The Ultimate Modern Paleo Approved Food List


When the Paleo diet was first developed and introduced to the world, it was quite limiting. Lean meats, fish, seafood, veggies, fruits, and occasional nuts/seeds were all the foods that were allowed. Dairy products, legumes, starchy vegetables, alcohol, and rice were strictly forbidden, along with the usual suspects industrial oils, grains, and sugar, but now with new nutritional research coming out, experts on Paleo nutrition such as Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser are revising their original concepts of a Paleo diet to include foods which are healthy but were originally deemed not Paleo. The Paleo diet is now often seen as a template rather than a rigid diet, and Mark Sisson can be quoted in a recent blog post of his stating:

“The anthropological record provides a framework for further examination of nutritional science; it does not prescribe a diet.” – Mark Sisson

The one caveat to this though is that one of the main tenets of the Paleo diet is to keep dietary carbohydrates to a minimum, baring a few exceptions (athletes for example). So while this modern Paleo diet might contain more available starches than the original Paleo diet, your daily carbohydrate limit of 50-150 grams stays the same.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive list of the foods generally accepted within the nutritional template of the modern Paleo diet. This comprehensive food list also aims to stay within reason, as many other comprehensive Paleo food lists you will read include zany foods like bear meat or armadillo liver. The foods you will find here you can probably buy in a store.

Overall Recommendations

  • Grass-fed meats/Eggs
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Starchy Vegetables
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Healthy Oils/Fats
  • Sugar
  • Cereal Grains
  • Dairy w/ Added Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Overly salty foods
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Candy
  • Heavily Processed Foods
  • Soy


Meats and eggs will be pastured raised (aka grass fed). Conventionally raised meats fed corn, soy, grains, and other junk from confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) are highly discouraged and NOT Paleo.

  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Organ Meats
  • Bison
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Goat
  • Buffalo
  • Rabbit
  • Elk
  • Goose
  • Duck
  • Eggs
  • Wild boar
  • Ostrich
  • Pheasant
  • Quail


With oils and fats, the main concern is to keep the amount of polyunsaturated fats low, and the amount of monounsaturated fats and saturated fats high. The second concern is for each oil/fat to have a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. All oils purchased should be extra virgin cold pressed (unrefined), and all dairy fats purchased will be pasture raised.

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Macadamia Oil
  • High Oleic Sunflower Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Tallow
  • Avocado Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Sesame Seed Oil (in limited quantities)
  • Lard


Starchy vegetables are not included in this list as they are listed below in their own category. Vegetables can be eaten in large quantities, and when in doubt as to what to eat, eat vegetables.

  • Asparagus
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Beet Greens
  • Green and Red Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Zucchini
  • Endive
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Mustard Greens
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Chicory
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Chives
  • Carrots
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Green Onions


Fruits are similar to vegetables in their nutritional quality, but because of their higher levels of sugar/fructose, consume fruits to a lesser degree than vegetables. Do not eat dried, pureed, candied, or otherwise altered fruit products, and do not drink fruit juice.

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mango
  • Lychee
  • Blueberries
  • Guava
  • Nectarines
  • Grapefruit
  • Pears
  • Clementines
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Pluots
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Lime
  • Raspberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tangerines
  • Figs
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Plantains
  • Cherries
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pomegranate
  • Apricots
  • Acai Berries
  • Cranberries


Fish will be wild caught. Keep consumption of fish to a maximum of 2-3 times a week at most because of high mercury concentrations.

  • Bass
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Cod
  • Rockfish
  • Catfish
  • Perch
  • Caviar
  • Whitefish
  • Red snapper
  • Shark
  • Sunfish
  • Swordfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Sole
  • Pike
  • Carp
  • Eel
  • Flounder
  • Sturgeon


Seafood will be wild caught.  Keep consumption of seafood to a maximum of 2-3 times a week at most because of high mercury concentrations.

  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Mussels
  • Snail
  • Clams
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Oysters
  • Octopus
  • Krill
  • Cuttlefish


Nuts will be purchased whole, unroasted, unsalted, and unsweetened in order to limit consumption.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Chestnuts


These do not take the place of a vegetable side dish, but rather as a carb source for a meal. Remember the Paleo diet recommends you eat only 50-150 grams of carbohydrates a day. Rice and corn are not necessarily bad for you, but they are not necessarily good for you either. The calories they contain carry with them little nutritional value, so eat rice and corn in limited quantities.

  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Rice (in limited quantities)
  • Jicama
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Yam
  • Corn (in limited quantities)


These do not take the place of a vegetable side dish, but rather as a carb source for a meal. Remember the Paleo diet recommends you eat only 50-150 grams of carbohydrates a day. Legumes contain a lot of fiber, protein (for a carb source), and minerals, so if your body can handle legumes well and cause no digestive problems, dig in!

  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Lentils
  • Fava Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Red Beans
  • Green Beans
  • String Beans
  • Peas
  • White Beans
  • Lima Beans


While these different sugars are technically Paleo, sugar is still sugar, and should only be consumed in very limited quantities, unlike the 15-17% of total daily calories Americans on average consume from sugars.

  • Maple Syrup
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave Syrup
  • Molasses

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is fine to eat in limited quantities if the cacao percentage is above ~70%. Go below 70% and the amount of butter and sugar is too high for health reasons and too high to be deemed Paleo.

Alcohol (red wine)

Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 servings a day. Most Paleo experts agree that alcohol is not Paleo, but some endorse red wine for its high resveratrol content. A serving of wine is 5 oz.

Stefan Burns is a fitness, nutrition, and powerlifting buff. He created Strength Cooperative with a mission to provide lifters of all skill levels with the most proven training methods and nutritional strategies tested in the gym and backed by science. Follow Strength Cooperative on Facebook and Instagram.

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Stefan Burns
Fitness, nutrition, and powerlifting buff. Created Strength Cooperative as a way for hardworking, natural lifters to share advice on how THEY got results in the gym.