Paleo Shopping List For Beginners + FREE Printables

Paleo Shopping List For Beginners

Nowadays, many folks are looking for new lifestyle changes that will bring them back to a more natural way of living.

Our day to day lives are fast and demanding, and our bodies need replenishing from excessive amounts of stress.

One popular way of getting back to basics is following a paleo diet.

The paleo diet is a way of eating that follows the principles of what our ancestors who led a hunter gatherer lifestyle would have eaten.

If you're interested in following a paleo diet, we're here to help with a paleo shopping list.🥦

Key takeaways from this article:

  • The paleo diet is based on the Paleolithic lifestyle, focusing on plants and animal proteins.
  • Benefits include a lower risk of diabetes type 2 and less strain on the environment.
  • Drawbacks of a paleo diet include a high risk of heart disease and potential bone density issues.
  • What to eat on a paleo diet.
  • What to avoid on a paleo diet.
  • Main difference between paleo and keto diets is that paleo allows whole-food carbs (while keto doesn't) and keto allows dairy and soy (while paleo doesn't).

Paleo shopping list printable

Click here to download the printable paleo shopping list for your next shopping trip!

What is a paleo diet?

Paleo, or Paleolithic diet, as the name suggests, requires us to take a step back from our heavily industrialized lifestyles.

It draws on the idea that eating as our ancestors did will contribute to our health.

Some benefits of the paleo diet include:

  • Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Less strain on the environment, as organic and plant-based options are the main source of foods.
  • Meeting most nutrient requirements.
  • Avoiding processed foods, carbs, and sodium.

The paleo diet can also be good for weight loss.

⚠️However, studies have shown that it is not an effective way to lose weight long term.⚠️

Some other drawbacks of the paleo diet include:

  • It is high in saturated fats and could contribute to an increase in blood cholesterol levels, leading to heart problems.
  • Low calcium intake, which is bad for the bones and increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • It is very low in carbs, so similar to the keto diet, it can lead to ketosis. It is recommended to follow such restricted meal plans only if they are approved by a doctor.

Another drawback of the paleo diet is that it is not suitable for people avoiding animal products.

If you'd like some inspiration for a vegan diet instead, check out the vegan pantry staples we've prepared!

What are the rules for the paleo diet?

The most basic way to follow the paleo diet is the 75% - 25% rule.

It means that 75% of the time you eat plants (fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds) and 25% is reserved for proteins (meat, fish, eggs).

Plate filled with boiled eggs, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, nuts, and strawberries.

Paleo diet food list

The most important aspect of the paleo diet is to focus on plants and protein.

Here are some ideas for your paleo grocery list:


Veggies should be at the core of your paleo meal plan.

You can eat pretty much any vegetable on the paleo diet, and here some suggestions:

  • Tomatoes
  • Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts


Generally all fruit is allowed on the paleo diet.

However, it's always good to focus on fruit with a low glycemic index, such as:

  • Apples
  • Berries (blackberries, strawberries, cherries)
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons)
  • Pears
  • Plums

Nuts & seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy fats and plant based proteins.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts

Animal proteins

Animal proteins are what will give you that necessary sensation of fullness on the paleo diet. Without them, you’d likely feel hungry almost all of the time.

If you can, try to focus on meats that are organic and grass fed, and fish that is wild caught.

  • Meat (pork, lamb, beef)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
Pro tip: Download a free shopping list app to take your paleo list with you next time you go to the store!

Healthy fats

Even though trans fats are not recommended on any healthy diet, it is still important to eat some of the good type of fats, such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Sesame oil
  • Nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter, tahini)

Foods you can eat in moderation

Although you should focus on plants and proteins, here some foods you can include in your paleo diet in moderation:

  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain rice
  • Beans and lentils
  • Non-sugar sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia, coconut sugar
Read more: Here is another diet similar to paleo, and a shopping list for it: the blood type O shopping list.

What is not allowed on paleo?

You can get the short answer to the question of what is not allowed on the paleo diet by just asking yourself: did our hunter gatherer ancestors have the access to this food you feel like eating?

So when in doubt, that is a great way to assess what to add to your paleo meal plan.

Here is a list of all foods you should be avoiding on the paleo diet:


Although our ancestors did have access to dairy, it was in a very limited amount and not the processed type of dairy that is available in stores today.

So make sure you are avoiding dairy on a paleo diet.

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

Processed foods

We all know that processed foods are never recommended if you want to follow a healthy lifestyle.

  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Cereals
  • Microwave ready meals
  • Instant noodles
  • Syrups and dressings

Fast food

Avoiding fast food should also be a no-brainer

  • Hamburgers
  • Cheeseburgers
  • French fries
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Pizza
Young woman standing outside eating a hamburger.


Sweets that are heavily processed and contain a high amount of refined sugar should be avoided too.

  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Cupcakes
  • Donuts


Grains are high in glycemic index and are usually overly processed. Avoid grains such as:

  • Bread and pastries
  • Oatmeal
  • Anything made of wheat or barley

What is the 85/15 rule in paleo?

Given that paleo is such a restrictive diet, it can be difficult to maintain long term.

That is why even its founder, Dr Cordain, insists that you can still achieve good weight loss results even when not following the diet 100% of the time.

The 85/15 rule basically means that you follow the paleo diet 85% of the time. The remaining 15% of your time, you allow yourself for some “cheating” or indulging in foods that are technically not allowed on the paleo diet.

You can do so by adding one or two “cheat” meals every week.

Is paleo healthier than keto?

It can be difficult to distinguish paleo and keto diets because both of them eliminate added sugar and emphasize healthy fats.

The main difference is that paleo allows whole-food carbs, while keto allows dairy and soy.

Here is a neat table that will help you better distinguish what's allowed on paleo and what on keto 👇

Paleo vs Keto comparison

Although both paleo and keto are healthy diets, paleo is considered a slightly healthier option.

That is because keto is more restrictive and not tolerated by certain individuals, such as those with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. (The keto diet is high in trans fats and thus not recommended for patients with heart or cardiovascular issues.)

Paleo is a bit less restrictive and slightly easier to maintain than the keto diet.

Either way, it is recommended that both keto and paleo diets should be followed only after consulting with a medical professional.

For more inspiration for the keto diet, check out our keto shopping list.


The paleo diet can bring about a number of health benefits, although there are significant drawbacks too.

If you decide to take on the paleo eating plan, you can still achieve health and weight loss benefits even with the 85/15 approach, following the diet only 85% of the time.

The most important thing is to stay away from sugars and processed foods, even if you are on a slight cheat day.

The paleo diet, similar to keto, is quite restrictive, so make sure you are consulting a health professional if you decide to follow it.

We hope this paleo diet grocery list has inspired you to start a journey of more healthy living!

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