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.)
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.
- Chicken/Turkey (take note: all poultry should be eaten skinless)
- Game Meats (think: rabbit, venison, wild boar)
- Organs (kidneys, livers, marrow, sweetbreads, and tongue)
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.
- Mahi Mahi
- Shellfish (including crab, clams, lobster, mussels, scallops, and shrimp)
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:
- Limit high-sugar fruits, such as bananas, dates, mangoes, pineapple and watermelon, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
- 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.
- Don’t forget avocados. They’re technically a fruit as well as a healthy fat.
NEXT: Snacks, Sweets, & More