Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Paleo Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life

A Paleo Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life
Jan 30, 2014 | Authority Nutrition | Kris Gunnars
This is a detailed meal plan for the paleo diet. What to eat, what to avoid and a sample paleo menu for one week.
The paleo diet is based on emulating the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It includes whole, unprocessed foods that resemble what they look like in nature.

Our ancestors were genetically the same as modern humans. They thrived eating such foods and were free of diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Several studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss (without calorie counting) and major improvements in health.
Photo by Fit Bomb.

A Paleo Diet Meal Plan 

There is no one “right” way to eat for everyone and paleolithic humans thrived on a variety of diets, depending on what was available at the time.

Some ate a low-carb diet high in animal foods, others a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Consider this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. You can adapt all of this to your own personal needs and preferences.

The Basics Eat: 

Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oils.

Avoid: Processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, most dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine and trans fats.

This is a simplified paleo food pyramid:

Photo by Mark Sisson.
Avoid These Foods 

Avoid these foods and ingredients:
  • Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup: Soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, agave nectar, candy, pastries, ice cream and many others.
  • Grains: Includes breads and pastas, wheat, spelt, rye, barley, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and many more.
  • Dairy: Avoid most dairy, especially low-fat (some “versions” of paleo do include full-fat dairy like butter and cheese).
  • Vegetable Oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil and others.
  • Trans Fats: Found in margarine and various processed foods. Usually referred to as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Sucralose, Cyclamates, Saccharin, Acesulfame Potassium. Use natural sweeteners instead.
  • Highly Processed Foods: Everything labelled “diet” or “low-fat” or has many weird ingredients. Includes artificial meal replacements.
A simple guideline: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!
If you want to avoid these ingredients, then you MUST read ingredients lists, even on foods that are labelled as “health foods.”
Foods to Eat on The Paleo Diet 

Base your diet on these real, unprocessed paleo foods.
© Authority Nutrition
  • Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork and others.
  • Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, etc. Choose wild-caught if you can.
  • Eggs: Choose free-range, pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries and more.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
  • Healthy Fats and Oils: Lard, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and others.
  • Salt and Spices: Sea salt, himalayan salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.
Try to choose grass-fed, pasture raised and organic if you can afford it. If not, then just make sure to always go for the least processed option.

There are some things you can do to minimize cost while still eating high quality foods. Read a great article on this here.

Maybe Eat 

© Authority Nutrition
In the past few years, the paleo community has evolved quite a bit.

There are now several different “versions” of the paleo diet. Many of them allow some modern foods that science has shown to be healthy.

This includes quality bacon from pasture raised pigs, grass-fed butter and even some non-gluten grains like rice.

Many people now think of paleo as a template to base your diet on, not necessarily as a strict set of rules that you must follow.

Sensible Indulgences

These are perfectly healthy in small amounts:
  • Wine: Quality red wine is high in antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.
  • Dark Chocolate: Choose one that has 70% or higher cocoa content. Quality dark chocolate is very nutritious and extremely healthy.
© Authority Nutrition
What to Drink When You’re Thirsty

When it comes to hydration, water should be your go-to beverage.

These aren’t exactly paleo, but most people drink them anyway:
  • Tea is very healthy and loaded with antioxidants and various beneficial compounds. Green tea is best.
  • Coffee is actually very high in antioxidants as well. Studies show that it has many health benefits.
You Should Watch This Video 

This short video is a must-watch, it will teach you everything you need to know about the basics of paleo.

A Sample Paleo Menu For One Week

© Authority Nutrition
This sample menu contains a balanced amount of all the paleo foods.
Feel free to adjust this based on your own preferences.


  • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in coconut oil. One piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad, with olive oil. Handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Burgers (no bun), fried in butter, with vegetables and some salsa.


  • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs, with a piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Leftover burgers from the night before.
  • Dinner: Salmon, fried in butter, with vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Meat with vegetables (leftovers from night before).
  • Lunch: Sandwich in a lettuce leaf, with meat and fresh vegetables.
  • Dinner: Ground beef stir fry, with vegetables. Some berries.


  • Breakfast: Eggs and a fruit.
  • Lunch: Leftover stir fry from the night before. A handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Fried pork, with vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in coconut oil.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil. Handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Steak with vegetables and sweet potatoes.


  • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs, with a piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Leftover steak and vegetables from the night before.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with vegetables and avocado.


  • Breakfast: Meat with vegetables (leftovers from night before).
  • Lunch: Sandwich in a lettuce leaf, with meat and fresh vegetables.
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken wings, with vegetables and salsa.
There is usually no need to track calories or macronutrients (protein, carbs or fat) on the paleo diet, at least not in the beginning.

However, if you need to lose a lot of weight then it is a good idea to cut carbs somewhat and limit your intake of nuts and potatoes.

If you’re a vegetarian, then read this article for some tips on how to do paleo without meat.

© Authority Nutrition
How to Make Your Restaurant Meals Paleo

It is not very difficult to make most restaurant meals paleo friendly.
  1. Order a meat or fish-based main dish.
  2. Get extra vegetables instead of bread or rice.
  3. Ask them to cook your food in coconut oil, lard, olive oil or butter.
There’s an excellent article on eating paleo at restaurants here.

Simple Paleo Snacks 

There really is no need to eat more than 3 meals per day, but if you get hungry then here are some paleo snacks that are simple and easily portable:
  • Baby carrots.
  • Hard boiled eggs.
  • A piece of fruit.
  • A handful of nuts.
  • Leftovers from the night before.
  • Apple slices with some almond butter.
  • A bowl of berries with some coconut cream.
  • Homemade beef jerky.
Simple Paleo Shopping List 

There is an incredible variety of foods you can eat on the paleo diet.

© Authority Nutrition
This simple shopping list should give you an idea of how to get started.
  • Meat (beef, lamb, pork).
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc).
  • Fish (salmon, trout, mackarel).
  • Eggs.
  • Fresh vegetables: greens, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, etc.
  • Frozen vegetables: broccoli, spinach, various mixes, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, pears, oranges, avocado.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts.
  • Almond butter.
  • Coconut oil.
  • Olive oil.
  • Grass-fed butter.
  • Olives.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, parsley, etc.
If you want a more advanced shopping guide, read this.

It is a good idea to clear all unhealthy temptations from your home, including sodas, pastries, cookies, crackers, bread, ice cream and cereals.

How to Find More Info 

If you’re interested in more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to free updates.

There is an entire world of information out there on paleo eating. Just google something like “paleo recipes” or “primal recipes” and you will find a ton of stuff.

These are some really excellent paleo recipe blogs:


  1. Really like this blog...nuts a bolts. Read this earlier and while exercising I was thinking about it all morning and had to come back and make a post.. It is not the workout its the road..what i mean is i found its great looking back from the pitiful place I began from, my horrible diet, and lack of exercise and seeing the progress i have made and slowly feeling my stamina gaining. The challenge for , me was pushing through the self-talk knowing i was in a battle with myself, my own thinking. The first two weeks were hard, healing up was the hardest for two weeks but now I am amazed after 6 weeks I feel great and have begun adding more to my routine every other day.What am I going to eat and what am I going to make for my family and friends. So Lucky I found and I focused on the Paleo life style and now taking it all the way. Like you I am now on a mission of helping others find healthy food., We also have friends with children that have food allergies and Paleo recipes have made it easy to crate awesome complete meals for all who visit us. Thank you for being a great inspiration! Thought I would share this... Thank you Kris!

  2. Cool. I've had similar results, feel ALIVE now. Be sure and drink lots of water with this to make it work much better. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Let’s talk concerning the Paleo diet plan basics and just how this diet can draw us back up which hill. First of just about all I really like to consider this as lifestyle alter rather than a diet plan. Diets deprive you, deprive you anding some instances actually harm you. Your own article is also informative. Thank you for this nice article