When you’re grocery shopping on the Paleo Diet, one thing’s for sure: you won’t be putting many boxes and cans in your cart.

Get ready to shop the perimeter of the store for whole foods, or better yet, head to a farmer’s market for the freshest—and purest—meat and produce you can find. (Specialty health food shops may also carry some Paleo-friendly items the big chains don’t, but you should be able to find most of these foods at your go-to grocer.)

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So, are you ready to overhaul your diet? We talked to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, and PaleoPlan.com’s nutrition therapist, Neely Quinn, to come up with a list of Paleo-approved foods—and basic guidelines— to get you started.


Here are your 10 essential animal proteins. Buy them fresh (rather than processed and cured), hormone- and antibiotic- free, and naturally raised—whenever possible.

  1. Beef
  2. Buffalo/Bison
  3. Chicken/Turkey (take note: all poultry should be eaten skinless)
  4. Duck
  5. Eggs
  6. Game Meats (think: rabbit, venison, wild boar)
  7. Goat
  8. Lamb
  9. Organs (kidneys, livers, marrow, sweetbreads, and tongue)
  10. Pork

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Now, this is by far from an exhaustive list of Paleo-friendly fish, but these are the most common varieties you’ll see in a market or on a menu. Always go for wild-caught fish over farmed, if you can, and eat the canned kind—like tuna and salmon—sparingly.

  1. Anchovies
  2. Bass
  3. Cod
  4. Flounder
  5. Halibut
  6. Mahi Mahi
  7. Salmon
  8. Sardines
  9. Shellfish (including crab, clams, lobster, mussels, scallops, and shrimp)
  10. Tuna

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There are no fruits that aren’t allowed on Paleo, and most experts recommend eating them at every meal. So instead of a list—we’re giving you three simple guidelines to think about when buying:

  1. Limit high-sugar fruits, such as bananas, dates, mangoes, pineapple and watermelon, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
  2. Buy dried fruits, but consume them in moderation (read: sprinkle a spoonful on your salad or mix a few in when you’re snacking on nuts). They have a greater concentration of sugars, so they pack a bigger glycemic punch—meaning they aren’t the best for keeping your stomach full and your appetite stable.
  3. Don’t forget avocados. They’re technically a fruit as well as a healthy fat.

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