Paleo Diet Food List for Beginners

Paleo Diet Food List for Beginners

Aug 30, 2023Tori Sajovec, RD, LD

If you’re curious about what you are eating, you’ve probably come across the Paleo Diet. Its popularity has risen in the past 10 years, and seems to be a continuing trend that we see as dietitians. The Paleolithic Diet, the formal name for the Paleo Diet, is based on the premise that we, as humans, should eat as our hunter-gatherer ancestors once did. This way of eating has been promoted to support weight loss and improve overall health.

As a dietitian, I don’t promote specific fad diets, but of course I can appreciate the efforts to improve our health status. At Wholelotta Good, we offer many Paleo-friendly options to purchase, and we are adding more every day. Many customers look for specific ways to support their lifestyle, and we want to be able to walk with you on that journey by helping you make your Paleo Diet shopping list.

Paleo Diet Food List

Here is the lowdown on the Paleo Diet with choices that I like to recommend as a dietitian:


Not recommended for Paleo Diet

Lean meat



Legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils)




Refined sugar

Fish and seafood

Processed foods

Nuts and seeds

Added salt

Healthy oils


Produce: Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals and make up a large portion of the Paleo Diet shopping list. Dietitian Tip: Use spaghetti squash to replace pasta in common dishes.

Seafood & Meat: Bake, grill or broil your meats instead of frying in oil. Incorporate salmon and tuna more often as they are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Bulk foods section: Bulk nuts allow you to choose the quantity that you want. It also allows you to choose specifically what is recommended while following the Paleo Diet.

Center grocery aisles: Many people avoid the center aisles; I can assure you there are still good choices in this area.

  • Canned tuna and salmon can be a good quick go-to protein. Dietitian Pick: Wild Planet
  • Canned fruit and vegetables are not as ideal as fresh, but eating canned fruits and vegetables is better than not eating any at all. Choose low-sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables and no-sugar-added canned fruit. Dietitian Pick: Full Circle
  • Chicken, beef and vegetable broth are good bases for making soups and stews; opt for low-sodium. Dietitian Pick: Smart Chicken Bone Broth
  • Olives and pickles add new flavors to salads and side dishes. Limit them due to high salt content. Dietitian Pick: Divina Olives
  • Tahini is ground sesame seed and can be used to make sauces and dressings. Dietitian Pick: Once Again Organic Tahini
  • Mustard and ketchup can still be used as condiments. Check the nutrition label and nix the high fructose corn syrup! Dietitian Pick: Primal Kitchen Ketchup
  • Vinegar—flavored vinegars can be used to create salad dressings
  • Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat (good fat) and goes great with vinegar as a salad dressing. Dietitian Pick: Bragg's Organic Unrefined Unfiltered Extra Vigrin Olive Oil
  • Sweeteners: Maple syrup and honey can be used as natural sweeteners, but use sparingly. Dietitian Pick: Full Circle Organic Pure Honey
  • Spices! They can be so versatile in Paleo dishes. Dietitian Pick: Simply Organic Spices
  • Dried fruit is an alternative to fresh fruit; choose the no-added-sugar version. Dietitian Pick: Crunchies Freeze Dried Strawberries
  • Canned nuts are portable and easy to store. They provide fiber, healthy fats and protein. Choose varieties without peanuts. Dietitian Pick: Roasted Almonds
  • Paleo-friendly granola, bars, crackers and wraps are great to have on hand when you are in a pinch or easy to throw in your bag. Dietitian Pick: Simple Mills Crackers
  • Beverages: Coffee and tea are loaded with antioxidants and can fit into a Paleo Diet as well! Dietitian Pick: Yogi Tea

Frozen: Frozen foods can be convenient and nutritious. They are also a great way to stock up to have specific items on hand.

  • Frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutrition as fresh. Frozen fruit can be used in smoothies and frozen vegetables can eliminate preparation time for meals.
  • Frozen chicken or other frozen meat products can cut meal preparation time and are very useful to have in storage for a back-up meal.

This Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash is an easy recipe that is Paleo-approved; if you follow the strict Paleo food list rules, you can use a grass-fed butter as a substitute for regular butter. Throw the spaghetti squash in the oven to do its thing, put together a salad and some extra protein to complete the meal.

Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash

Serves 6

All you need:

1 medium spaghetti squash, 2½ to 3 pounds

2 tbsp Hy-Vee unsalted butter

2 tbsp Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil

2 clove(s) garlic, minced

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Halve squash lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in a large baking dish. Using a fork, prick the skin all over. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Using a fork, remove the squash pulp from shell by scraping. Cover and keep warm.
  3. In a large skillet, heat butter and avocado oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook garlic in butter mixture until tender. Stir in thyme, parsley and lemon juice. Add shredded squash and toasted pine nuts, tossing mixture well until heated through. Serve immediately.

Starting something new can be overwhelming; this breakdown can simplify some questions you may have. Looking for even more Paleo-friendly Hy-Vee dietitian picks? Contact our Hy-Vee Dietitian team here to get more support through the lifestyle changes that you are making.

*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

About the Registered Dietitian      

Tori Sajovec RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics with a minor in English from Iowa State University. From there, her passions took her to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she completed her 10-month dietetic internship program through Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. As her knowledge of food and nutrition grew, so did her desire to educate customers and clients on their overall well-being. Her goal as a dietitian is to make health and wellness an insightful and enjoyable lifestyle for all.

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