Table created by Loren Cordain, Ph. Nutrient content of each food item was determined based on a kcal sample. Food groups are ranked from left to right based on their density. Food groups considered a healthy part of a Paleo diet are highlighted in green. Food groups that are not considered part of a Paleo diet are highlighted in red.
See Appendix B for more details on the creation of this table. Click here to download a PDF of this table. Table 1 shows the 12 most commonly deficient nutrients in the U. As you can see, all twelve nutrients can be found in abundance with only Paleo-friendly food groups.
This condition does exist however for vegetarians and vegans. The second question was whether the Paleo diet eliminates highly nutrient-dense foods making it hard to get our daily recommended intakes DRIs? To the contrary, it would actually be hard to hit our DRIs eating from non-Paleo food groups. Many of the common western foods eliminated by a Paleo diet are highly processed foods including refined sugars, refined grains, refined vegetable oils, refined fats, salt and preservatives. These foods are generally devoid of micronutrients and refined cereal grains have much of their already limited nutrients milled out.
Worse, both beans and whole grains contain high concentrations of phytates which significantly impair the absorption of minerals including calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium and manganese. What this means is that the food groups eliminated by the Paleo diet are not only very nutrient-poor made worse by processing , they actually reduce absorption of the nutrients you do consume.
Of the three questions, this one truly reveals the fundamental flaw in the argument used by US News and other Paleo-critics. Their argument is based on the idea that we simply eliminate foods. Those calories must be replaced with another food group. With the exception of nuts which we recommend eating sparingly, the Paleo-friendly foods are more nutrient dense than non-Paleo foods foods which we have already demonstrated to be nutrient-poor and full of nutrient-blocking phytates. In fact, contrary to what the critics say, a Paleo diet is necessarily denser and actually makes it easier to get the nutrients you need.
To help illustrate the point that replacing non-Paleo foods with Paleo-friendly foods will improves nutrient density, we compared sample one-day menus from several diets. We started with two diets considered to be healthy and nutrient dense by many in the nutrition world. In both cases we tried to match the menus for calories and macronutrient ratios.
The nutrient break-down and overall density of the sample menus and the matched Paleo menus are shown in tables 2 and 3 below. The detailed menus can be found in Appendix A. Table 2: Nutrient density comparison of a sample one-day Mediterranean menu and matched Paleo menu. The menu and Dietary Reference Intakes DRIs are based on a year-old female consuming between 2, and 2, kcal per day.
And neither matched Paleo menu is an ideal Paleo menu. So we have to be careful what conclusions we draw about any of the diets. These tables are designed to answer one question — what happens when non-Paleo foods are replaced by Paleo-friendly foods in what are considered healthy nutrient-dense diets by many in the nutrition community.
So with that in mind:. The resulting matched Paleo menu, while consisting of only Paleo-friendly foods, is still not a menu that we would recommend following. Critics claim that by eliminating several food groups, the Paleo diet loses critical nutrient density. All we did was eliminate and replace non-Paleo foods.
But that, in a nut-shell, is the fundamental flaw in the argument that the Paleo diet is dangerously low in key nutrients. The lost calories have to be replaced and the Paleo diet does this by replacing nutrient-poor foods with nutrient-rich foods. The result, necessarily, is a more nutrient dense diet. Of course, in our comparison of the diets, the argument can be made that we just used one-day sample menus and that you have to be careful about drawing too many conclusions from a single day example. We even stated that ourselves and made the point that these are just examples. Then replace the non-Paleo foods with matched Paleo-friendly foods and see if you can create a lower nutrient density menu.
Food items highlighted in red are non-Paleo foods that were eliminated from the matched diet, while items highlighted in green are the replacement Paleo-friendly foods. Food items in black are considered part of both diets and included in both. Menus were matched as closely as possible for total calories and macronutrient ratios. Food portions were based on a year-old female consuming between 2, and 2, kcal per day. Table 4: Sample one-day Mediterranean menu and matched Paleo meal plan. Non-paleo foods are highlighted in red while replacement foods are highlighted in green.
All foods were separated into one of ten specific categories whole grains, milk, fresh fruits, fresh non-starchy vegetables, fresh fish and seafood, fresh lean meats, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, starchy root vegetables and eggs. Foods listed for each category represented the most frequently commonly consumed items in the U. Values for individual micronutrients represent mean kcal value for the entire category of foods.
Mean nutrient density of the major food groups. As you can see, all twelve nutrients can be found in abundance with only Paleo-friendly food groups. Download a printable grid of the meals for week 2 here. Harv Health Lett, Food items in black are considered part of both diets and included in both. In fact, contrary to what the critics say, a Paleo diet is necessarily denser and actually makes it easier to get the nutrients you need.
For instance, the zinc value 6. The most nutrient dense food categories in rank order are: [ 1] seafood sum score: Micronutrient values for all food categories were also calculated for selenium and manganese but were not included in the sum total evaluation of each food category, as the percentage of the population lacking in these two micronutrients is not available. Harv Health Lett, Flip the script and enjoy these classic dishes without jeopardizing your health. Just knowing you can make a dish like this quickly and easily takes a lot of stress out of the eating equation.
Caesar Salad with Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing — Use a bed of romaine lettuce, lose the croutons, and top things off with this dressing for a spicy kick. Paleo is all about broadening your horizons, not limiting what you can eat to just a handful of approved items.
No-Bake Walnut Cookies — No bake means you can make this without involving your oven, but be sure to allot some time to cool them off. The best part is that they have the portability of a muffin, so you can grab one and go on your way without having to sit down to a formal breakfast. Sweet Potato Chips dipped in Ketchup with a Kick — This snack provides the crunch of potato chips but provides fiber and antioxidants. The ketchup is optional but recommended in order to have a more satisfying snacking experience.
Never forego anything that is allowed on the Paleo diet and will make for a better snack. Cauliflower Tabbouleh — This is a way to try a somewhat authentic dish, with the modifications in place to make it Paleo. Leave it to our Paleo chefs to come up with unique and tasty ways to enjoy some of the finest foods there are. Hearty Jambalaya — This is a dish you can make ahead of time, and actually tastes better once all of the ingredients have been able to rest with each other.
Try not to smirk when you see your coworkers trying to enjoy a sandwich. Energy Bars — Our energy bars will keep you feeling charged up for the afternoon, without all of the mysterious ingredients you find in store bought bars. Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes — A classic dish that is sure to satisfy every member of the family. Protein from the chicken combines with lycopene from the tomatoes for a burst of nutrition. Butternut squash shows up a lot in Paleo cooking because it is so versatile.
It can be used to replace the thick noodles in a lasagna, or julienned to make French fries. Spiced Apples Baked in Brandy — A sweet and spicy dessert infused with the flavor of brandy, but without the alcohol. It works nicely as a finisher to the meal described above, and is also a great dessert to serve up to impress your friends.
Breakfast Casserole — Zucchini and chorizo make a great meat and veggie pair and this will have you feeling ready to take on the day without slogging you down. An awesome duo! This is a lunch you can turn to again and again because it covers all of the bases while leaving you fully alert and ready to tackle your afternoon tasks. The acidity of the tomatoes gets your digestive juices flowing, making it a great starter for the stuffed bell peppers to follow.
You could also use this soup as a light lunch, since it delivers that nostalgic taste of true comfort food. Stuffed Bell Peppers — Ground turkey gets the go ahead as the stuffing for these peppers, making for a meaty and filling dinner. Ground turkey can be a nice break from chicken and beef, and provides lots of protein without as much saturated fat as beef.
Blueberry Lemon Cake — Let them eat cake, even on Paleo! This blueberry lemon concoction gives you a different flavor than a chocolate dessert, and lets your taste buds take on the tart taste of lemon mixed with the sweetness of the blueberries. A tasty way to finish another delicious day on the Paleo diet. Banana Nut Muffins — Want an easy breakfast? Super Easy Crock Pot Chili — Make this when you wake up and it will be ready for you for a late lunch.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork — Pork never had it so good. It comes out super tender and ready to eat. Make as much as you can because having leftover pulled pork is not a problem. You can have pulled pork sandwiches, or just have some straight up when you start feeling hungry.
Pumpkin Cake Cookies — If you were a good boy or girl today, have a cookie! Getting rid of the emotional connection with food, all of the baggage associated with failed diet attempts, the guilt, the remorse, it all needs to go out the window.
If you want the cookie, have it! If you can find it, go with organic ground turkey. The meat they would eat was naturally organic and free of all the junk put into our food by food manufacturers. Tortilla Chips and Guacamole — Once you solve the tortilla chip problem, chips and guac is back on the menu. Luckily we solved the problem for you with our tortilla chip recipe. Dive into that guac with reckless abandon! You can only build as tall as your foundation is deep, so make sure you have a good grasp of what it means to eat Paleo.
If you are completely new to the Paleo diet, learn more about it here. Get the Benefits of Paleo — One of the main reasons Paleo has endured the test of time is the benefits that come from it. See what you can expect when you make the switch to healthier eating. Learn Paleo Diet Food Substitutions — Substituting the right ingredients for the wrong ones will help you enjoy the foods you love in a new and healthier way. Upgrade your favorite recipes today!
Get quick answers to the most commonly asked questions. Lacking the right recipe at the right time can spell a serious speed bump in your progress. Always know the best thing to do with the ingredients in your fridge by having a plethora of recipes on hand. Over Additional High-Quality Paleo Recipes — The Paleo Grubs Book has over paleo diet recipes, all with high quality photos, easy instructions, and reliable results.
Get Even More Amazing Paleo Recipes — The more recipes you have at your disposal, the better you can put the ingredients you have on hand to use in delicious ways. See the Best Paleo Recipes — Looking for a recipe that will knock your socks off? We share our favorites so you can be cooking up a scrumptious meal in no time. Shrimp and Avocado Jalapeno Poppers — Restaurant-quality jalapeno poppers without the dairy and with protein-packed shrimp instead.
Paleo Pizza Bites — Never crave pizza again with these Paleo pizza bites. Massive pizza flavor with nothing unhealthy. Chipotle Strawberry Kale Chips — An interesting take on the ubiquitous kale chip. Strawberry sweetness mixed with chipotle spice. Chewy Granola Bars — The healthy way to avoid the granola bar aisle at the grocery store. Chewy goodness that fuels your body. Chunky Salsa — Thick, chunky salsa is one cure for a snacking craving.
Salsa is generally a Paleo friendly snack as it is. Bacon Wrapped Olives — Make yourself a fancy snack that takes advantage of the bacon loophole. Each bite is an avalanche of flavor. These turnip chips are seasoned to flavorful perfection. Apple Pie Caveman Bars — All the flavor of an apple pie in this portable snacktime treat that provides the nourishment of an apple.
Paleo Berry Smoothie — Smoothies are a smart snacking option and this quick and delicious Berry smoothie is sure to delight. Almond Butter and Granola Apples — Almond butter is destined to become your new best friend. Paleo Guacamole — Guacamole is a natural choice while on the Paleo diet, and this recipe uses just five ingredients.
Salted Caramelized Plantains with Coconut Cream — Dipping foods is a novelty that is very satisfying, and you get that feature here with these plantain chips and dip. Spiced Mulberry Cookies — Cookies are a fun way to snack, and this recipe shows you how to make cookies without all the junk. Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips — These crunchy, hearty apple chips knock out both your crunchy craving and your sweet craving at the same time. The buttery chocolate flavor always works. Raw Protein Bars — Power up with protein no matter where you happen to be with these raw protein bars made with whole foods.
Chocolate Peppermint Snack Balls — The classic flavor combination of peppermint and chocolate is on display in these delectable snack balls. Pepperoni English Muffin Pizzas — One of the tastiest ways to enjoy pizza flavor while doing the Paleo diet. Check out their English muffin recipe. Triple Nut Butter Bars — Not one, not two, but three different nut butters go into these bars, filling them with healthy fat, protein, and fiber.
Buffalo Deviled Eggs — Deviled eggs will never be the same after you try them buffalo style. Protein and minerals without the deep fryer. Only healthy ingredients make it into this mix. Huli Huli Chicken Wings — Chicken wings are a snack that satisfies, and these Hawaiian style wings keep them healthy and flavorful. Not Quite Sausage Rolls — Enjoy sausage rolls on the Paleo diet with this special recipe, complete with step-by-step instructions. Cinnamon Parsnips — Put parsnips on your shopping list because this recipe shows you how to turn them into a cinnamony snack.
Strawberry Pudding — Break away from the traditional chocolate pudding and go with this strawberry version for a nice shake up. Cranberry Cherry Granola Bars — Granola bars are a nice go-to snack that can go anywhere, and this version uses fruit to make it extra delish. Cashew Cardamom Date Balls — These snack balls are made with cashews and dates, with cardamom providing additional flavor. Untraditional Trail Mix — Ditch the traditional style trail mix and go with this gathering of items that are all Paleo diet friendly.
Protein-packed chips without frying. Sweet Potato Bites — Harness the awesome power of sweet potatoes in these bites and you have the perfect hold-me-over snack. Strawberry Lemon Muffins — Muffins work as a snack, providing you just enough nourishment without spoiling your appetite for your next meal. These have a nice spicy orange flavor. Help other people interested in the Paleo diet by commenting below and sharing your story! I have been eating Paleo for about 3 weeks. Extremely high blood pressure and need to lose weight. Will this meal plan help me do that or is there tweaking I need to do?
So far I have only lost 6 pounds total, with an occasional gain of a pound. Robin I read from a health magazine a little while ago that just eating three stocks of celery per day would have a very beneficial impact on high blood pressure. Hang in there I know this can really help you as well. Robin, If you are still on the Paleo diet I hope you have had success and stayed with it. My husband began as a new years resolution, and has found it the easiest diet change of life diet that he has ever been on.
He does not miss too many things besides his milk. He is eating what he loves, MEAT, and has accepted that sweet potatoes offer more flavor than russets. I think if you are looking to lower your blood pressure, you will find this a good diet for that. My husband has his doctors blessing for being on this diet. Anything that can help rid you of belly fat that puts pressure on your organs is better for you in the long run. Since being on this change of eating diet, the omission of all fast food, soda, sugar, dairy milk , and white flour, he has lost 26 pounds.
His waist has gone down 4 belt holes.
This is a detailed beginner's guide to the paleo diet. What it is, how it works, what to eat, what to avoid and a sample paleo meal plan for one week. easy paleo meals, read this article: 20 Paleo Work-Friendly Lunch Recipes. Get a comprehensive meal plan for the paleo diet, plus a list of where to find paleo-friendly recipes, paleo diet blogs, paleo diet books for.
You should average pounds a week and that seems like what you are doing. Keep at it and success wil come to you. There are so many meal options to try that are yummy and I eat them also and I do not need to lose weight. It is just an alternative to fast food and a poor diet overall. So I hope you have done well. Robin 6 pounds in 3 weeks is great, and healthy. You will be more likely to KEEP it off. If you do, the weight, and any issues you had because of it, will be back. Exercise is very important also. Just walking fast enough to get your heart rate up for minutes a day is a great start.
I just started the paleo diet and these recipes are great!! I have made the frittata and the brownie bites so far and they are delicious! Thank you so much. I have been following plan for three days. Going really well, my energy level has soared! Hopefully as I learn I can be more efficient! My concern exactly is the time issue. How are we supposed to prepare all of this food in a timely fashion? If you follow this plan how are you also supposed to have a normal work day?
Do you think once we have the hang of it that the preparation would be easier? Any suggestions for replacing broccoli, cauliflower or the other cruciferous vegetables and fruits? I tried to avoid them because of my hypothyroid issue. Hi…love you 14 day meal plan, delicious! These recipes look fantastic! Thanks so much! I just have a question; can the spaghetti squash pasta be reheated or is it not recommended?
I just had the spaghetti squash pasta yesterday as part of my lunch and I froze it before hand and reheated it yesterday and it turned out just fine! I am so excited to have found this site! Hubs and I are trying to eat more natural, and so far every dinner for has been grain-free or mostly grain-free. These meals make me want to keep it up…I always thought Paleo was difficult and super-expensive.
These meals look do-able and relatively normal. I have been living the Paleo way since xmas and have found it easy. Not only have i lost 8. I have cooked quite a few new recipes from this website as well as tinkering with my own favourites. You wont look back. I have tried to make a number of the wheat free breads and have been a little discouraged with how they have turned out. My guess is that the almond flour might have been ground to long ahead of time and just left on the store shelf until I bought it.
Also noticed that it says the flour in the store has been blanched. Is this processing not going to take away a fair bit of the nutritional value of the almonds? I am changing my entire family to paleo, two teens and my boyfriend as well as myself. They miss bread and sweets, but these recipes will really help. This shall be an adventure to say the least. My husband hated coconut. But he even had something I made with the real coconut and liked it.
It is a great adventure for sure. Blessings, Janis. Great site with fantastic recipes. I am confused. I thought Paleo does not allow green beans…. This is an awesome menu. We are both feeling great and my hubby has lost 30 pounds. Thanks for a great site. That was over 18 months ago. Love the energy and sense of wellness from eating this way. Planning ahead is the key. Cooking in large batches and freezing the extra is a life saver. I want to comment on your crock pot chile recipe.
Also, I often have a bowl for a brunchy kind of thing by serving it with two eggs, sunny side up, on top. Sort of a huevos rancheros without the ranchero part. I am just reading this site! I an 67 and need to loose weight and lower my cholesterol. Any comments? I am 71 years old and discovered Paleo about 8 months ago while looking for something to help with some health issues. What a revelation. I dropped 20 lbs. I have always been told I look at least 20 years younger — but now I actually feel 20 years younger. I work full time and my overall health has improved.
What a wonderful surprise. I have been enjoying your website and the e-mails I get from you. Keep up the good work. My husband and I have been eating paleo for about a year, and we enjoy all of the recipes. The only downside is I am now gluten and dairy sensitive. This is difficult when going out to eat or needing a quick meal. I now have to eat Paleo options, or I will be sick the following day. My husband and I starting following a paleo eating style in September, I have lost about 20 pounds and have maintained that since early December.
I think this mind set has really helped me stick to the program. Knowing that I have limited, not eliminated foods makes it much easier for me. It has been fun looking for and trying new recipes. I look forward to your emails because I know something yummy will soon be on our menu! It took awhile, but I now have a recipe binder filled with great paleo recipes.