If you're trying to decide between eating clean and following the Paleo diet, understanding the differences between these two somewhat similar diets will help. In some ways, the Paleo diet is a more restrictive version of eating clean because both of these diets involve eating mainly whole, fresh foods. However, the Paleo diet eliminates any foods not likely to have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, further restricting the foods you're allowed to eat.
All types of berries are usually named as the go-to fruit of the paleo diet. With an extremely high antioxidant content, they contain fewer carbohydrates than other types of fruit meaning that they can be enjoyed without creating dramatic shifts in blood sugar levels which trigger hunger and cravings. The health benefits provided by berries differ based on which type you choose but range from improving your heart health to reducing inflammation and detoxifying. They also generally contain high levels of vitamin C to improve immune function.

One thing that can be perceived negatively though is that most of the more elaborate snack options, while delicious, take more time to be able to enjoy than simply grabbing a box at the grocery store and eating its contents. Unfortunately, not many ready-made snacking options available in stores are made of only non-toxic and nutritious ingredients. Remember that the extra time spent in the kitchen is a very small price to pay for lifelong health and well-being. Fortunately for us though, as the Paleo movement is getting more and more popular, some high-quality products are starting to become available online. For example, Steve’s PaleoGoods is a line of products available right now that offer grain-free and sugar-free Paleo snacks like beef jerky and trail mixes.


These could possibly be my favorite cookie, ever. I love chocolate and peppermint together. They are so easy to make that my daughter makes them all the time. They have to be baked or cooked at all. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool and set in the frig for an hour. The candy canes are just for show because they aren’t Paleo. You can get all the peppermint flavor you need with the peppermint essential oil. If you aren’t 100% strict Paleo, go ahead and add a little bit of peppermint candy; I won’t tell anyone.
Following a Paleo diet can have really terrific benefits for some people. Abstaining from inflammatory grains, eating more protein and enjoying a variety of fruits and veggies can help you lose weight and feel good. But snacking while being Paleo can be confusing at first. When you go down the Paleo snacks road, gone are the go-to crackers and dip, popcorn and even peanut butter. You can always snack on produce, of course, but sometimes you want something that isn’t a handful of nuts or chopped vegetables.
Compared to the diets we traditionally ate, today, most Western diets are deficient in plant-based nutrients. The paleo diet prescribes including a wide variety of vegetables to ensure that your body benefits from the fiber and essential vitamins and minerals that a found in this food group. However, balance is key here. The nutritional makeup of different types of vegetables varies greatly and some options, such as potatoes and squash, have a much poorer nutrition profile compared to the amount of carbs that they contain. Because of this, most paleo dieters generally recommend limiting your intake of starchy vegetables if you’re trying to lose weight.
Here’s an interesting take on hummus, which is necessary because traditional hummus is not something you can have on Paleo. They’ve replaced the garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) with a combination of zucchini and avocado, and the result is something that looks a lot like hummus, and tastes really good too. All of the other ingredients in hummus are present, like garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and cumin, so as long as you’re not a hummus snob you should be pleasantly surprised by this concoction.
This Caprese-style salad is a great Paleo snack when you have just-right produce or an abundance of basil to use up. You’ll substitute mozzarella for creamy avocado loaded on fresh tomato slices. Top each tomato with basil, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil and enjoy. This one is great to enjoy while sitting outdoors enjoying a hot summer night.
It’s easy to get plantains and bananas mixed up. While plantains are part of the banana family and the two look alike, plantains are not sweet, and instead are used mostly as a starchy vegetable. Think of plantain chips as veggie chips. They are often sliced and baked with olive oil and salt, creating a nice crunch. Lots of supermarkets carry different versions of plantain chips, but not all plantain chips are Paleo, so you’ll want to check the ingredients before buying.
Hi Brenda. I haven’t tried using a sugar replacement in these cookies, but I would definitely try a granulated sugar replacement (like Xylitol and Splenda) as opposed to the drops. Coconut flour is much more absorbent than almond flour so I would not recommend using it in these cookies. As long as the SF chocolate is OK for baking, that will be totally fine. Good luck!
There’s evidence that our ancestors pressed olives to make antioxidant-rich olive oil as far back as 7,000 years ago. Therefore, olive oil is considered to be a paleo ingredient and rightly so as it’s exceptional nutritional profile provides us with numerous benefits. With a unique mix of oleic acid and monounsaturated fatty acids, using olive oil raw or in low-heat cooking applications has been shown to decrease the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
We made these this afternoon and they were great! My husband is fond of mint with chocolate so instead of chocolate pieces or chips, we used Andes Mints pieces which I have only found at Walmart. We used a 1″ cookie scoop and came out with 30+ cookies. We wanted them a little more crisp, so we cooked them longer than the recipe’s 10 minutes. We did use the Honeyville almond flour which we always have good luck with. Thanks, Rachel–keep on keepin’ on!

Because it came from an animal, practically all meats are paleo. However, it’s important to look for meats that are as natural as possible. This means that on the paleo diet you should opt for grass fed, wild-caught and organic varieties. Not only do these have a superior nutritional profile, they’re also less likely to be full of harmful preservatives, antibiotics, steroids and pesticides which are commonly added to animal feed. You’ll also want to avoid meats that have been highly processed such as hot dogs, spam and lunch meats. The added preservatives, flavor enhances and sugar in these foods have been linked to increased risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

Banana peppers are really great because they give you a bit of spice but not so much as to be overpowering. When you stuff them with salami you are pretty much getting equal parts meat and vegetable, making this very Paleo. But they didn’t stop there, they stuffed the salami with avocado, so you’re getting a huge nutrition boost as well as a third texture to make this really nice on the palate. The avocado will provide you with a good dose of potassium, as well as fiber to help with digestion. A fine snack choice that will easily get you to your next meal.

The Primal Blueprint leaves room for legumes in close moderation, but those on a paleo diet tend to steer clear of them. Like nuts and seeds, legumes contain anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates and saponins. Unlike nuts and seeds, however, legumes tend to be consumed in large quantities, potentially preventing your body from absorbing sufficient nutrients for optimum health.
Edible seaweeds are too often overlooked on a Paleo diet, but they boast an unparalleled nutritional profile. Among many essential nutrients, most kinds of seaweeds are loaded with iodine, an essential trace element to life. Iodine is especially important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. For most people on a SAD diet, the only reliable source of iodine is iodized salt. Many people on a Paleo diet decide to shun added salt completely or to consume unrefined sea salt instead of regular iodized table salt. This is great, but with such a change, an effort should be made to eat iodine rich foods occasionally. Seaweeds are a great option.
Missing your favorite chocolate and nut snack bar? Now you can enjoy a sweet treat that tastes like a decadent dessert with Caveman’s dark chocolate almond coconut bars. The perfect mix of sweet and salty, these certified “Paleo-Friendly” bars are filled with hearty almonds, sunflower seeds, and cashews and coated in chocolate. Munch on one in between meals or save it for dessert.
The fact that vegetable oils are still so prevalent in today’s world is a testament to just how aggressively they’ve been marketed, lobbied, and subsidized. But just because everyone else is using them doesn’t mean you should, and you most definitely shouldn’t if you’re planning on going full paleo (or Primal). The following oils are typically ultra-processed and pro-inflammatory on account of their high levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
Edible seaweeds are too often overlooked on a Paleo diet, but they boast an unparalleled nutritional profile. Among many essential nutrients, most kinds of seaweeds are loaded with iodine, an essential trace element to life. Iodine is especially important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. For most people on a SAD diet, the only reliable source of iodine is iodized salt. Many people on a Paleo diet decide to shun added salt completely or to consume unrefined sea salt instead of regular iodized table salt. This is great, but with such a change, an effort should be made to eat iodine rich foods occasionally. Seaweeds are a great option.

While oranges are well-known for their high vitamin C content, they also contain a good amount of potassium, calcium and vitamin B’s which are all essential components to build and maintain healthy cells. As part of a paleo diet, enjoy oranges whole instead of drinking orange juice. This ensures that the high fiber content of this fruit stays intact which reduces the effect of their sugars on your body and improves digestive functioning.
Dairy is something of a contentious food group, even within the paleo community. While Primal folks have long recognized that grass-fed, full-fat organic dairy can provide far more benefits than drawbacks, advocates for the paleo diet are mixed on the subject. Certainly, modern-day dairy production on the mass scale has a lot to answer for, subjecting cows to appalling living conditions and thereby degrading the quality of the milk and dairy products they produce.

While oranges are well-known for their high vitamin C content, they also contain a good amount of potassium, calcium and vitamin B’s which are all essential components to build and maintain healthy cells. As part of a paleo diet, enjoy oranges whole instead of drinking orange juice. This ensures that the high fiber content of this fruit stays intact which reduces the effect of their sugars on your body and improves digestive functioning.
6/30/16 update: I’ve been making these paleo chocolate chip cookies with chia eggs lately to make them vegan and they’re just as delicious! To make a chia egg, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds and 2.5 tablespoons water. Let sit 5-15 minutes or until goopy like an egg. I’ve also tried these cookies using a flax egg but I didn’t like the taste.

Chelsea is the site editor and nutritionist for Ultimate Paleo Guide and Paleo Meal Plans. In 2016, Chelsea graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. When she’s not working for Ultimate Paleo Guide or coaching CrossFit, Chelsea enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, and eating. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @chelsbrinegar and LinkedIn.
Before starting on your journey to Paleo, perhaps it was common for you to run to the store and grab a box of highly processed, expensive gluten-free crackers thinking gluten-free must equal health.  Now that you know that gluten-free does not always equal healthy, you may feel a bit stumped as to how to incorporate crackers into your diet.  The good news is that making your own gluten-free, grain-free crackers can be a rather easy process.  Most Paleo cracker recipes have very few ingredients and require very little time to prepare.  If you have never been much of a cracker fan, however, replace the cracker recipe ideas listed with some of your favorite finger veggies and enjoy them with some of the Paleo-friendly dips suggested below:
The paleo diet eliminates dairy because its advocates say many people are lactose intolerant, and because eating dairy has been associated with Crohn’s disease, among other claims. (4) While you wouldn’t want to eat lactose (a sugar found in dairy) if your body can’t tolerate it, there’s no proof that eating dairy causes Crohn’s or worsens symptoms in those who have been diagnosed. (5)
It doesn’t matter if you’re Paleo or not — you’re going to want to make these nachos! You’ll start with homemade sweet potato chips, then load ’em up with shredded chicken, pico de gallo and chilies. But the star of this dish is the avocado sauce. It’s your cheese stand-in but trust me, you’re going to want to eat it all the time. A mix of avocado, mayo, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic and cilantro, this will be your new favorite sauce. Serve these on game day, movie night or anytime, really!
The Paleo diet follows the basic principle of “eat foods a caveman would have access to.” Or better yet known as “eat whole foods.” This would include plenty of healthy fats, proteins and produce, but exclude grains, dairy and processed foods. This diet also emphasizes grass-fed, wild caught and free range options - similar to the type of protein options a caveman would have to hunt or gather on their own. 
Fruits are not only delicious, but they’re also great for you. That said, fruits (even paleo-approved ones) contain large amounts of fructose which, while much better than HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), is still sugar. If you’re looking to lose weight on the paleo diet, you’ll want to cut back on your fruit intake and focus more on the vegetables allowed on the paleo diet. However, feel free to have one to three servings of fruit a day. Check out this list of paleo diet fruits and see if you’re not hungry by the end! (We’ll admit, we’re partial to blackberries!)
Hard-boiled eggs are a simple and easy snack. They require minimal preparation and you can easily boil a dozen at a time to have on hand as a grab-and-go snack.  While you can couple your eggs with a piece of fruit, some leftover protein, or a cold baked sweet potato for a carbohydrate source, over time the thought of eating another hard-boiled egg may turn your stomach.  If you are looking some delicious variations in the egg department, these suggestions are worth consideration:

If you just crave sweets in general (not an easy craving to fight off), you could be low in a number of nutrients, namely, sulfur. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, bok choy, kale, rutabaga, collard greens, turnip (root or greens), maca, radish, and wasabi, among others, are great sources of sulfur, Vitamin C and fiber. They’re also great for fighting off cancer cells.


Fasting for a predetermined period of time, shortening the eating window. Popular IF protocols include daily 16 hour fasts with 8 hour feeding windows, or weekly 24 hour fasts. Less of a “diet,” more of a philosophy. You can combine damn near any diet with a practice of intermittent fasting, be it Paleo, Primal, vegan, vegetarian, Bulletproof, Standard American, or anything between.
Although not all of these are strict paleo (some contain coconut sugar and other paleo-friendly sweeteners), they are free from refined sugars, dairy, and grains. Stash them in your desk at work, hide them in your glove compartment, or place them in your purse. That way, you have a paleo-friendly snack always within reach and won’t be tempted to go off plan. And while you stock up on these favorite finds, be sure to check out our list of The 14 Best & Worst Weight-Loss Paleo Foods.
Other food exclusions mandated in the paleo diet do have a clear and proven health benefit for all individuals. “Another group of foods you’ll cut out are processed vegetable oils and refined sugar, including white and brown sugars, agave, corn syrup, and all artificial sweeteners,” Hultin says. Added sugars have been linked in studies to a host of health problems, such as increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. (8)
Natural sweeteners like stevia and xylitol have been extensively studied and don’t impose health risks. Allulose and yacon syrup also appear to be safe according to research studies. Primal (and some paleo adherents’) cooking and baking incorporate them as well as small doses of monk fruit, coconut sugar, maple syrup and wild honey. That said, it’s best to let your taste buds adapt to the natural sweetness and flavor of whole foods. Use these more Primal or paleo friendly very sparingly.
Ive made a cople of your desserts now and have been SO impressed!!!!! Thank you for these great recipes!! My husband eats Paleo so I wanted to test these out for him today. Between my parents and my 4 yr old son, they ate almost the whole batch!! My dad even loved them and he has been known to eat 6 crispy kremes in one sitting without thinking twice! 😉 I used our blendtec blender to grind some raw almonds into flour (hadn’t tried that before) and with that the cookies came out delicious!! Thank you for sharing!
One way to avoid eating potatoes as a snack is to replace a popular snack like potato chips with a healthier version. Using zucchini in place of the potatoes is a great idea, and gives you added nutrition. Zucchini makes a great choice to make into a chip because all it requires is some slicing and you have nice round pieces ready to be made into chips. They are easy to make, and the recipe is versatile in how it lets you dust them with whatever seasonings you like. This means you could make them BBQ Zucchini chips, or Ranch Zucchini chips, just by adding different seasonings. Just be sure to check the label on the seasoning packet to see if it’s Paleo.

Yes I’m superstitious and so far I did the same thing to my body this time that I did last year. I never had issues training or running halfs so I’m seriously considering my reasons to marathon… I think if it were just me I’d run halfs. So that tells me I’m letting outside pressure get to me for no reason. I’d rather run forever then hang up my laces. Sorry rant over but I’m really happy to make these powerful discoveries:)

Craving chicken tenders? This healthier version of the crave-worthy crispy dish makes for a great paleo snack. By using almond flour, coconut flour, and almond milk for the batter—these protein-packed strips are way healthier than the original. But they’re still packed with flavor thanks to a tasty array of spices and the honey mustard sauce that pairs perfectly.
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