Paleo For Beginners + One Week Meal Plan

Your Beginners Guide: How to Start Paleo Diet

Paleo for beginners navigates what you should avoid while providing plenty of options to eat and a one-week meal plan for those looking for ideas.

Paleo for Beginners

A common misconception about Paleo is that it’s a “diet.” When you hear the word “diet,” you naturally think of restrictive, depriving, grapefruit eating misery. Another fallacy is that Paleo is all about eating meat (bacon) all day, or that it’s more expensive; it’s unsustainable; its a weight loss fad; on and on. But if Paleo isn’t all those things, what IS it?

Paleo is a lifestyle. It’s a set of principles to live by that, to put it simply, give your mind and body everything it needs to be the very best it can be.

For this reason, I use the word “diet” very loosely as it does not define Paleo in its entirety. The Paleo diet is modeled by a set of guidelines that, when followed, promote optimal health and wellness.

Making healthy changes does not have to feel like a prison sentence or be a stress-free tornado of change! I will show you how to begin the Paleo diet below for those just getting started.

If you are ready to dive deep, you’ll want to get your hands on your step-by-step guide ‘Transitioning and Maintaining the Paleo Diet and Lifestyle.’

Paleo For Beginners

When switching out Standard American Diet foods with Paleo compliant options, it is best to transition slowly to avoid any noticeable changes (especially with children). There are practical ways to do this without throwing everything away and adding unnecessary stress to your daily routine. Start each week by removing a SAD food item and replacing it with a Paleo-approved food from the list below.

Below you will find some Paleo-approved alternatives you can slowly start implementing into your diet. There are plenty more you can choose from; the foods below are to show you there are plenty of options out there!

Protein

Avoid: Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) as all meat and poultry can contain high amounts of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. Ditch designer meats such as cured deli meats, processed hot dogs and sausages.

Eat: Fresh chicken, duck, fowl, eggs, beef, turkey, pork, bison, elk, lamb, goat, rabbit, venison, freshwater fish, shellfish, seafood, etc.

Tip: A good protein source not mentioned above is nuts and seeds. All nuts and seeds are good just make sure they are not processed with PUFAs and unnecessary ingredients such as sugars and preservatives.

Carbohydrates

Avoid: All grains; wheat, rye, corn, barely, oats, etc. Legumes, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, and soy. General processed foods; breakfast cereal, cake, microwave meals, pastas, snack crackers, and doughnuts.

Eat: Nut and tuber-based flours and their derivative products; coconut almond, tapioca, cassava, arrowroot, and tigernut.

Tip: Switch out a grain-based flour for coconut or almond flour for any recipe (measurements may differ), see my 15 favorite food swaps for budget-friendly and simple swap outs.

Vegetables

Avoid: Avoid all canned vegetables that are preserved with chemicals and sugar or are conventionally grown using fertilizers and pesticides.

Eat: Replace all canned and conventional vegetables with fresh, local, and organic (when possible). The options here are limitless when it comes to picking out fruits and vegetables!

Tip: Shop together as a family and allow each member to pick a new vegetable or their favorite, and allow them to bag it and place it into the cart as well. This will help connect shopping with eating healthy. See more healthy eating tips.

Fruit

Avoid: Avoid all canned fruits that are preserved with chemicals and sugar or are conventionally grown using fertilizers and pesticides.

Eat: Replace all canned and conventional fruits with fresh, local, and organic (when possible). The options here are limitless when it comes to picking out fruits and vegetables!

Tip: Replace processed snacks and crackers with a bowl of freshly cut up fruit for a mid-afternoon snack. Berries make an excellent addition to any fruit bowl since they are low in fructose and high in antioxidants.

Beverages

Avoid: Designer beverages such as soda, sweetened yogurt-based smoothies, Gatorade, sweetened nut-based milk, flavored “nutritional” waters, the juice from concentrate, and energy drinks.

Drink: Water, herbal teas, and coffee, nut-based milk, smoothies and shakes made at home using fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients including berries, nut butter, coconut, vegetables, and herbs.

Tip: Flavor your water naturally, by adding sliced fruits, vegetables, or herbs.

Wrapping up Paleo for Beginners

When beginning Paleo, the above foods hold the foundation of this diet. Eating plenty of fresh and organic proteins with fat and produce while cutting back on unnecessary carbohydrates and drinking plenty of water will keep this way of eating affordable and simple.

While there are some foods to avoid, there are plenty more to embrace! For a more extensive list, check out the resources below! Soon you’ll be able to navigate the Paleo diet with ease and enjoy your journey to health and wellness with real foods! If you still need help or have questions, you can email me at hello@momeatspaleo.com or schedule your free consult call here with me!

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