There are so many fad diets that come and go, but one that seems to be staying the course is the Paleo diet. The premise of this diet is to eat a diet much like the diet that our ancestors of the Paleolithic age ate – in other words, cavemen and cavewomen. So, if you really think about it, this diet has been around for a long time; 10,000 years or so, in fact.
Back then, people ate foods that were natural; meats, nuts, veggies, fruits. They didn’t eat anything that was processed and contained high amounts of fats or sugars. And they were much healthier. That’s the idea behind the Paleo diet, which was pioneered by Dr Loren Cordain.
In addition to weight loss, following the Paleo diet can provide a myriad of other health benefits, such as a reduced risk of various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, you want to improve your overall health, or you want to achieve both, the Paleo diet is definitely a great option. But what type of foods should you be eating on this diet? Below, we’ll share the foods that are recommended for this diet (as well as those that should be avoided), and provide some tasty Paleo diet meal ideas, too!
The foundation of the Paloe diet is foods that only occur naturally, which our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten. These foods include:
- Grass-fed meats (they cannot me grain-fed meats), such as beef, lamb, venison, duck, and pork.
- Poultry, including chicken, turkey, duck, goose, and hen.
- Fish that have been wild caught; farm raised fish are not acceptable. Any type of fish will do, including salmon, tuna, flounder, anchovies, and herring.
- Seafood, also that is wild and not farm raised, such as oysters, clams, shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, and so on.
- Veggies, as long as they haven’t been prepared in an un-natural way (deep-fried, for example)
- Fruits, again, as long as they are natural and do not contain any additives
- Oils, including organic coconut oil, avocado oil, cold-pressed olive oil, and so on
- Nuts, but in small quantities, including cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, and so forth.
- Tubers, such as yams, sweet potatoes, and squash.
In other words, as long as it’s naturally occurring and something, you are pretty much safe to eat it on the Paleo diet.
Foods You Should Avoid
Similar to Atkins, the Paleo diet focuses on removing foods that are highly processed or were made once modern-day farming began. Foods that you should avoid eating on this diet include:
- Grains, including cereals, rice, etc
- Dairy products, including cottage cheese, cream cheese, and so on
- Anything that contains refined sugar
- Processed foods are a huge no-no, so that means no chips, crackers, little packaged cakes, or anything like that
- Refined vegetable oil
- Foods that contain high levels of salt
These foods have been linked to various health conditions. Furthermore, they are known for causing weight gain. As such, they are not advisable on the Paleo diet.
Paleo Diet Meal Ideas
So, now that you know what types of foods you should and should not be eating, what type of meals can you prepare that would be considered Paleo-friendly? Here’s a look at some tasty options to consider for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Paleo Diet Breakfast Ideas
Start your day off on the right foot with any one of these Paleo diet breakfast ideas:
- Eggs! Any way you can cook them, as long as they aren’t deep fried, is a great option for breakfast on the paleo diet. Try scrambling them in organic, grass-fed butter or coconut oil; hard boil them, or make an omelet filled with paleo-friendly veggies, such as tomatoes and peppers.
- Fresh fruit is a great choice for a Paleo-friendly breakfast. Dice up fresh strawberries, pineapple, grapes, melon, blueberries, apples, and any other fruit you can think of, mix them all together, and you have yourself a healthy, tasty, fulfilling, Paleo breakfast.
- Avocado, peach, and kale smoothies are another great option for a paleo-friendly breakfast. Just add the three ingredients to a blender, add in some organic, grass-fed (or better yet, almond or coconut milk), and blend until smooth.
Paleo Diet Lunch Ideas
When the mid-day hunger pangs strike, fill your belly up with one of these Paleo diet lunch ideas:
- Avocado tuna salad. Use fresh caught tuna and mix it together with diced avocado. You can add in some cold-pressed olive oil to taste, as well as any number of veggies that are suitable for the Paleo diet. Eat it with a fork, or serve it on a bed of lettuce.
- Chicken and cabbage salad. Cabbage, both green and red, make up the basis of this salad. Diced grilled chicken adds protein, and basil and a bit of olive oil add some extra flavor.
- Deviled egg salad. 86 the mayo and sub avocados to make yourself a tasty Paleo-friendly egg salad.
Paleo Diet Dinner Ideas
For dinner, you want to eat something that is fulfilling and will keep you satiated through the night. Some great Paleo diet dinner ideas that you should add to your menu include:
- Skillet chicken, seared in organic olive oil and flavored with the Paleo veggies of your choice.
- Grilled wild caught salmon drizzled a reduction made from olive oil and spices.
- Spaghetti squash topped with crumbled organic, grass-fed beef