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Foods Allowed for the Paleo Diet

By Stephanie Crumley Hill ; Updated July 27, 2017

The Paleo Diet promotes the foods our ancestors ate before the introduction of modern agriculture and food processing. Proponents of the diet say that they maintain a naturally lean physique, have increased energy and stamina and do not suffer from metabolic or autoimmune diseases. In broadest terms, foods allowed on the Paleo Diet are natural foods that would have been available to our ancestors, including meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Before making any drastic changes to your diet, consult your health care provider.

Protein Sources

The primary sources of protein allowed in the Paleo Diet are meat, eggs, fish and shellfish. This includes unprocessed beef, pork, lamb, goat, rabbit, venison, quail, turkey, chicken, ostrich, fish, shellfish and eggs from chickens, ducks or geese. Game meats are preferred when available. Choose lean cuts of meat over fattier cuts. When eating poultry, choose white meat over dark and remove the skin. Eggs from free-range chickens are preferred; choose eggs with a higher content of omega 3 fatty acids when available. Avoid processed meats such as sausage, bacon or salami, which may contain soy, sugars or other fillers.

Vegetables and Fruit

Most vegetables and fruits are allowed. Vegetables can be fresh or frozen and can be eaten cooked or raw. You can eat leafy, green vegetables including spinach, watercress, cabbage and lettuce. Other vegetable choices include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, artichokes, celery, cucumber, carrots, rhubarb, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, turnip and onions. Fruits that are allowed on the diet include citrus fruits, tomatoes, apples, apricots, pears, peaches, cherries, berries, dates, grapes, coconuts, ripe bananas, olives and avocados. You can drink fruit juices as long as they contain pulp and are free from additives. You also can eat small amounts of dried fruit.


The Paleo Diet allows most nuts and seeds that are edible without processing. You can choose from walnuts, chestnuts, filberts, almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts. Raw cashews and peanuts are now allowed.

Sugar, Fat and Beverages

The only sweetener the diet allows is honey, and you should use it only in small amounts. You also can use olive oil, lard and mustard. Tea is permitted, as are small quantities of wine.

Foods to Avoid

The diet doesn't permit dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter), cereal products (bread, pasta, rice), legumes (beans, peas, soy) and starchy vegetables (potatoes).

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