All foods are not created equal. What are approved Paleo foods? Is there a comprehensive Paleo diet foods list anywhere which can be the go to guide to Paleo diet for beginners?
The Paleo Diet Foods List
Through research and my own experience I would opt for organic meat. Although this is a bit more expensive you really can’t put a price on your health.
- Beef is a pretty standard safe bet.
- Buffalo or bison is even better if you can get access to good organic buffalo or bison meat because it is much leaner than beef. Another advantage of opting for buffalo or bison is that these are not very commercial meats which means they are not as exposed to hormones and all the junk that is fed to commercialised animals such as cattle.
- Chicken is a Paleo diet staple and is a regular feature in Paleo diet for beginners. It’s packed with good lean protein and you can eat all parts of it including wings and thighs.
- Eggs are a great option as well for your Paleo diet fix and all types of eggs are permitted and promoted.
- I would personally limit lamb consumption but this is just my preference. This meat is perfectly acceptable in a good Paleo diet.
- Pork is another meat I tend to stay away from but like lamb, it is acceptable to consume in moderate amounts.
- My favourite meat is turkey as it is lean and nutrient dense. I eat turkey every day and ensure u go for the roasted variety and not the cold cuts as these are filled with nitrates and sodium which is just unnecessary.
- Wild game would be the ideal meat if you had access to it as like bison and buffalo, these are not commercialised and will not be exposed to all the chemicals and hormones that other commercialised animals are exposed to.
Now I think I pretty much covered all the meats. The next section will feature some fish options.
Now fishing is what helped the Paleo man outlive the Neanderthals as theses were new sources of nutrients that Neanderthals didn’t have access to
- Bass – very high in omega 3’s but does contain some saturated fatty acids so my humble opinion is to watch how much of this you eat.
- Clams – very good source of protein but not for me as I don’t like shell fish.
- Halibut – in my opinion and from a scientific point of view is one of the healthiest fish to eat. It’s rich in omega 3’s and Omega 6’s and also packs a mean load of vitamins and minerals as an added bonus.
- Lobster – same as clams but more on a lavish level. Save for special Occasions.
- Mackerel – packed with omegas 3 and 6. Great source of protein and best of all it’s scientifically proven to help fight heart disease and lower cholesterol.
- Salmon – this is the safest bet for any Paleo diet.
- Sardines – added bonus here is the calcium which is great for bones and vitamin D which is sometimes difficult to get in your diet.
- Shrimp – my opinion here is the same as for clams and lobster
- Swordfish – here’s a new one for you. When I studied that swordfish was simply the highest percentage of protein you can get in seafood, I was amazed. In addition to giving you a great dose of proteins, swordfish will help you stay fuller for longer which means you consume less and don’t put on unnecessary weight
- Tilapia – same as salmon
- Trout – same as salmon but be careful of wild trout as these have been found to contain more mercury levels than normal due to environmental damage.
- Tuna – this is the most convenient fish to have. Simply stock up on cans or steaks and you will have a ready source of proteins and omegas ready to eat as it doesn’t need cooking. Great in salads or on its own.
It’s great to include this in your diet almost in equal measure to your meats and or fish. The benefits of vegetables are that they provide all the vitamins and minerals required for your day to day life and function. They are also a great source of fibre for your digestion.
Here are a few of my favourite veggies that I include in my Paleo diet. This is a great start for anyone learning about Paleo diet for beginners.
- Asparagus – I eat a lot of fish and nothing pairs better with fish than asparagus. You can eat this raw with a bit of crunch or is amazing straight off the grill.
- Beets – people tend to avoid this and I don’t know why?! These are a superfood and contain compounds called flavonoids which are essential for bodily function. My favourite way to have them is straight off the grill.
- Broccoli – perhaps my favourite veggie. This is pretty much all the fibre you need to get things on the go for you. Also comes with a good mix of vitamins and minerals.
- Cabbage – in addition to the fibre you will get, cabbage has been liked with anti cancer benefits and also promoted heart health so it makes perfect sense to include this in your Paleo shopping cart.
- Carrots – this is my go to snack to keep the cravings at bay.
- Cauliflower – perhaps the most useful veggie for all Paleos. I would be curled up in a ball if not for cauliflower as you can make pizza and rice from cauliflower which is entirely Paleo friendly
- Cucumber – great as a snack or in a salad. These also have a lot of water to help you stay hydrated.
- Green onions – this is the base for many of the dishes I prepare.
- Kale – this superfood is great for smoothies and I also make kale crisps to munch on whilst watching movies on a Friday night.
- Mushrooms – great addition to any dish and is a major feature in the Paleo diet. Just please be careful of the poisonous ones.
- Parsnips – this I love very much and are very similar to carrots. Great as a snack and even a mash.
- Pumpkin – this is a very nutritious and versatile vegetable. Ideal to use as an accompaniment to your meat and also as a Paleo dessert recipe. Think pumpkin pie.
- Spinach – think Popeye the sailor man. This is perfect for the Paleo diet.
I hope you find most of the vegetables above helpful in your quest to discover the Paleo diet for beginners. Below is a list of fruits that I consumed in my Paleo diet. Fruits are essential in the Paleo diet as most of your carbohydrate intake will come from these but you have to also eat this in moderation as too much fructose is not good for you.
- Apples – my favourite fruit and the saying is true. An apple a day definitely keeps the doctor away.
- Apricots – these are often overlooked but pack a great flavour.
- Avocado – this is the saviour for most people. Great in salads, smoothies and is a popular feature in Paleo diet for beginners. Great source of potassium and healthy fats.
- Banana – very nutritious and high in potassium. Great as a go to snack
- Blueberries – this has antioxidants that boost your metabolism so it’s an added bonus.
- Cranberries – great source of vitamin C and fibre.
- Grapefruit – this is probably the healthiest fruit on the Paleo diet as its filing, is low in sugar and high in vitamin C
- Guava – this is one of my favourite sources of vitamin C without the tartness usually associated with it. High in fibre as well.
- Mango – very exotic I know. But I absolutely love this fruit. Comes packed with vitamin B6 in addition to C and has a great flavour
- Orange – the go to for vitamin C
- Pears – I include these due to their high fibre content.
- Pomegranate – great as a snack to munch on and comes with so many health benefits.
- Watermelon – did you know that this is a superfood with loads of antioxidants, water (hydration) and fibre for great digestion.
Fats, nuts, seeds and everything in between
As beginners on the Paleo diet, you may have been surprised (I certainly was!) that this is one of the fee diets out there that actually promote the consumption of fats, and all the allowed fats on the Paleo diet are healthy. Here’s a handy list of fats, nuts and seeds that I incorporate into my diet and I would recommend that you do as well to ensure that you get a balanced diet and all the nutrition your body needs. I am not saying you HAVE to do this but you’ll be sorry if you don’t 🙂
- Avacado – also featured in the fruit section, this sexy thing is one of the mainstays of the Paleo diet. Versatile enough to be a dessert, salad dressing and hell you can even make butter out of it.
- Butter – this is a grey area as its dairy. I personally don’t eat butter but its popularity is growing in the Paleo scene.
- Coconut oil – on the Paleo diet, this will be your best friend. Throw away other oils in your house. You can use this to cook and apply topically.
- Olive oil – as above but has a different flavour profile (depends on your taste) don’t apply this topically though
- Almonds – from experience and research, I would recommend no more than a handful of these a day. Very nutrient dense, gives you a burst of energy and is effective at helping build muscle so you look good too.
- Cashews – same as above. Great as a snack.
- Pumpkin seeds – recently proven as promoting restful sleep, promote heart health and stabilise blood sugar levels, makes perfect sense to include these in your diet.
- Sunflower seeds – one of the problems of the Paleo diet is that you can lack vitamin E. This is the solution right here. Include this as a snake in your Paleo diet for beginners meal plan and you are on your way.
- Walnuts – love these bad boys. Rich in minerals such as iron as magnesium. Loaded with vitamin B6 that gives you energy. Additional bonus is the fibre.
I hope this paleo diet foods list helps you understand the groupings that are allowed so that you can take this information and construct your own plans.
Have I missed anything out? Did I get anything wrong? Would love to hear your thoughts below
PS – Before you start on the Paleo Diet, take moment to check out my free eBook. It will save you a ton of time as I share the mistakes I made first time round and how to fix them.
References and Inspirations