Paleo Food List for Beginners – Master the Basics

When I started looking for a healthier way of eating, that would be more than just a diet but more of a lifestyle, I was drawn to Paleo as an option, having heard and read some really good reports and experiences.

What I also found as I researched the subject was that it was very difficult to find a really simple guide on how to get started; what to eat, where to find what to eat, what to avoid and what might be okay occasionally, but which should be avoided in quantity. While I was able to find quite a lot of information by searching through a number of posts, articles, chats, forums and E books, one of the things that was most elusive was some guidance on a simple Paleo food list for beginners.

In this post I hope that I can help you by providing some ideas that will help you to get started and make a success of a paleo lifestyle.

Some Basic Rules for Success

There are some basic rules that will get anyone off to a good start and help to ensure that you can achieve your goals and targets towards a more healthy lifestyle with all the attendant benefits that will come with that such as, weight control, better energy, clearer thinking, better sleep patterns and a general all round healthier life.

Here are 10 things that you might think about as you set out on the Paleo journey as a beginner:

  1. It is wise when making a change of this type to check with your Doctor before starting, particularly if you have a condition such as, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or if you are pregnant.
  2. There is no magic in pursuing a Paleo lifestyle change – it is about choice, some self-discipline, balance and sticking to good routines.
  3. Look upon it as a lifestyle change not a diet – many diets fail because they are not part of a holistic approach.
  4. It is not just about the food – some regular exercise appropriate to your age, physical condition and abilities will help you realise the benefits early and will ensure ongoing beneficial effects. Your doctor can advise, or a good local gym fitness trainer.
  5. Routine is important – it is routine that underpins the holistic approach and ensure that you are in a position to make good choices all the time. It doesn’t matter that you occasionally stray off it, what matters Is that you do you have a routine that will allow you to quickly get back on it.
  6. Set some SMART Goals – this should be some easy achievable stuff to start with as success breeds success. It might be weight, it might be waist measurement, it might just be following your planned routine for a fixed period like a week and then building up to more challenging targets.
  7. Don’t attempt to persuade others to go your way or become a Paleo bore – this can sap your energy and discourage you from your own efforts. Your results will be proof enough for those who wish to follow, then you can help them to set and achieve their goals.
  8. Be prepared – this is the subject of the next couple of sections of this post; larder temptations and travelling away from home can break routine and lead to bad choices because of lack of preparation. A Paleo food list for beginners is a pretty good start to your preparation.
  9. Celebrate your successes – there are plenty of ‘treats’ available to you from the food elements of this lifestyle change. Make these part of your routine rewards schedule when you reach your incremental targets and goals.
  10. Don’t stress or worry about occasionally straying from strict adherence – this should be something you get joy from so be kind to yourself if you do laps but then re-focus on the benefits of staying with it as it will get you where you want to go.

The Larder

In the 10 basic things to think about above, I talked about the importance of being prepared. In the next 3 sections we are going to discuss what good preparation looks like and how to go about it.

One of the simplest things to ensure a good chance of a successful start and which will help guarantee future success is to remove all of those things from the larder that might be temptations and replace them with all the good stuff that you know you can consume and feel comfortable doing so.

But what will you replace all those things with…….. yes of course the Paleo food list for beginners!

Travelling Away From Home

One of the quickest ways to break routine is to find yourself unprepared when you are away from home. We all know that most snacks in hotels restaurants and fast food outlets involve, bread pastry or starches of some kind that could seriously derail your efforts if not an isolated incidence.

Some planning and research around where you are going and what you can expect will prevent this.

What’s In – The Basic List

So to business….

Kitchen Tools For Paleo Cooks

First of all it will be useful to make sure that you have some good basic kitchen tools as listed here. You will probably add to these as you become more confident or comfortable with your new Paleo kitchen.

  • Good set of kitchen knives
  • Scales
  • Slow cooker
  • Food processor
  • Frying pans, small and large
  • Glass jars
  • Storage bowls
  • Heatproof spatulas
  • Fast Blender
  • Good Zester
  • Muffin pan liners
  • Grease-proof paper
  • Measuring spoons
  • Baking and oven pans
  • Spiral cutter

Larder Staples

We need to think about those ingredients that we probably take for granted in a conventional modern diet that are needed to prepare and enhance the main ingredients.

Some of what you have already will be okay but this is a pretty comprehensive list of what you are likely to find useful to keep on hand for making and cooking Paleo recipes.

  • Almond butter
  • Almond flour
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cacao powder
  • Cashews, raw
  • Chicken and vegetable stocks
  • Coconut flour
  • Coconut milk with no additives
  • Coconut oil,
  • Dried cranberries
  • Flavored olive oils
  • Garlic
  • Ghee – desirable not essential
  • Herbs & spices
  • Honey
  • Onions
  • Paleo Crackers
  • Paleo Wraps
  • Salmon, tinned additives
  • Sea salt
  • Shallots
  • Tinned Tomatoes,
  • Tuna, fresh or tinned
  • Vanilla extract

Fresh or Freezer Ingredients

Finally, here is the Paleo food list for beginners for your proteins and vegetables that will be used as your main ingredients. Just about all of these can be prepared in some way for the freezer or bought fresh for the larder or refrigerator.

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Free range eggs
  • Good quality Sausage – low salt
  • Meats – grass fed if possible
  • Shrimp or Prawns
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Peppers
  • Salad greens
  • Seasonal fresh vegetables
  • Zucchini
  • Paleo baked goods
  • Homemade soups

What’s Out – The Red Flags

There are some things your really should steer clear of if you are going to be successful in changing your lifestyle to go the Paleo way.
  • Alcoholic beverages particularly beer and wine, hard cider is okay
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils, tofu)
  • Processed foods – watch the salt content in sausages which are okay if good quality
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined vegetable oils – always go for organic and or virgin
  • Soda & sweetened beverages
  • Salt

It’s Actually Not All That Complicated

There is a healthier way of eating, that is more than just a diet but more of a lifestyle,

My early research convinced me that Paleo was a good option, that would get me the results I wanted and lead me to a healthier life. But what to eat, how to get started?

This simple Paleo food list for beginners I hope will give some useful ideas that will help you to get started and make a success of a Paleo lifestyle.

Remember it is about balance and not about food alone.

Work out a regular exercise routine that suits you; it might only be a regular 20-minute walk 3 times a week to start with. You can always build up to greater efforts once you start to feel the benefits which I know you are going to experience if you follow this plan.

Now go have a look at your larder and……….


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  1. Been through this one (Paleo) and I’d happily go back to it, as the only ‘diet change’ that left me feeling satisfied and was a good balance (emphasise “balance”) of different food types and flavours. Didn’t feel like much of a change from what I was doing ‘normally’ but I lost 12kg in a few months.
    Top Tip: re sausages; they are full of unhealthy filler, so go for the most meatiest ones, high quality or european sausage types tend to be meatier.

    • Excellent tip Phil. Any processed meat should be approached with caution mainly because of the salt and additives. I recommend free range where possible and where it comes to sausages go for farm gate or what we call home kill or farm kill here in NZ. You joining me back on the Paleo journey?

  2. Very interesting reading, I also have been looking for a eating lifestyle change that meets my fitness regime. Will read further and give a few recipes a trail. Another string to your bow well done I found the site easy to follow and understand. Thanks

    • Thanks Paul, I hope that you enjoy what you find here. feel free to give me suggestions for anything that’s you would like to see or would like to know on the site.


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