Paleo Diet Food List

The following is a comprehensive paleo diet food list. In it, you’ll find a list of the paleo diet meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and oils that are allowed on the paleo diet. This list will not only give you a solid starting point for the paleo diet (which you can use to make some awesome paleo recipes), but it will also get your mouth watering. 

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Paleo Diet Food List

For a quick “do eat” and “don’t eat” primer, see our quick reference guide below.

EAT

  • Grass-fed meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

DON’T EAT


If you have more questions on specific foods, we’ve included a comprehensive list of paleo diet foods below. We’ve provided a list of the foods that are allowed on the paleo diet a list of the foods not allowed on the paleo diet. We’ve also broken this list down into the specific food groups, so you can see which meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fats are on the paleo diet. In addition to all of that, we’ve also included a comprehensive list of foods not allowed on the paleo diet.

paleo diet food list banner

There’s often confusion about what falls where, so we’ve tried to clarify that as much as possible. You can click on the links below to jump directly to whichever section of the food list you’re interested in.

You can also check out our handy “is it paleo?” app for a quick and easy paleo food search. Good luck and happy eating!

After multiple requests, we’ve turned this Paleo Diet Food List resource into a downloadable PDF that you can download, print off, and use on your next trip to the grocery store. Simply right click and download this Paleo Diet Food List.

Paleo Diet Meats

This is a list of paleo diet meats allowed on the diet. Almost all meats are paleo by definition. Of course, you’ll want to stay away from highly processed meats and meats that are very high in fat (stuff like spam, hot dogs, and other low-quality meats), but if it used to moo, oink, or make some other sound, it’s almost certainly paleo (and, yes, that means you can still have bacon). Here’s the full list of paleo diet meats.

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

Yes, we love bacon so much as a paleo diet meat that we put it on there twice! Now for a photo of it! Nom. Nom. Nom. Delicious!
 
Paleo Diet Food List Meats Bacon

Paleo Diet Fish

Fish are definitely on the paleo diet and they’re chock full of good stuff like omega-3s as well. If it swims and has fins, it’s definitely paleo. Have it!

  • Bass
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Red snapper
  • Shark
  • Sunfish
  • Swordfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Paleo Diet Seafood

Down in New Orleans and want to have a crawfish boil? Paleo. Swap it out for shrimp? Ditto. Heck, even a stop at red lobster is good as long as you stay away from the rolls. Check out all the different seafood you can eat on the paleo diet.

  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Oysters

Paleo Diet Vegetables

Almost all vegetables are paleo, but you need to be careful here. Vegetables with a high starch content, such as potatoes and squashes, tend to have low nutritional value in comparison to the amount of starches/carbs/sugars they contain. While they’re not bad for you, they’re not always that great for you either.

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsley
  • Eggplant
  • Green onions
Paleo Diet Food List Asparagus

Starchy Vegetables*

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

  • Butternut squash*
  • Acorn squash*

Paleo Diet Oils/Fats

Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat; carbs do (and the Standard American Diet contains a ton of them!). Natural oils and fats are your body’s preferred sources of creating energy, so it’s best to give your body what it’s asking for. The following are some of the best types of paleo oils and fats that you can give your body if you’re in need of some additional energy.

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Grass-fed butter

 

Paleo Diet Nuts

We love nuts and they are decidedly paleo. Be careful though, as cashews are high in fat and, for some reason, it’s incredibly easy to eat an entire jar of them in one sitting (that’s not just us, is it?). If you’re trying to lose weight, limit the amount of nuts you’re consuming. Otherwise, have it. I mean, you can’t beat a good almond/pecan/walnut mix, can you?

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans

  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts

Paleo Diet Food List Mac Nuts

Please note: peanuts are NOT paleo as they’re not actually a nut. They’re a legume! For more on this, see our article about legumes.

Paleo Diet Fruits** 

Fruits are not only delicious, but they’re also great for you. That said, fruits (even paleo-approved ones) contain large amounts of fructose which, while much better than HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), is still sugar. If you’re looking to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to cut back on your fruit intake and focus more on the vegetables allowed on the paleo diet. However, feel free to have one to three servings of fruit a day. Check out this list of paleo diet fruits and see if you’re not hungry by the end! (We’ll admit, we’re partial toblackberries!)

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mango
  • Lychee
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes

  • Lemon
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple guava
  • Lime
  • Raspberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tangerine
  • Figs
  • Oranges
  • Bananas*

Paleo Diet Food List Fruits

*While these starchy foods are great for energy replacement for paleo diet athletes who are spending long periods of time exercising and who need some of the starchier foods to sustain their energy levels, if you’re trying to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to limit the quantities of these that you’re eating. 

**Eat high-sugar fruits in moderation. They’re great for you, but it’s easy to overdo it. Remember, your caveman ancestors didn’t have access to Florida’s orange groves 24/7, so you probably shouldn’t try to eat a bushel of oranges in your next paleo diet meal.

This is a pretty comprehensive list of foods available on the paleo diet and we’re constantly updating it. If you’re looking for ways to eat these foods, check out some of the paleo recipes on our site.

List Of Foods Not Allowed On The Paleo Diet

This is a complete list of foods not allowed on the paleo diet. It’s a sad day when you first have to say goodbye to these foods but, once you start, it’s much easier and you find there are even better paleo substitutes for these foods. The first few weeks might be tough, but if you stick with it over time, it’ll be worth it. We promise. Here’s the ultimate list of foods not allowed on the paleo diet.

Dairy

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

Soft drinks 

Soft drinks, pop, and Coke are packed with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup and are definitely NOT paleo.

  • Coke
  • Sprite
  • Pepsi
  • Mountain Dew
  • Etc.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are super high in sugar (fructose) and will throw your paleo diet off track. Stay away from these.

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

Grains

You should avoid anything that has a grain in it. Yes, anything. If you pretend that grains are the devil, you’ll find it’s much easier to avoid them.

  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • English muffins
  • Toast
  • Sandwiches
  • Triscuits
  • Wheat Thins
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Corn
  • Corn syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Wheat
  • Pancakes
  • Hash browns
  • Beer (and the world mourned)
  • Pasta
  • Fettuchini
  • Lasagne

Legumes

Don’t know what a legume is? That’s okay because we’ve put together a primer on what legumes are and why, unfortunately, they’re not paleo. For the paleo diet, legumes are not on the menu. Sorry. Here are the ones you should avoid.

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

Artificial Sweeteners

Bad news – sweeteners aren’t paleo, sweetie. All artificial sweeteners are, by definition, artificial and not paleo. If you’d like to sweeten your foods, use honey, maple syrup, or (if you’re really in a pinch) Stevia.

  • Acesulfame potassium
    • ACK 
    • Ace K
    • Equal Spoonful (also +aspartame)
    • Sweet One
    • Sunett
  • Aspartame
    • APM
    • AminoSweet (but not in US)
    • Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester 
    • Canderel (not in US)
    • Equal Classic
    • NatraTaste Blue
    • NutraSweet
  • Aspartame-acesulfame salt
    • TwinSweet (Europe only)
  • Cyclamate
    • Not in US as per FDA
    • Calcium cyclamate
    • Cologran = cyclamate and saccharin (not in US)
    • Sucaryl
  • Erythritol
    • Sugar alcohol
    • Zerose
    • ZSweet
  • Glycerol
    • Glycerin
    • Glycerine
  • Glycyrrhizin
    • Licorice
  • Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate (HSH)
    • Sugar alcohol 
  • Isomalt
    • Sugar alcohol
    • ClearCut Isomalt
    • Decomalt
    • DiabetiSweet (also contains Acesulfame-K)
    • Hydrogenated Isomaltulose
    • Isomaltitol
  • Lactitol
    • Sugar alcohol
  • Maltitol
    • Sugar alcohol
    • Maltitol syrup
    • Maltitol powder
    • Hydrogenated High Maltose Content Glucose Syrup
    • Hydrogenated maltose
    • Lesys 
    • MaltiSweet (hard to purchase)
    • SweetPearl
  • Mannitol
    • Sugar alcohol
  • Neotame
  • Polydextrose
    • Sugar alcohol
    • (Derived from glucose and sorbitol)
  • Saccharin
    • Acid saccharin
    • Equal Saccharin
    • Necta Sweet
    • Sodium Saccharin
    • Sweet N Low
    • Sweet Twin
  • Sorbitol
    • Sugar alcohol
    • D-glucitol
    • D-glucitol syrup
  • Steviol glycoside
    • Rebiana
  • Sucralose
    • 1′,4,6′-Trichlorogalactosucrose
    • Trichlorosucrose
    • Equal Sucralose
    • NatraTaste Gold
    • Splenda
  • Tagatose
    • Natrulose
  • Xylitol
    • Sugar alcohol
    • Smart Sweet
    • Xylipure
    • Xylosweet

Fatty Meats

If you’re going to eat meat, go ahead and spring for some steak. Stay far away from these non-paleo foods.

  • Spam
  • Hot dogs
  • Other low-quality meats (if you do eat them, eat them in moderation)

Salty Foods

These overly salty foods fall outside the paleo guidelines.

  • French fries
  • Ketchup

Snacks

These easy, cheap, and pre-packaged snacks could last years on their own. That means they’re definitely not paleo.

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

Starchy Vegetables

While these starchy vegetables are still vegetables, you’ll want to stay away from them due to their high starch content.

Paleo Diet Food List

Energy Drinks

These are not good for you and are definitely not paleo. Stay far, far away.

  • Red Bull
  • Monster
  • Rockstar
  • Starbucks Refreshers

  • Mountain Dew MDX
  • Vault
  • XS Energy Drink
  • 5-Hour Energy

Alcohol
 
Unfortunately, almost all alcohol is not paleo. Yes, this includes, but isn’t limited to:
  • Beer
  • Whiskey
  • Tequila
  • Rum
  • Vodka
  • Alcohol and mixers
Paleo Diet Food List

Sweets

Sugar is almost always manufactured and should be avoided on the paleo diet. This means you’ll need to cut out the delicious but destructive sweets and sugars that are standard in the Standard American Diet. The rule of thumb here is: if it contains a ton of sugar, it’s probably not paleo. That said, here’s a specific lists of sweets that are not on the paleo diet food list. You might want to take a moment to say goodbye to them before you start your paleo diet journey.

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

——

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Recipes Made With Paleo Foods

Some of our favorite paleo recipes are in the paleo cookbooks below. Yum.

You can also check our over two hundred paleo recipes or our favorite paleo diet cookbooks

If you’d like to download this page as a PDF, simply right click and download this Paleo Diet Food List.

Paleo Diet Food List Videos

If you’re looking for the paleo diet food list in video format, look no further. Visual learners can indulge themselves right here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNz-uYTdg_Q

Also, check out this simple Paleo Diet Food List from our friends at Paleoso and learn how to use these foods together into some delicious paleo recipes.

If you’d like to know what is and isn’t paleo while you’re on the go, download Paleo.io, the paleo app that tells you what is and isn’t paleo in an instant.

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—— Photo credit: Linda Cronin | wEnDaLicious |  woodleywonderworks | Daniel Panev | Robert Mehlan |Another Pint Please… | Micky** | Phú Thịnh Co | JD | Photography | pizzodisevo,on/off via photopin cc

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Comments

  1. says

    Gosh, I was told to not eat pork or lard because it was too fatty. This diet allows pork chops back into my life. goodbye chocolate, I won’t miss you.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I don't like the word "diet", so I'll say that this is more a way of changing what you eat long-term. It's all based around what our ancestor hunter-gatherers would have eaten, and what we've evolved to be able to process and absorb. The very basic level of it, is that you don't eat carbohydrates, processed meats or sugars, and cut out dairy products. You instead eat plenty of fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You can still have oil, provided it's natural – so coconut, peanut & olive oil are all good. The good thing is that you're also allowed to take this to your own level – so if you want a couple of days off a week – say, weekends, you can do it & it will still be a lot healthier for you. This is a really helpful site I've used to make a note on my shopping list of what's allowed: The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List | Ultimate Paleo Guide [...]

  2. [...] I guess the easiest way to start would be – to start checking your everyday recipes against the Paleo diet food lists and see what items you can include in your recipe and what items need to be excluded. If you want to see the Paleo diet food list here is the link: ultimatepaleoguide.com/paleo-diet-food-list [...]