The paleo diet is a way of eating that focuses on natural, unprocessed foods and rejects the idea of what some call “modern” food. The idea behind it is a belief that we can avoid many health problems by going back to how our ancestors may have eaten. Advocates say this will also help you sleep better, have more energy, and feel less hungry because your body will be getting all the nutrients it needs. The Paleo Diet has been popular for years, but people are still trying to figure out whether these health claims really hold up under scientific scrutiny. But there’s no denying one thing – eating like a caveman does seem to work for some people who want to lose weight or eat healthier in general! So let’s learn what you need to know about how it works and what’s allowed on this diet. Here are some answers on paleo diet 7-day meal plan!
What Is The Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet, also known as the Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, focuses on eating foods that were available before people started farming (11). Modern food production came about with the introduction of mass agriculture and animal husbandry around 10,000 years ago. The assumption behind it is that these modern processes have caused health problems by introducing too many artificial ingredients and concentrated energy sources into our diets.
By following the paleo diet, you should be able to get all the nutrients your body needs while avoiding processed foods and additives. Of course, there are some differences between how early humans ate compared to today, so there are a few modifications for convenience sake (such as cooking methods).
Paleo Diet 7-Day Meal Plan
When you’re just getting started on any diet, it can be challenging to figure out what to eat.
Here is a Paleo meal plan you can use as a beginner!
- Breakfast: Hummus eggs and an apple
- Lunch: Avocado salad with cherry tomatoes and vegetables
- Snack: Grapes
- Dinner: Taco salad with ground beef and spinach
- Breakfast: Raspberry smoothie and hard-boiled eggs
- Lunch: Cucumber, chicken, and tomato salad
- Snack: Pecans
- Dinner: Grilled chicken and pan-fried broccoli
- Breakfast: Ham, egg, and mushroom scramble
- Lunch: Cucumber avocado salad
- Snack: Apples and almond butter
- Dinner: Steamed salmon fillet and grilled asparagus
- Breakfast: High-protein egg breakfast muffins
- Lunch: Shrimp salad with avocado
- Snack: Cherry tomatoes
- Dinner: Paleo sloppy joes with sweet potato fries
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with sausage and vegetables
- Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with veggies and avocado
- Snack: Celery sticks with almond butter
- Dinner: Roasted Brussel sprouts, steak, and sautéed spinach
- Breakfast: Blackberry peach smoothie with yogurt
- Lunch: Spinach salad topped with sliced ham
- Snack: Walnuts
- Dinner: Sweet potato burgers stuffed with bacon arugula
- Breakfast: Pear and banana smoothie
- Lunch: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, and cashew scramble
- Snack: Roasted peanuts
- Dinner: Red snapper with basil vinaigrette and zucchini spears
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The Benefits Of The Paleo Diet
This way of eating has been said to have several proven benefits such as:
The paleo diet does not forbid any food groups, so you can still eat a lot. After a few weeks on a diet, you will likely find yourself eating fewer calories automatically because your body is getting more nutrients and feels fuller longer. This can lead to easier weight loss without feeling hungry all the time! What’s more, some research shows that this diet can result in weight loss.
Lower Diabetes Risk
Our bodies produce insulin in response to sugar entering our bloodstreams after we eat. This is meant to help us regulate how much energy we have, but this system can develop problems.
People with Type II Diabetes often become resistant to insulin, which decreases their ability to process sugar correctly (13). According to one study, paleo dieters with diabetes had lower blood sugar levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and lower triglycerides and blood pressure than those who ate a typical diabetes diet (3).
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney damage, and other health problems, so it’s best to keep your numbers in check. One small study found that postmenopausal women who followed a paleo diet for 5 weeks lost weight and had lower blood pressure at the end of the intervention (2).
Improved sleep quality is another possible benefit of following the paleo lifestyle because you’re avoiding foods with added sugars and other ingredients that may affect cortisol production. Cortisol is responsible for how our bodies respond to stress. During stressful events, cortisol causes an increase in energy to help deal with the extreme challenge (12).
Foods You Can Eat On The Paleo Diet
The foods that are “ok” to eat on the paleo diet would have been available to our ancestors in the Stone Age. The paleo diet food list includes:
All Meats (Including Organ Meats)
Meats are a great source of protein which our bodies need to build muscle (5). On the Paleo diet, you’re allowed to eat beef, chicken, goat, pork, lamb, turkey, and game birds, e.g., pheasant and grouse. You are encouraged to eat meat from grass-fed animals and wild game. Fish are also included.
Fruits And Vegetables
These offer us different types of fiber as well as antioxidants, which fight off toxins in our bodies. They also contain many vitamins, like C and A, that keep us healthy and strong (6). All fruits are acceptable on this diet. Vegetables recommended include root vegetables like potatoes and parsnip, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel-sprouts, and leafy greens like kale and spinach.
Nuts And Seeds
Eating these provides protein, healthy fat, minerals, and other nutrients that we need. They’re very filling too because they take longer to digest than fruits or vegetables do (8).
Foods You Should Avoid While On The Paleo Diet 7-Day Meal Plan
Technically, you can eat anything available back then because there weren’t any processed foods during that period. However, some people find it easier to stay on the paleo diet if they avoid these types of foods:
Some paleo dieters allow their use, while others say no dairy at all. Some people feel better without it, so if you are one of them, it may be best to skip this type of food altogether.
These provide us with no nutritional value and can lead to weight gain. They’re also often found in foods that are very high in calories with few nutrients, which makes them a bad choice on the paleo diet (14).
Today, many different processed foods don’t resemble anything natural at all (15). That includes things like smoothies made in blenders with lots of artificial ingredients added for flavor or French fries cooked in oil that isn’t supposed to be heated to such high temperatures. These types of food were not part of how humans ate during the paleolithic period, so they should be avoided on a paleo diet.
These are chemicals that give us sweetness but do not have the same ingredients as real sugar. Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may even trick our bodies into wanting more sugar, which encourages cravings and unhealthy eating habits over time (7).
Stone Age people probably didn’t know exactly how to make wine or beer, so it’s best to avoid these types of drinks altogether since they weren’t part of a paleolithic diet. If you really want something alcoholic, then avoid the sugar by drinking hard liquor mixed with seltzer water or club soda instead, just be careful because those can pack a punch quickly and lead to dangerous situations if you drink too much.
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How To Start A Paleo Diet 7-Day Meal Plan And Stick To It?
The best advice to follow when starting a paleo diet is to research what types of foods you’ll be allowed to eat. You must know beforehand so you can plan your meals and grocery shop to keep your diet on track.
Start by cutting back on sugar, soda, and other sweet drinks, alcohol, and refined grains like white bread or pasta. When these are taken out of your diet, it will already make a huge difference in how you feel after just a few days. Try resistant starches like potatoes (baked, not fried) and starchy vegetables. These provide fiber to keep us full without affecting blood sugar levels as quickly as refined grains do (4).
The next step is to cut out the unhealthy fats that are found in most restaurants. This includes sources of saturated fat like animal products, margarine, and butter, as well as refined cooking oils like corn oil, soybean oil, or sunflower oil. Instead, focus on healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado slices (1).
At first, it’s easy to feel hungry all the time, so if you’re struggling with this, try drinking more water throughout the day. It will fill you up without feeling too full for snacking on fruit or nuts between meals.
Certain foods are also very beneficial for starting the paleo diet because they help break food cravings quickly! Apples, carrots, cucumbers, and celery are great for snacking or adding to prepared dishes. Coconut milk may also be a good source of healthy fat, so it’s something you can have if you need extra energy (9).
Paleo Diet 7-Day Meal Plan: The Bottom Line
The paleo diet is a way to eat that’s based on how Stone Age people would have eaten. It might help you lose weight, reduce your diabetes risk, and even lower blood pressure if you stick with it! One of the most important tools to help you stick with this type of eating plan is having a meal plan from the start. Plan out what types of food you’ll be allowed to eat as well as what to avoid so it will be easier to shop and cook as needed.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion – Nutrition Journal (2017, nutritionj.biomedcentral.com)
- A Palaeolithic‐type diet causes strong tissue‐specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women (2013, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study – Cardiovascular Diabetology (2019, cardiab.biomedcentral.com)
- Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions- Narrative Review Article (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Nut Consumption (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Impact of a Traditional Dietary Supplement with Coconut Milk and Soya Milk on the Lipid Profile in Normal Free Living Subjects (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis – Nutrition Journal (2019, nutritionj.biomedcentral.com)
- Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Stress effects on the body (2018, apa.org)
- Type 2 Diabetes | NIDDK (2017, niddk.nih.gov)
- Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study (2015, bmjopen.bmj.com)
- Ultra-Processed Foods and Health Outcomes: A Narrative Review (2020, mdpi.com)