting out grains, processed foods, dairy, and a load of other relatively common items, may seem overwhelming. Here are some tips we have to simplify the process and put your worries at ease. 

1) Plan Your Meals 

If you are struggling on where to begin, planning out meals that you enjoy and then figuring out a way to make that meal paleo will be a good place to start. Instead of immediately switching to a diet full of chicken and broccoli, find ways to get creative with the process so that you can cook food you genuinely enjoy. Yes, even paleo food can be delicious, it just takes a little bit of creativity and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas of creative paleo meals

2) Make A List

Once you have decided what meals you want to make for the week, create a list of all of the ingredients you need to make that food. As simple as this sounds, it will make it much easier for you to stick to a set plan and not get too deep into the aisles of a grocery store. Having something as simple as a grocery list will keep you on track and ensure you get exactly what you came for. It will also help familiarize you with where to find these paleo friendly foods in your local store. 

3) Shop Outside The Aisles

If all else fails, this simple rule of thumb may make it really easy to shop for paleo foods. The layout of most grocery stores is quite simple, in the inner isles you will typically find your packaged, processed foods. Including, but not limited to, bread, pasta, cereal, flour, sugar, etc. For the most part, many of the foods stocked in the inner aisles of a grocery store will probably be "non-paleo approved items." Every now and then you may find some "paleo" food items inside the aisles (a lot of paleo approved flours may be in the inner aisles of a grocery store) but that is an exception, not the rule. 

Typically, if you are shopping the outer aisles of a grocery store there will be a produce, meat, poultry, eggs, and bulk food section. All of these areas tend to provide you with the foundation of a paleo diet including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats. If you find yourself lacking a clear direction when grocery shopping, using this simple rule should help you create a clear path and help you avoid the variety of temptation within the aisles. 

Get Help Getting Started

If you are new to a paleo diet, it may be in your best interest to start out with a structured meal delivery service. Starting a new diet can be challenging, especially when you really don't know where to begin and aren't ready to spend hours researching ways to make creative paleo meals. Utilizing a meal delivery service like Trifecta, that can send you fresh, ready-to-eat creative paleo meals will help you get started on your new lifestyle!

Learn more about the paleo meals Trifecta has to offer here: 

View Meals

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