1-Day Menu for Real Food Beginners

If you’re a “real food beginner” I’ve got a super easy project for you this summer… have your family follow this simple meal plan for an entire day and you’ll have officially avoided all highly processed food! I even added a suggestion for picky ones who won’t eat the salad for lunch. :)

This 1-day starter plan for a family of 4 is a wonderful way to “get your feet wet” and see how easy real food can be. It’s so easy you could even get your shopping done today and start tomorrow. I even included a free printable version at the bottom. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

All suggested meal follow our real food rules, and let’s remember …the key to avoiding processed food is to read the ingredients!


Easy Real Food Breakfast

  • Quick Oatmeal with Raisins and Almonds
    You can choose between overnight oats, which you’d need to mix up the night before, or hot oatmeal you can very quickly make in the morning. Both call for basically the same ingredients! If you don’t like oatmeal you can try Simple Yogurt Crunch, although the oatmeal ingredients are included in the shopping list below.
  • Banana (or other fruit of your choice)

1 Day Menu For Real Food Beginners

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Easy Real Food Lunch

  • Chopped Caprese Salad Over Fresh Spinach Topped with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
    Caprese is my favorite salad of all time and it really becomes a nice main dish when served over spinach. I love it with homemade pesto, but it’s an extra step that’s not at all necessary so I did not include those ingredients in the shopping list below. If you are serving finicky little ones substitute cooked whole wheat noodles for the spinach and go light on the vinegar.
  • Whole Grain Crackers Dipped in Hummus (no recipe necessary)
    My favorite store bought hummus is Trader Joe’s organic. If you can’t get that brand look for the next best option (by reading the ingredients) or go above and beyond and make your own! I did not include the ingredients to make your own in the shopping list.

1-Day Menu for Real Food Beginners on 100 Days of #RealFood

Easy Real Food Snack

  • Lara Bar
    We love this sponsor of ours and on the shopping list you’ll find a list of the flavors that are made with 5 ingredients or less.

1 Day Menu for Real Food Beginners

Easy Real Food Dinner

  • Quick and Easy Fried (Brown) Rice
    This is a super easy and inexpensive recipe! Feel free to add diced chicken if you don’t want to go meatless, although it’s not included in the shopping list below.

1 Day Menu for Real Food Beginners
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  • Produce
    • 3 or 4 bananas (or other fruit of choice)
    • 1 – ¾-ounce pack fresh basil leaves
    • Garlic (need 2 cloves)
    • About 1-inch fresh ginger
    • 1 onion
    • 5-ounce box fresh spinach
    • 3 tomatoes
  • Other
    • Brown rice
    • 4 Lara Bars: Flavors with 5 ingredients or less include Cashew Cookie (one of my favorites), Peanut Butter Cookie (my other favorite), Pecan Pie, Cherry Pie, Banana Bread, Cappuccino, Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bar, Peanut Butter & Jelly
    • Rolled oats (need 2 cups)
    • Raisins
    • Whole-grain crackers (Such as Ak-Mak brand crackers or woven wheat crackers by Back-to-Nature, Trader Joe’s or Triscuits)
  • Cold and/or Frozen
    • 1 – 10 ounce bag frozen mixed, chopped veggies (I like the “Chinese-style” mix for this recipe)
    • Eggs (need 2)
    • Hummus
    • Milk (need 2 1/2 cups)
    • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella (I used 1 ½ – 8-ounce packs)
  • Pantry Items
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Cinnamon
    • Honey
    • Olive oil
    • Pepper
    • Pure vanilla extract (store-bought or make your own)
    • Salt
    • Soy sauce
    • Toasted sesame oil

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22 thoughts on “1-Day Menu for Real Food Beginners”

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    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Rachael. We do not but highly recommend adapting the recipes in a way that will work for you.

  1. Is there such a thing as “real food” yogurt? one with no added sugar? even the greek which has more protein also has a lot of sugar. My boys eat lots of yogurt!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Lisa uses plain organic yogurts which do not have added sugars and sweetens it herself with honey, maple syrup or her own fruit syrup/sauce.

      1. Amy where would i find the recipe for the fruit syrup sauce please, diebetic cannot do maple syrup or honey, i use stevia wondering if the fruit sauce may be an alternative for me

      2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        Hi there. We do not use artificial sweeteners. We understand that it is necessary for some with blood sugar challenges. I would look for pure forms of stevia.

  2. I’m stuck at mostly real foods. I cannot follow this plan because I’m still over weight and trying to limit my carbs. (Type 1 diabetic) It’s difficult to be whole AND on a “diet”. But I’m doing my best. I lost about 15 or so pounds when I started this journey but still have 50 plus to go. I’ve been doing this for 4 or 5 years. All I can say is don’t give up. I feel better, but I’m still struggling with the weight.

    1. Sam, I wouldn’t worry about “low carb” if you are following Lisa’s plan. My daughter-in-law started this in February and she has naturally lost over 25 lbs. just from the food change alone. That’s my favorite part about this lifestyle, no more calorie, carb, fat, etc. counting!!!! Just eating natural takes care of everything! I hope you stay encouraged!

  3. I just wanted to mention that Triscuit crackers have BHT to preserve freshness. Not sure that should be on your list. Thanks for sharing all you have learned.

  4. I’m trying to make the full switch to real food, but the cost of organic is an issue. We’re a family of 5 with 3 of them being teenage boys to feed. Lots of snacks are needed. Also, they dislike nearly everything I have prepared, so a lot of food is going to waste. The waste is also due to purchasing new/different veggies and then not know how to prepare them, so I put it off…they go bad. However, I’m not going to give up. I’ll just buy what we can afford and only things I know they will sort of eat. Love your blog!

  5. Wow! What a simple, but great way to introduce others to real food – thanks once again Lisa for a wonderful idea. I am so excited about this! I am headed to the grocery store later today and will add these ingredients to my list so that my family and I can try this over the weekend. I am excited to show them how delicious, filling, and simple real food can be. I already have them hooked on the granola and banana pancakes from your cookbook, so I’m excited to take “operation real food” one step further :) Oh and I second you on caprese salad being the best salad…yum!

  6. I love that all the choices are meatless with the option of adding chicken. I am printing and will try on my family. But I might have to cook a second dinner since my child does not like soy sauce.

  7. This is perfect to share! My family already focuses primarily on “real” food so I’m often asked to help people how we eat. I’ve eaten this way for so long though that it’s hard for me to explain to a processed food junkie how to start. Thanks for this!