The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List

The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List

Let's Start with the Backstory

The concept of the Paleolithic diet is simple - eat as our ancestors did before the advent of agriculture. The hypothesis behind this is as follows. While the abundance of farming is beneficial, the foods we ate before our conspicuous fields of grain were actually better suited to our metabolisms; our bodies evolved to eat a "hunter-gatherer diet" comprised of whole foods prepared simply.

What does paleo do?

The diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats while minimizing salt, sugar, and any processed foods. By going back to our simple culinary roots, followers of this stone-age diet claim to reap health benefits.

  • Weight loss
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Blood pressure control
  • Appetite management

Paleo Diet Foods - What Not to Eat

To preface the list of paleo-friendly foods, here's a list of foods to avoid if you want to eat a paleo diet. Eating paleo means cutting out all processed foods, anything that has been modified with additives or otherwise changed in a factory before consumption. You'll also find items like dairy, which Paleolithic humans largely didn't consume.

Foods to avoid

  • Cereal grains - wheat products like pasta, bread, oats, etc.
  • Legumes - peanuts, beans, lentils
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Soda, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Salt (any more than is necessary)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol

Can you eat rice on paleo?

Paleo-purists might say no, but it's known that some paleo dieters incorporate small amounts of white rice into their diets. After all, some Paleolithic humans did have access to naturally growing rice.

Seems too restrictive?

As you can see, the paleo diet restricts many foods common to our contemporary diets. It may not be easy to cut these items from your diet, but there are big benefits. It's always a good idea to eat less sugar and processed foods and to consume less alcohol.

While cutting dairy products can be difficult, there are increasingly great alternatives, like coconut milk or almond milk. Just make sure it doesn't have added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Paleo Diet Foods - What To Eat

Now that you know what you're avoiding, here are some of the delicious, nutritious, whole foods that the paleo diet promotes. You'll find the "caveman diet" isn't nearly as barbaric as it sounds.

Meat & Seafood

Our ancestors loved to hunt. High-quality proteins are a cornerstone of any paleo diet meal plan. If you can, always opt for organic, grass-fed, or wild-caught. There's a real difference in quality. Among other things, these will have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation and improve heart health.

  • Meat
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Lamb
  • Veal
  • Seafood
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Shellfish
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Eggs, too, can be a great source of protein and fats.

Fruits & Veggies

You don't need a lecture on how fruits and vegetables are good for you. Full of so much that fuels our bodies and minds, the paleo lens here emphasizes the varieties that Paleolithic humans could find easily and incorporate into their diets.

Fruits

Fruit can satisfy our craving for something sweet on the paleo diet.

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Melon
  • Grapes
  • Citrus
  • Peaches
  • Plums

Vegetables

Some consider veggies the core of the paleo diet. If this seems like a lot of vegetables - good. A helpful way of thinking about paleo is that its bedrock is a robust menu of fresh vegetables.

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Olives
  • Pickles

Can you eat potatoes on paleo?

Some vegetables are very starchy (read: high in carbs). This includes potatoes. While they can be paleo, they're best consumed in moderation.

Can I eat bananas on a paleo diet?

Some fruits, like the modern banana (which was created by hundreds of years of selective farming), are high in sugar. Choose the organic or wild-picked fruit options if you can.

Fats

No dish is complete without a delicious fat to tie it together. There are more options here than most people know about. Here are some of the best.

  • Olive oil - extra virgin
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Tahini

Nuts

Our ancestors loved to forage and gather. Nuts have protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals seldom found elsewhere. Here are some favorites.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Hazelnuts

Conclusion

The idea behind the paleo diet is straightforward-seeming, but more recent anthropological evidence has complicated our picture of what our ancestors consumed. What we at Kevin's know is that whole foods, prepared well and without additives or artificial sweeteners, are a great basis for a diet. If you want to eat a simpler, healthier diet plan, head over to Kevin's paleo recipes for tons of great ideas. Easy to make, easier to enjoy; food to make you feel great.