Paleo Diet Food List

Why keep a Paleo diet food list? One of the biggest issues I had when I first started trying to loose weight was knowing what to eat and what to avoid. I went on the premise that I would loose weight if I ate less and exercise more; and while this is true and a lot of people exploit this overly simple concept of weight loss, it isn’t the fastest and most healthful way to lose weight and keeping it off.

Loosing weight and being healthy isn’t about just counting calories and exercising more, the kind (macro-nutrients such as: protein, fat, carbohydrate, sugar, and alcohol) and quality (polyunsaturated fats vs saturated and mono-saturated fats, organic grass-fed beef vs grain-fed beef) is just as or more important.

If you’re new to the Paleo diet, remembering and memorizing the type of food that you can eat can be a little intimidating and confusing. Or if you’re a Paleo diet veteran and just need a quick look-up, having a Paleo diet food list quick reference can be invaluable. Which is why I created the Paleo Diet Food List.

If you think something should be added this list, please leave a comment below.

Paleo Diet Food ListPaleo Diet Food List

  • Protein

    • Red Meat and Pork: Beef, veal, lamb, bison, ostrich, sheep, caribou, goat, venison (deer), pork. Try to get grass-fed and organic if possible.
    • Cage-free Poultry: Chicken, duck, quail, goose, pheasant, pigeon, eggs from any of the birds just mentioned.
    • Wild Fish and Seafood: Salmon, tunatilapia, anchovy, herring, yellowtail, mahi-mahi (dorado), trout, bass, halibut, sole, haddock, turbot, walleye, cod, flatfish, grouper, mackerel, white fish, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, sea urchin, lobster, scallops, crab.
    • Nuts: Cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, coconuts. Note: Peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume, thus it isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet.
  • Fat

    • Cooking Oil
      • Extra-virgin coconut oil: You never want to burn your oil when you cook and since coconut oil has a high heat index (making it harder to burn), it is the oil I recommend for cooking for most meals.
      • Bacon Fat (lard): Bacon fat can be used as a cooking oil. It’s delicious (who doesn’t bacon?) and can be easily harvested from the grease of rendered bacon fat.
      • Beef Tallow: Tallow, much like bacon fat, is a rendered form of beef fat. I usually get my beef tallow from the fat that floats on top of my beef bone broth which I make once a week.
    • Salad Oil
      • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO): This is my oil of choice for most of my salads. EVOO is high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) so it’s very unstable under high heat and sun light, so I don’t recommend cooking with it and don’t leave it in direct sun light or storing it in a clear bottle. Keep it in a dark place and use a bottle that is tinted (similar to red wine bottles).
      • Sesame seed oil: Adds a great Asian flavor to any salad, I recommend only a teaspoon per salad.
    • Food with Good Fat: Avocados, butter (if you can eat diary), ghee (clarified butter), pork, beef, duck, veal, lamb, cold water fishes (sardines, mackerel, salmon, anchovies), walnuts, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, chia seeds, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, coconuts.
  • Carbohydrates

    • Starchy Roots: Sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, potatoes, purple yams, sweet yams.
    • Nuts: Cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, coconuts. Note: Peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume, thus it isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet.
  • Sugars

  • Alcohols

    • None
  • Vegetables

    • Lettuce, butter lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, radish, artichokes, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, watercrest, onions, shallots, button mushroom, portabello, oyster mushroom, shiitake. Pretty much any green leafy vegetable. I also included mushrooms under vegetables even though it’s classified as a fungus, but most people usually cook mushrooms as if they were vegetables.
  • Spices and Herbs

    • Onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro (coriander), thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, curry powder, all spice, five spice, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla extract (make sure it’s 100% pure), cloves, nutmeg, star anise, mustard seeds, cumin.
  • Fruit

    • Apples, grapefruit, pomelos, oranges, pear, acorn squash, buttercup squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, yellow summer squash, zucchini, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, goji, cocoa, lemon, lime, tangerines, lychee, rumbatan, mangoes, grapes, papaya, plums, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, pineapples, pomegranates, cantaloupes, cherries, apricots, watermelon, honeydew.

Food NOT allowed on the Paleo Diet

  • Refined carbohydrates: White bread, white flour
  • Grains: Wheat, oat, rye
  • Refined sugars: White table sugar, candy of all types,
  • Legumes: Soybean, pinto beans, peas, fava beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, peanuts.
  • Dairy: This is a point of controversy, as some people will say dairy is OK on the Paleo diet, while Paleo diet purist will argue otherwise. I say if you’re not lactose intolerant then eat dairy. But if you’re strict Paleo then stay away from the stuff! Dairy products: Cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, milk chocolate. Note: Ghee, clarified butter does not contain lactose nor casein, the proteins in dairy that causes harm to people who are intolerant to dairy. So enjoy ghee if you can afford it.
  • Processed food: Anything that is in a can or bag and doesn’t spoil for months or years. You can bet it contains preservatives.
  • All junk food: Chips, sweets, candy
  • Hydrogenated Oils and Trans Fat: Vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated corn oil, margarine, shortening.
  • Excitotoxins: Mono sodium-glutemate


  1. You say, “if you can eat diary” (instead of dairy), you might want to fix that because I don’t know anyone who can eat diary lol ;0)

    Why or what is the problem with soy bean? I’m specifically concerned about edamame.

    What about quinoa? Is has a ton of nutrients, it’s a seed, good source of protein (great for vegetarians).

    What about orange and apple juice? Specifically Simply Orange and Simply Apple. The only ingredients in these juices are oranges and apples. In moderation of course.

  2. Thanks for sharing this list. Respectfully, please edit your post so that “loose” is spelled lose (something that is lost), and “loosing” is written as losing ( weight). I only mean to help, not offend.

  3. I believe in the fat section you could add avocado oil, which is a great source of fat as well as a higher smoking point making it better and healthier to cook with or even using as salad dressing

  4. lior – hummus would be a no no cause chickpeas are legumes, and all meats are permissible if your strict paleo it should be grass friend .. wild caught (fish) or free range (chicken/poultry), @firelamb some people can eat dairy just fine, like my boyfriend myself and my son are lactose intolerant. also soybeans are legumes and a no no for strict paleo the reason legumes are a no no is because all legumes have something in them that strips nutrients from the foods you eat so you do not get those nutrients. not sure about the fruit juices why they are excluded i imagine if they are pure juice it is not a problem but most juices have chemical preservatives in them, as for quinoa well that is in debate on whether or not to include it in the paleo diet for some stupid reason …seems like nobody can make up there mind about things cause this site says no alcohol and another says wine is okay as is coffee and tea some say no dairy some say dairy is okay but then again just cause cave men didn’t drink cows milk doesn’t mean it wasn’t around it also doesn’t mean they couldn’t have if they had discovered potaoes were around as early as 800 and 500 BC

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