carnivore food list for beginners

One of the most trending diets is the carnivore diet, and we have a simple beginner carnivore food list.  Now, you may be wondering a few things about the carnivore diet such as how to follow it, what are the side effects, and is it right for you.

One main thing that I would like to start with on this article before you read more is – ask your doctor if this is right for you. 

There are many reasons why you should ask your doctor.  For example, are you at risk for heart disease, blood pressure, or chronic disease.  Many people follow the carnivore diet for weight loss or muscle building with the increased protein intake.  However, when cutting out other food groups aside from meat, you may also be cutting out key micro-nutrients, macro-nutrients, and fiber, just to name a few. 

Without further ado, let us get to the beginner carnivore food list. 

carnivore food list for beginners

15 Animal-Based Diet Carnivore Food List 

The carnivore diet has been gaining in popularity due to its unique approach to eating a high protein animal-based diet.  The carnivore diet also excludes other food groups such as vegetables, fruit, and carbohydrates.

The carnivore diet is made up of exclusively animal foods, animal-based foods, muscle meat, and grass-fed meat. When making your carnivore diet shopping list, here are some ideas of getting started with the carnivore diet.  Keep reading below for more information about the carnivore diet and whether it is a good option for your lifestyle.

  1. organ meats

  2. grass-fed beef

  3. ground beef

  4. fatty fish

  5. bone broth

  6. pork chops

  7. ribeye steak

  8. pork belly

  9. chicken breasts

  10. turkey

  11. beef jerky

  12. bone marrow

  13. ground lamb

  14. roast beef

  15. deli meat and charcuterie

Although there are claims of weight loss with the carnivore diet, research does not support that the carnivore diet is a safe approach to weight loss or overall health.  The increase in consumption of red meat and animal products can also be related to its effect on cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health.

Why Do People Follow the Carnivore Diet

It is reported that 93% of people following the carnivore diet are motivated by health reasons and health benefits. Heath reasons may include but not limited to weight loss and better control of diabetes. 

Often times, people are looking for something that can quickly move the needle in their health situation.  Fad diets such as the carnivore diet and meat diet are often associated with other success stories of friends or family.  

In other words, if you talk with your neighbor about their weight loss, and they state that they followed a carnivore diet or another type of diet.  These associations with noticeable visable success stories are likely to push people to give it a try. 

Although you might see successes of others, when it comes to changing lifestyle habits, be sure to check with your own health care provider to make sure it is right for you.

Carnivore Diet Side Effects

The side effects of the carnivore diet require further study in order to determine the long-term effects of this dietary pattern.  As a registered dietitian, a balanced diet, for example macro snack ideas, that includes all food groups is a focus of the MyPlate and general guidelines for the USDA Guidelines for Americans.  

However, I must say that this study by the NIH showed results that were relatively unexpected in my opinion.  

The study showed that over 2000 participants followed the carnivore diet for 14 months.  The study participants reported that they were very satisfied with the results of following the diet and they felt very little to no adverse symptoms of following the carnivore diet.  Less than 6% of study participants reported digestive issues.  

In addition,  participants with diabetes reported decreased need for diabetes medication. 

Consequently, there was a subset of the participants that did report an increase in LDL-cholesterol with an optimal level of HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. 

As stated before, there are more studies required to determine the long-term effects of high-protein diets, carnivore diet plan, and increased animal proteins.  The carnivore diet is still considered a fad diet because of it’s imbalanced approach to only eating animal proteins and exclusion of plant foods.  

That said, it is always important to check with your doctor before making lifestyle changes especially an elimination diet.

Carnivore Diet vs Plant-Based Foods Diet

When considering following a carnivore diet, it important to make informed decisions along side your health care provider.  Looking at all angles of what is best for you and your risk of chronic disease is important. 

According to the American Heart Association, there are studies that show that eating more plant protein, less red meat may lower women’s risk of early death. In addition women who eat more plant protein has lower risk of dying from dementia and heart disease.  

Looking at following the carnivore diet?  Consider making more of the meat protein the healthier cuts that are also leaner cuts.  Although, the exception of leaner cuts are fatty fish which are high in omega-3 fatty acids – an excellent choice of fats. 

This article on the American Heart Association site highlights the leaner cuts of meat.  The leaner cuts of meat that are recommended by the AHA are the following:

  • Poultry – skinless chicken and turkey
  • Lean ground turkey and chicken
  • Pork and Beef  – labeled as loin or round cuts
  • ​95% extra lean ground beef

Reducing the animal fats is helpful in reducing the overall saturated fat intake from an all meat diet with only animal proteins.  The animal proteins do provide essential nutrients, however, there are also essential nutrients in vegetables and fruits as well.

Carnivore Diet Food List vs Keto Carnivore

The keto carnivore diet is a blend of the ketogenic diet and the carnivore diet.  Some people call this diet the ketovore diet.  

The carnivore diet is a diet exclusive of animal meat protein.  However, the ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate high fat diet that is less restrictive than the carnivore diet.  

The keto carnivore diet is similar to the carnivore diet however, it does include vegetables as long as they are low carb, milk products, eggs, and avocados.  The keto carnivore diet does allow individuals to get more of a variety of nutrients than the carnivore diet.

carnivore food list ideas and recipes

Foods Allowed on Carnivore Diet

When you are making a shopping list for the carnivore diet, you are most likely going to spend most of your time in the meat section of the store.  

What is a carnivore diet?

The carnivore diet is made up of exclusively meat, no produce and no other food groups.  

If you purchase meat items that have animal bones leftover, you can make your own stocks with the animal bones by boiling the bones in water. This is a good option when you want to stretch the budget into some additional options for your carnivore menu. 

The carnivore food list is high protein which sounds repetitive in nature; however, if you think about having a variety of types of meat and protein, you can find some good options. 

One thing to keep in mind is lean meats.  For example looking for lean cuts of meat without lots of marbling and visible fat.  Alternatively, if the fat is able to be trimmed, that is a good ideas as well. 

Fish and seafood are also good protein options.  Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are desirable.

Diet Where You Only Eat Meat

If you are searching for a diet where you eat meat only, you are looking for the carnivore diet.  The carnivore diet has most recently become popular in the last few years, however, the carnivore diet idea has been around since the 1700’s according to this article from Health.  

Back in the late 1700’s there is reference of a doctor treating patients with type 2 diabetes using the methods of the carnivore diet. Doctors noticed the effect on the human body and health status of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and the keto diet.

carnivore food list easy recipe ideas

10 Carnivore Diet Recipe Ideas 

When you are looking for carnivore diet recipe ideas, you are looking mainly for meat dishes that do not include breading and vegetables.  It is sometimes harder to find plain meat recipes. To be honest, you need a little flavor in order for the diet to be somewhat enjoyable. This list should help with your carnivore diet shopping. 

Here are a few ideas for recipes for the carnivore diet meal:

Grilled BBQ Boneless Chicken Thighs (Quick and Easy)

This recipe does call for barbecue sauce which does usually contain sugar.  If you want use a sugar free barbecue sauce instead, that could make this work better if you are following the carnivore diet strictly. See Full Recipe. 

Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

These chicken thighs are seasoned and coated with olive oil for a nice delicious flavor and texture.

See Full Recipe. 

Air Fryer Country Style Ribs

This one makes you hungry just thinking about it! These country style pork ribs are seasoned and marinated with barbecue sauce.  You can replace the barbecue sauce with the sugar free barbecue sauce or leave it off.

See Full Recipe.

Classic Prime Rib

This classic recipe is consistent with the restrictions of the carnivore diet.  The classic prime rib ingredients are prime rib roast, salt, and pepper.  The secret to cooking this recipe is the oven temperature.  Check out the full recipe for directs on preparing this classic prime rib.

See Full Recipe.

Smoked Pork Chops on a Traeger

​These smoked pork chops are an exciting idea for a meal to look forward to when following a strict carnivore diet.  The recipe does include an orange marmalade and brown sugar.  However, you can adjust accordingly by leaving those items off and replacing it with a splash of olive oil for cooking. The cooking instructions are easy to understand and follow. See the full recipe for instructions.

See Full Recipe. 

Air Fryer Chicken Sausage

Did you know you can cook chicken sausage in the air fryer?  This simple recipe with only two ingredients is easy to make and an interesting idea for a carnivore recipe.

See Full Recipe. 

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Mustard Sauce

What a great idea to make pork tenderloin and have some leftovers for meals during the week!  Pork tenderloin is one of the leaner meat choices for the carnivore diet.  This pork tenderloin can be enjoyed by the whole family or meal prep this for the week.

See Full Recipe. 

Air Fryer Whole Chicken Rotisserie Style 

Most people are intimidated by cooking their own rotisserie style chicken (I know I am).  However, this recipe for the whole chicken in the air fryer is so easy and delicious it makes it so much less intimidating to make.  This recipe is for a 5 pound chicken (that’s a lot of meat right there!)

See Full Recipe. 

Baked Lamb Shoulder Chops

Including a variety of recipes here to showcase the variety of types of meat preparation and the types of meats – both lean and traditional.  This recipe for baked lamb shoulder chops are a unique twist for a meat that isn’t as common as the rest.  These lamb shoulder chops are ideally prepared in a cast iron skillet. Check out the recipe for the full details.

See Full Recipe. 

In addition here’s is another version of lamb chops and how to grill lamb chops. 

Grilled Salmon

Here is a great idea for grilling salmon.  However, this recipe does call for a glaze.  You can easily follow the grilling directions and leave off the glaze if you are following a strict carnivore diet.

See Full Recipe.

Should I Follow a Carnivore Diet?

When the question of if the carnivore diet is right for you is asked, you should do one thing first — you guessed it, check with your health care provider.  

If there is one thing that is repeated throughout this article, it is to check with your health care provider to see what works properly for you.  Also, there needs to be more long terms studies of the carnivore diet before it can properly be recommended. 

Your health care provider has access to your medical history, family history, and lab work.  Ultimately, you should work as a team with your health care provider to set a plan for your best interest. 

I am so glad that you read this far and that you have an interest in your health.  Always make informed decisions to be sure that your individual nutritional needs are met appropriately.


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