Paleo Diet Food: Eat Like a Caveman and Shed Pounds!

Paleo diet food includes everything you can find or hunt, including meat, fish, nuts, seeds, regional veggies, and leafy greens. Sorry, the cereal, candy, and pasta will have to go! Instead, you will be making things like paleo spaghetti and chicken stir fry.

Eat like a caveman and lose weight is the incredible theory behind the Paleo Diet. This diet is an effort to eat just like Paleolithic humans 1 .

Why You May Follow a Paleo Diet?

You may choose to follow a Paleo diet because you want:

  • help planning meals
  • to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight


Paleo Diet Foods

The following is a full Paleo diet food list 2 . This is a specific type of list you could put on your Paleo diet foods list the next time you go to the grocery store. So, let’s get started!

paleo diet food

  1. Paleo Diet Meats

This is a list of meats allowed on the diet. Nearly all meat is paleo by definition. Evidently, you will want to stay away from meats that are very high in fat (things like hot dogs, spam, and some other low-quality meats) and highly processed meats. But don’t worry – bacon is included! Here is the complete list of paleo diet meats.

  • Turkey
  • Poultry
  • Chicken breast
  • Pork chops
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Steak
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Bacon
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Ground beef
  • Chicken thigh
  • Chicken wings (yum!)
  • Chicken leg
  • Lamb rack
  • Lobster
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Venison steaks
  • New York steak
  • Salmon
  • Buffalo
  • Bison
  • Bison sirloin
  • Bison jerky
  • Bison steaks
  • Bison ribeye
  • Goat
  • Lamb chops
  • Rabbit
  • Kangaroo
  • Goose
  • Elk
  • Emu
  • Eggs (duck, chicken, or goose)
  • Bear (good luck getting this!)
  • Beef jerky
  • Reindeer
  • Wild boar
  • Turtle
  • Lean veal
  • Ostrich
  • Rattlesnake
  • Quail
  • Chuck steak
  • Pheasant
  1. Paleo Diet Fish

Fish are certainly on the paleo diet food list and they’re chock full of great stuff as omega-3s as well. If it has fins and swims, it’s absolutely paleo diet food worthy. Enjoy it!

  • Salmon
  • Bass
  • Halibut
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Shark
  • Red snapper
  • Swordfish
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Tilapia
  • Walleye
  • Paleo Diet Seafood
  • Check out all the different seafood you can eat on the paleo diet.
  • Crawfish
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Oysters
  • Lobster
  • Clams
  • Scallops
  1. Paleo Diet Vegetables

Almost all veggies are paleo, however, you should be careful here. Veggies with a high starch content, like squashes and potatoes, tend to have low nutrition in comparison to the quantity of sugars/carbs/starches they contain. They are not bad for you – but, they are not always that good for you either.

  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Green onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Parsley
  • Eggplant
  1. Starchy Vegetables*

These vegetables are quite starchy, so eat them in moderation especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

  • Sweet potato*
  • Acorn squash*
  • Butternut squash*
  • Beets*
  • Yam*
  1. Paleo Diet Fats/Oils

Fat does not make you fat – carb does (and the typical American Diet has lots of them!). Our bodies preferred sources of creating energy are natural oils and fats. Therefore, it is best to give our bodies what they’re asking for. Following you can find some of the greatest types of Paleo diet fats and oils that you can consume of extra energy.

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Macadamia oil
  1. Paleo Diet Nuts

Nuts are definitely Paleo diet friendly. But be careful – cashews are very high in fat, and sometimes it’s just too easy to eat a whole jar of them in only one sitting. However, if you are trying to shed pounds, you need to limit the amount of nuts you are consuming.

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  1. Paleo Diet Fruits** 

Fruits are a great part of almost every diet. But if you want to lose weight on the Paleo diet, you should cut back on fruits and focus more on the veggies allowed on the paleo diet food list. Still, feel free to have 1-3 portions of fruit per day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Avocado
  • Apple
  • Papaya
  • Blackberries
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Pineapple guava
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Bananas*
  • Tangerine
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs

*While these starchy foods are good for energy replacement for athletes who need some of the starchier foods to sustain their energy levels because they are spending long periods of time exercising, if you’re trying to shed pounds on the Paleo diet, you will want to limit the amounts of these that you are eating. 

**Eat fruits that are high in sugar in moderation. They are good for you, but it is easy to overdo it.


Foods Not Allowed On the Paleo Diet

This is a whole list of foods that aren’t allowed on the Paleo diet. The first few weeks of excluding these foods might be tough, however, if you stick with it over time, it will be worth it. You’ll see! Here is the complete food list not allowed on the Paleo diet.


  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Cottage cheese
  • Skim milk
  • Non-fat dairy creamer
  • 2% milk
  • Dairy spreads
  • Whole milk (sometimes)
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered milk
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Low-fat milk
  • Ice milk

Soft drinks 

Soft drinks, Coke, and pop are packed with high-fructose corn syrup and sugar and are certainly NOT Paleo friendly.

  • Sprite
  • Coke
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pepsi

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are very high in fructose (sugar) and will definitely throw your diet off track. So, avoid these:

  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
  • Mango juice
  • Strawberry juice
  • Starfruit juice
  • Chinola juice


Avoid anything that has grains in it.

  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Toast
  • English muffins
  • Sandwiches
  • Crackers
  • Triscuits
  • Wheat Thins
  • Cream of wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn
  • Hash browns
  • Wheat
  • Pancakes
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Beer
  • Lasagne
  • Fettuccini
  • Pasta


Legumes are considered as not Paleo diet friendly. You should avoid:

  • All beans
  • Broad beans
  • Black beans
  • Horse beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Fava beans
  • Lima beans
  • Green beans
  • Red beans
  • White beans
  • String beans
  • Navy beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Mung beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Peas 
  • Chickpeas
  • Black-eyed peas (and, yes, you should also avoid the band)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Snow-peas
  • Peanuts
  • Miso
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Mesquite
  • Lupins
  • All soybean derivatives and products
  • Any other beans
  • Tofu

Artificial Sweeteners

Naturally, Paleolithic humans were not consuming artificial sweeteners – so, they are, of course, excluded from this diet. So, if you’d like to sweeten your food, use some honey, Stevia, or maple syrup.

  • ACK
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Ace K
  • Sweet One
  • Equal Spoonful (plus aspartame)
  • Sunett
  • Sweet One
  • Aspartame
  • Equal Classic
  • AminoSweet
  • APM
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Canderel (not in the US)
  • Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester 
  • Equal Classic
  • NutraSweet
  • Natra Taste Blue
  • Aspartame-acesulfame salt
  • Cyclamate
  • TwinSweet (Europe only)
  • Calcium cyclamate
  • Sucaryl
  • Cologran = saccharin and cyclamate (not in the US)
  • Zerose
  • Sugar alcohol
  • Erythritol
  • Glycerol
  • ZSweet
  • Glycerine
  • Glycerin
  • Licorice
  • Glycyrrhizin
  • Sugar Alcohol
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate (HSH)
  • Isomalt
  • Decomalt
  • Isomaltitol
  • DiabetiSweet (also contains Acesulfame-K)
  • ClearCut Isomalt
  • Hydrogenated Isomaltulose
  • Lactitol
  • Maltitol (Maltitol syrup and Maltitol powder)
  • Hydrogenated maltose
  • Hydrogenated High Maltose Content Glucose Syrup
  • SweetPearls
  • MaltiSweet
  • Lesys
  • Polydextrose
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin
  • Equal Saccharin
  • Sweet N Low
  • Necta Sweet
  • Acid saccharin
  • Sodium Saccharin
  • Sweet Twin
  • Sucralose
  • Sorbitol
  • Steviol glycoside
  • Splenda
  • NatraTaste Gold
  • Tagatose
  • Xylitol
  • Anything that says “artificial”

Fatty Meats

Stay far away from the following non-paleo foods.

  • Hot dogs
  • Spam
  • Other low-quality meats 

Salty Foods

These overly salty foods are not on the Paleo diet food list:

  • Ketchup
  • French fries 

See also: What’s Actually in Your Fast Food?


All those easy and cheap, pre-packaged snacks can last years on their own! So, that means they’re not Paleo at all! Check out the full list:

  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Pretzels
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries
  • Wheat Thins
  • SunChips

Starchy Vegetables

These starchy vegetables have high starch content; therefore, you should try to avoid them:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Yam
  • Batata
  • Yucca
  • Beets
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are not good for any diet, and are definitely not on the Paleo diet food list:

  • Monster
  • Red Bull
  • Starbucks Refreshers
  • Rockstar
  • 5-Hour Energy
  • Vault
  • Mountain Dew MDX
  • XS Energy Drink


Almost all alcohol doesn’t work with the Paleo diet. Well, this includes, but is not limited to:

  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Vodka
  • Beer
  • Whiskey
  • Cocktails


Refined sugar should be almost always avoided.

  • Snickers
  • Candy bars 
  • Snickers Peanut Butter
  • Butterfinger
  • 100 Grand
  • Payday
  • Milky Way
  • Reese’s
  • Skittles
  • M&Ms
  • Twizzlers
  • Red Vines
  • Hershey’s
  • Almond Joy
  • Nestle Crunch
  • Mounds
  • Reeses’s Pieces
  • Reese’s Fast Break
  • Twix Peanut Butter
  • Twix

Check out some simple tips how to include this diet in your lifestyle:




Paleo diet foods are a great resource for achieving good dietary balance. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Paleo diet foods have beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes and some other risk factors for cardiovascular disease 3  4 .


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