Paleo Diet Food List, Plus 8 Indulgent Paleo Recipes

Staple Paleo Diet Food List, Plus 8 Indulgent Paleo Recipes

Paleo diet food list and paleo recipes.

If you’re thinking of trying the paleo diet, you need to equip yourself with this staple paleo diet food list. To achieve your paleo diet goals, you’ll want to ensure you always have plenty of fresh, nutritious paleo foods on hand. And if you’re worried that embracing the paleo diet will mean missing out on the pleasures of food, check out these eight indulgent paleo recipes.

What Is the Paleo Diet?

You’ve probably heard of the paleo diet, but do you really know what the paleo diet is? This way of eating is meant to mimic how our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate centuries ago. Of course, there’s no way to be completely sure what our ancestors really ate, and the data we do have shows diets varied in different parts of the globe. Plus, the point of the paleo diet isn’t to accurately recreate an ancient way of eating; it’s to embrace a diet based on whole foods and to lead a physically active life.

The foundational paleo diet food list includes unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. It appears that eating paleo can lead to a multitude of health benefits, such as weight loss, decreased risk of insulin resistance, lower cholesterol levels, improved overall cardiovascular health, and more.

Learn the Paleo Diet Rules

Since the paleo diet first rose to popularity, health and wellness experts, recipe bloggers, and average people have developed many variations on its basic principles. A few of the approaches with the most followers include strict paleo, so-called “normal paleo,” and primal. Here are some basic, widely agreed-upon paleo diet rules:

  • Foods to Eat
    • Vegetables (often excluding members of the nightshade family)
    • Fruits
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Fresh and dried herbs
    • Healthy fats
  • Foods to Avoid
    • Legumes
    • Most kinds of alcohol (wine is often allowed)
    • Soda
    • Fruit juices
    • Most vegetable oils
    • Most dairy products (full-fat butter and and sometimes cheese may be allowed)

Following the paleo diet means reading ingredient lists closely if you’re considering eating a processed food. Many contain sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, or other off-limits additives.

40 Staples Make Up Our Paleo Diet Food List

40 Staple Paleo Diet Foods

Paleo success is predicated on having plenty of healthy, paleo-compliant foods on hand. Use this staple paleo diet food list to fill your pantry and refrigerator.

  • Meat: Look for pasture-raised, minimally-processed beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and pork.
  • Fish: Choose wild-caught whenever possible. Salmon, trout, cod, tuna, and shrimp are all excellent options.
  • Eggs: A true staple of the paleo diet. Opt for pasture-raised if the price isn’t prohibitive.
  • Vegetables: Don’t neglect this category! Load up on broccoli, bell peppers, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, and, of course, kale.
  • Fruits: Some stricter paleo plans rule out high-glycemic fruits. Green apples are always a safe bet, though! And berries, citrus fruits, stone fruits, and bananas are often allowed too.
  • Nuts and seeds: It’s often recommended to exercise caution here, but pretty much every nut and seed you can think of is paleo-friendly: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and so on.
  • Healthy fats: Coconut oil can be found in the cupboards of practically everyone who’s ever tried the paleo diet. Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and ghee are good choices too.
  • Salt and spices: The key to avoiding paleo boredom! You’ll want sea salt and pepper, of course, as well as garlic, turmeric, cayenne, rosemary, cinnamon, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Paleo Is Not Synonymous with Plain

The uninitiated may think adopting the paleo diet means eating meals like plain chicken with a side of boiled broccoli every day. That’s one way to follow the paleo diet, but there are plenty of possibilities to create colorful meals infused with flavor. And if you’re willing to get creative with the ingredients you use, you can even bake paleo-compliant breads and desserts.

Try These 8 Indulgent Paleo Recipes

8 Delicious, Indulgent Paleo Recipes

1. Saucy Paleo Breakfast Enchiladas

This genius breakfast enchilada recipe replaces tortillas with thin, crêpe-like egg pancakes. It’s colorful, deliciously spicy, and infinitely adaptable, and as such can take the place of pride in any brunch spread.

Get the recipe here.

2. Decadent Cauliflower Mac and “Cheese”

The key to this veggie-rich take on a comforting classic is the rich, velvety, totally dairy-free cheese sauce made with sautéed vegetables, coconut milk, and egg yolk. Even the pickiest eaters (including kids) love this decadent, highly nutritious dish.

Get the recipe here.

3. Show-Off Paleo Lasagna

This recipe can be made with cheese or dairy-free, depending on your paleo preferences. All in all, it’s a vibrant meal that delivers classic Italian flavors without the heavy feeling pasta dishes often leave you with. All the components of this multi-layered dish are made from scratch, so it can be rather time-consuming, but the result is entirely worth the effort.

Get the recipe here.

4. Magical Paleo Chicken and Dumplings

This gluten-free, egg-free recipe features soft, plump dumplings floating in a savory broth. The creator promises it delivers love at first bite, and the reviewers agree.

Get the recipe here.

5. Sweet Potato Recovery Bar

This nut-free paleo sweet potato bar contains the nutrients you need to quickly recover from even the most intense workouts. With natural sweetness from applesauce and dates, plus optional dark chocolate to make it even more of a treat, this recovery bar is sure to please.

Get the recipe here.

6. Crowd-Pleasing Paleo Banana Bread

This banana bread is the all-time most popular recipe on Civilized Caveman, one of the biggest paleo recipe sites, and for good reason! It takes just five minutes to get into the oven and can be customized to your heart’s content. It’s perfectly spiced with a gorgeous texture and flavor.

Get the recipe here.

7. Gooey Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

To make these chocolate chip cookies, you’ll need extremely finely ground almond flour. That results in cookies that are crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Take it over the top by garnishing the freshly-baked cookies with fleur de sel sea salt.

Get the recipe here.

8. 3-Ingredient Paleo Brownies

These rich, healthy 3-ingredient brownies are gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. They’re packed with potassium, healthy fats, fiber, and protein, but taste like a truly gourmet dessert.

Get the recipe here.

The Dr. Amino Team

Experts in amino acid research, the Dr. Amino team works tirelessly to give you the most up-to-date amino acid and health information available. We’re dedicated to helping you transform your body and mind using the power of amino acids and wellness best practices that enhance quality of life and longevity.

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