Paleo Food List – What You Can and Can’t Eat on a Paleo Diet…

If you are new to Paleo but willing to give it a try, this Paleo Food List will help you to work out what can and can’t be included in your diet.

To recap, there are a few rules or guidelines about what food can and cannot be included in a Paleo diet;

  1. Eliminate all dairy (except grain-fed butter)
  2. Eliminate all grains and legumes (including peanuts – sorry…)
  3. Keep your sugars natural (and non-processed)
  4. Add healthy fats ( Coconut Oil, Ghee (clarified butter), Butter, Macadamia Oil, Olive Oil and Animal Fats)
  5. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetable but limit your intake of starchy foods
  6. Stay away from pre-packaged highly processed foods.
  7. Add red meats, white meats and seafood to your diet.

Paleo Food List - Shopping

© dolgachov | – Shopping with a Paleo Food List

I prefer to think of them as guidelines rather than rules, for a couple of reasons.

The first is that we really don’t know exactly what people ate way back in the Paleolithic era.  Based on science and research we are able to make educated guesses, but no-one really knows for certain, and living conditions today are vastly different.  I live in a house, not a cave and I have a mortgage to pay so I need to spend most of my days in an office so that I can earn enough money to pay that (and all of the other bills).

Many of the ‘gurus’ who are promoting Paleo as the only healthy way to eat, recommend that we replicate the conditions as closely as possible.  Some suggest that we should only eat food available during that period and avoid any contaminants introduced during the agricultural and industrial ages.   Sounds good in theory, but…

I am still going to buy my food from a store, rather than going out foraging for fruits and vegetables after work.  And I don’t know about you, but I am not likely to be going out with a spear to bag myself some meat for dinner.

And let’s face it, even wild game has been affected by the toxins and contaminants in our atmosphere.

The second reason is that I have noticed that any belief system taken to extremes has a tendency to become dogma (prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular groupand then you often see people being beaten around the head with it.

Paleo is not about absolutes, or at least it shouldn’t be, because it is not based on absolutes.

Paleo Food List : Do Eat

Meat and Seafood.

Pretty much all meat and fish are on the do eat list.  Unless it is crumbed or battered, or highly processed (like spam or hot dogs) – then it becomes a ‘don’t eat’ food.

© Anthoy Albright | - A Meat Department

© Anthony Albright | – A Meat Department

Psst: Before you ask, yes, Bacon is on the ‘Do Eat’ list…


Most vegetables make it onto the ‘do Eat’ List, with the exception of Beans (beans are legumes and on the ‘Don’t Eat’ list).

© Micah Sittig | - Veggies

© Micah Sittig | – Veggies

Some vegetables high in starch (like sweet potatoes) are on this list, but unless you are at your ideal weight, they should only be eaten in moderation.

White potatoes (unfortunately) do not make this list!  So no roast potatoes or french fries…


Pretty much all fruits are on the “Do Eat” list.

© Garry Knight | - At the Fruit Stand

© Garry Knight | – At the Fruit Stand

However you need to remember that fruits tend to be high in sugar (fructose) and if you are trying to lose weight, then you should limit the amount you eat and fill up on veggies instead.

Fats, Nuts and Seeds.

Nuts and Seeds are on the ‘Do Eat List’ but you need to be careful about what you class as a nut.  for example, peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes and that makes them a no-no!

© KAZ Vorpal | – Nuts and Seeds

© KAZ Vorpal | – Nuts and Seeds

Paleo Food List : Don’t Eat


Dairy, with the exception of grain fed butter, is on the ‘Don’t Eat’ List.

© Mark Turnauckas | - Diary Products

© Mark Turnauckas | – Diary Products

So no yogurt, cheese, cream, or milk. No Mac n Cheese, and no Ice Cream. Again, sorry…

Grains and Legumes.

Anything made with grains or legumes should not be eaten.

© Domini Rivard | - Grains

© Dominic Rivard | – Grains

This includes anything with wheat, rice, barley,

Sweets and Candies

Do I really need to say anything here?

© Joan-Campderros l Canas | - Sweet Store

© Joan Campderros I Canas | – Sweet Store

Sweets and candies are pretty much sugar and not only do they have no nutritional value but they also play havoc with your blood glucose levels.   Give them a miss.

Soft Drinks, Fruit Juices and Energy Drinks.

Yup all full of sugar or artificial sweeteners with very little nutritional value.  So definitely on the ‘Don’t Eat’ Paleo Food List!


© cannabisenergydrink | – Soft Drinks and Energy Drinks

Artificial Sweeteners.

Do not eat anything that contains artificial sweeteners.


©  frankieleon | – Artificial Sweeteners

It is much better to go without or to use a natural sweetener like honey…

Most forms of Alcohol.

Sorry but anything that is distilled or brewed generally is made using grains, legumes or starchy vegetables (potatoes or soybeans in vodka for example), and spirits are often served mixed with soft drinks. Another non-no.


©  IntangibleArts | – Alcoholic Drinks

Some followers of the Paleo Diet allow wine, but only and always in moderation!



What is a Paleo Diet?

Let’s Find Out…

What do you know about the Paleo Diet?  If you are relying on what you have seen or read on social media, then you are probably labouring under some pretty serious misconceptions!

This type of diet is often referred to as the “Caveman Diet” as Paleo is promoted as a return to whole, unprocessed and healthy foods and avoiding of highly processed (modern) foodstuffs that are not really that good for us.

Paleo Diet: All About Healthy Food Choice

Some people assume that this means that Paleo enthusiasts will only eat meat (things that they can kill themselves) and that a Paleo diet will be limited, boring and lacking in flavour.

Which is actually quite far from the truth!

From what I can tell from the research I have done, there are no “hard and fast rules”.

There are guidelines, which you should consider and as always, only adopt those that seems right for you.

The Paleo diet will not be right for everyone, and it should be a personal choice what aspect of Paleo you incorporate into your day to day life.

And what will surprise many of you is, many of us are already pretty close to this style of food selection and preparation anyway.

So What is in a Paleo Diet?

A paleo diet:

  • is high in certain types of fats, moderate in animal proteins, and low in carbohydrates.
  • includes plenty of vegetables and a moderate amount of fruits and nuts.
  • eliminates diary products other than butter and heavy cream.
  • eliminates cereal grains and legumes.
  • eliminates added sugar and processed foods.

You don’t need to count calories or worry too much about portion size.  Moderate exercise in the form of short, intense training sessions are recommended but it honestly, when you consider how most of us spend our days, that just makes sense!

You might need to add some supplements (vitamin D, magnesium, iodine and vitamin K2 for example) but again, this is probably related to modern lifestyles and many of us would have low levels of these vitamins and minerals in our bodies regardless of our choice of diet.

Really, when you do a comparison to other meal plans, it is not that different to a low carbohydrate diet like the Atkins Diet.