A Week with the Leakes: Real Food Lunches

If you saw the “Breakfast” post earlier this week then you know as part of our new, very personal series entitled “A Week with the Leakes” we spent a full 7 days recording every single thing our family ate. Check out the first post for the details and especially be sure to read our disclaimer if you haven’t done so already.

So, without further ado, here’s a full week of our lunches (please note: all four of us drank water with the pictured meals)…

Sunday Family Lunch: Caprese (local tomato/havarti/pesto) on grilled whole-wheat pitas (from Trader Joe’s), plain whole-milk yogurt mixed with homemade berry sauce, and local carrots.

Monday School Lunches (Note – For more school lunch ideas check out our recent “School Lunch Roundup!” post): Both kids had triple-decker whole-wheat waffle sandwiches (defrosted from freezer) with cream cheese/cinnamon/raisins in the middle, plain whole-milk yogurt mixed with homemade berry sauce (leftover from Sunday’s lunch), and fruit/veggies. Our first grader had the pictured local carrots and local strawberries and our preschooler had frozen peas in that compartment.

Lisa’s Monday Lunch: Simple caprese salad with balsamic vinegar, homemade hummus, local carrots, and baked whole-wheat Trader Joe pita “chips”. I brushed the sliced pitas with olive oil and put them under the broiler for a few minutes…I’d never done that before, and it was good. :)

Jason’s Monday Lunch: He had a work lunch so did the best he could with the options…a grilled portabella wrap with balsamic vinegar, mozzarella, red onion, and spinach. The wrap came with chips and a cookie, which he gave to a coworker so he got hungry later that afternoon and had an apple and some nuts for snack.

Tuesday School Lunches: Leftover frozen smoothies in freezie pop molds (plain yogurt/berry/milk/banana and local Swiss chard smoothies), baked whole-wheat pita chips, hummus, apples/cantaloupe, and popcorn (our preschooler had homemade nut/raisin trail mix instead of popcorn).

Lisa’s Tuesday Lunch: Homemade defrosted refried beans topped with sour cream, avocado and cilantro with fruit on the side (kiwi, local strawberries, pear…I didn’t finish all the fruit).

Jason’s Tuesday Lunch: He came home for lunch and had a salad with local spinach, avocado and local tomato, the fruit I didn’t eat, roasted almonds, some defrosted refried beans that were left, and leftover stir fry from a few nights before.

First Grader’s Wednesday Lunch: Homemade tomato bisque soup (defrosted from freezer), whole-wheat banana muffin (defrosted from freezer), and apple/sunflower butter sandwich.

Preschooler’s Wednesday Lunch: Leftover quesadillas with some toppings (guacamole, sour cream and homemade pico de gallo), apple/peanut butter sandwich, and homemade cashew/pistachio/raisin trail mix. I had a feeling this would be too much food, and she did not eat it all.

Lisa’s Wedensday Lunch: I had part of the quesadilla my preschooler did not finish from her lunch (plus another full piece) and some kiwi and local strawberries. It wasn’t enough food so I went back for one more quesadilla triangle.

Jason’s Wednesday Packed Lunch (at work): Leftover quesadillas, orange slices and an apple.

First Grader’s Thursday Lunch: Leftover frozen smoothie (plain yogurt/berry/milk/banana and local Swiss chard) in a freezie pop mold, whole-wheat banana muffin (also from freezer), frozen peas (that defrost by lunchtime) and some oranges and local strawberries.

Preschooler’s Thursday Lunch: PB&J whole-wheat pitas, mozzarella cheese stick, frozen peas, and a diced apple/cantaloupe mix.

Lisa’s Thursday Lunch: Do you ever just stand at the counter and eat a bunch of random stuff? What mom doesn’t? :) I had half a whole-wheat pita with tomato/hummus/cheese in it, a slice of pear, a couple olives, a few pieces of mozzarella, a half a kiwi, and some leftover mashed sweet potato (that we had used in our quesadilla dinner).

Jason’s Thursday Lunch (he doesn’t normally come home for lunch this much!): Whole-wheat pitas with hummus/cheese/homegrown sprouts, an apple and some local tomatoes topped with olive oil and pepper.

First Grader’s Friday Lunch: Cream cheese and homemade jam on whole-grain Ak-Mak crackers. One cracker had been made with sunflower butter and jam when she requested cream cheese on the rest. She also had a hard boiled egg and cantaloupe/kiwi mix.

Preschooler’s Friday Lunch: She is home on Friday’s and there was nothing to photograph because she was up at the counter (where I was making my lunch) eating a bunch of random stuff including bacon/cheese on a whole-wheat bun, pear slices, a couple bites of leftover red beans and brown rice, and half a pita with hummus/cheese/tomato/sprouts.

Lisa’s Friday Lunch: Leftover red beans and brown rice, half a grapefruit, and a grilled local tomato/organic bacon/cheddar sandwich using some Great Harvest whole-wheat rolls I had in the freezer. That sandwich combo was awesome by the way! :)

Jason’s Friday Lunch (he took the day off of work so once again he was home, which is not the norm!): Whole-wheat pitas with hummus/local tomato/cheese/homegrown sprouts, pear slices, and leftover red beans and brown rice.

Saturday Kid Lunch: PB&J on whole-wheat bread (we were super excited about our new homemade strawberry/honey jam…we don’t normally eat jam this much!), local carrots, and frozen peas.

Saturday Adult Lunch: Leftover red beans and brown rice, small PB&J triangle and local carrots.

 

Stay tuned for the snack and dinner version of this series…coming soon!

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95 thoughts on “A Week with the Leakes: Real Food Lunches”

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  1. What brand of pita or wraps would you recommend? the usual ones from supermarkets seem to have too many ingredients. I tried Ezekiel whole wheat wraps, the kind that are sold frozen, but they break so you can’t wrap anything in them. thank you

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hello. Ezekiel wraps are a good choice. I’ve found that steaming them briefly softens them and makes them more flexible. ~Amy

  2. First of all, I love your website and blogs! I am trying to convert my family but the one thing I notice is the meals are so small. That’s fine with me since I don’t eat much anyway. My girls, however are older than yours (11 and 9) and are very active (cheer & gymnastics) so they like to eat a lot. My youngest is so skinny already so the more healthy food I can pump in her the better. I think I’d need to send them with 3 lunch containers to get them through the day. They eat at least 3 snacks/day in addition to lunch. What can I pack for variety?

  3. Can any of these be made at the beginning of the week to prep and save time in the morning? Also, my son is in Pre-k and a little picky. It seems your girls are much more adventurous: Any ideas for what one might label as a “typical” 4-year old pallet (pbj, fruit, cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, and spinach dip as his only veggie)? Thank you: I love your site!!!

  4. I love your site! I’ve been looking for a website like yours, full of examples of meals for kids (and adults) with “real food”. Thanks for sharing! My 3 nieces come visit once a year and I’m going to feed them some of your meals. I found a link to your site through Pinterest. I see you mention Michael Pollan’s book, do you follow or have you read Robyn O’Brien’s book, ‘The Unhealthy Truth’.. she’s great too.

  5. This series is great – and gives me an idea…I try to eat pretty clean, and I don’t calorie count, but sometimes it’s helpful to keep a food journal occasionally to make sure the diet is balanced – for me that usually means making sure I’m getting enough veg and not too much grain (even if they ARE whole grains.) Any rate, it would be so easy to snap a picture with my phone instead of trying to write it all down or log it to a website. I can just keep a folder on my phone with the pictures and review them there to keep myself ‘honest.’ (I’m too lazy to upload to my semi-defunct blog or anywhere else anyway!)
    Thanks again! I’ve recently started following and am enjoying your blog!

  6. Lisa you really are super mom! As the above commenter stated school lunches really are the WORST. Frankly some days I am too lazy to argue with my kindergartener and let her buy. (I’m a single mom who works full time and attends school at night.) But when I want to give her a little motivation for ideas I show her the pictures of your little girls and say they love this kind of food! That really gets her on board (she’s 5). She actually asks me about them all the time lmao! “Mommy, would those little girls on that website like this?” Too cute. Thanks for all that you do.

  7. Hello! I love your blog and wanted to say thank you so much for sharing all of your recipes and ideas. I don’t have any children but I appreciate the fact that you create recipes for children as I have an 11-year-old sister and I looked at her lunch menu one day and noticed they were serving funnel cake for breakfast!! Funnel cake? Funnel cake!! Everything (with the exception of SOME fruits and vegetables) were processed and I was upset that schools allowed this food to be served to children. My family and I can’t wait to start eating non-processed foods and hopefully start saving money too! :) Thank you again for posting this eye-opening blog!

  8. ok, so this may have been asked, but there are too many comments to read through right now. How do you keep the cut apples from turning in the kids’ lunches?

  9. This is so impressive! You ate whole foods, yet you didn’t eat anything that would be hard to find at any grocery store. It makes it seem so much more doable. Looking forward to your snacks and dinners!

  10. I am new to this site. A close friend of mine recommended it so I have been following you for just a few weeks now. Thank you for posting these meal ideas. One thing that I did notice in the pics is that you use whole carrots. Any reason you don’t use baby carrots? I don’t live anywhere near a Whole Foods or Trader Joes but even my local grocery store has organic baby carrots. I am very curious to hear your reason. Thanks for all that you are doing!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      We usually buy our carrots at the farmers’ market and they are only sold whole there. I also occasionally buy the organic baby carrots from the store. I think they are both fine except the fact that we try to do local whenever we can. If they are both coming from the grocery store though I doubt there is any difference (as far as nutritional value goes). I hope that helps!

  11. I’ve shown my 4K daughter this site, pics of the lunches you pack for your kids. I plan to pack her lunch since I think the food as school is anything but real and wanted to get her excited. She is totally on board. Thanks for the inspiration and great ideas!

  12. Have you had any local blueberries yet this season? I have been picking and eating them for 2 weeks now and they are amazing this year!! I live almost across the road from a local pick your own berry/nursery. Heaven!!

  13. Thank you so much for doing this site. I have always tried to follow a clean eating diet but have never been fully dedicated. After finding your site and also reading “In Defense Of Food”, I was inspired. I have been following a strict whole foods diet for over two months now. It is fantastic. This past week has been busy and I hadn’t visited the site at all. I found myself straying a little from the whole foods plan. After visiting your site again and reminding myself why I am doing this, I have found renewed committment. So, THANK YOU for keeping us all motivated!!

  14. I love all the pictures. They are so inspiring. I am curious about how you make your red beans. Because I love your refried beans recipe. Thanks

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Lisa previously responded that she had gotten the recipe out of people magazine a very long time ago and that they have to tweak it a bit and make it a few more times before it’s ready to post/share!

  15. I love the site. Any ideas on substitutes for cream cheese? We try and avoid it because I have found it impossible to find one that didn’t have locust bean gum or some other highly processed additive. If you’ve found a brand that DOESN’T have those, please, let me know. I have tried subbing mascarpone, which works sometimes, but its a little bland.

    1. Hi Brooke, I use Neufchâtel cheese instead of cream cheese. I happen to buy Organic Valley. You could try goat cheese too, but it would be more tangy and a little less smooth. The neuf is perfect IMHO!

  16. It is just fabulous showing exactly what you are eating. I think it really helps everybody understand, visualise and imagine how their family could do it too. It is also incredibly important to see what realistic serving sizes are. These days, not only in America, but in Australia too, we supersize. Fabulous, I love it.
    I am also shocked by the lady above me’s post. Doctors are a little screwy sometimes. Just remember a doctor is a generalist, they are not specialised in nutrition and dietetics. But in sayign that some nutritionists might also respond in the same way.

  17. I was so frustrated today when I took my child to the doc for a well child visit & told them we switched over to buying all real food including: whole milk, full fat cheese etc. & she looked at me like I was crazy! She basically said that is not the right thing to do & I should be buying the low fat.. She said the higher fat products contribute to heart disease & I should switch back asap… America is getting fatter w/ more diet foods than ever out there! I should have asked her why were people in the 60’s & 70’s skinnier even though they were eating real food? I wish people would stop looking at diet/lowfat food as the answer!

    1. If you haven’t seen the movie Fat Head, definitely check it out!!! He actually talks about the mis-information we get from doctors. I’m pretty sure it is available on Netflix…or you can watch it on Hulu.com.

      It totally changed my perspective on food (fat in particular)!!!

    2. I would look for a new pediatrician! Ours was very impressed with the changes we are making in our food choices.

  18. Niamh Armitage

    Loving this site. Thank you for taking time to share all the information. One quick question: what are Ak Mack crackers? I am British but live in Hong Kong, my kids LOVE crackers but I struggle to find store bought which are healthy and whole.

  19. Your lunches look great and I am always inspired by what others eat. I can get in a rut. I love the caprese salad idea for this time of year. I need to get those lunch containers you have for your children! Where do you get them? Oh and thanks to you I am addicted to the tomato/pesto/cheese panini sandwhich! Lol!

  20. In response to the protein question, I looked over the husband’s meals, and every meal had some protein. Beans (both the pintos and the garbanzos) have protein, as does cheese and nuts, and if I’m not mistaken (and I totally could be) I think that avocado may have protein, as well. It’s not as protein-heavy as a lot of people eat (or maybe as much as your husband needs), but he definitely got protein with every meal that I can tell.

  21. I love these posts and thank you for sharing all of this! This is inspiring and totally doable, at least for me and my son. I do know that my husband would never be able to do this. He is a big guy (6’4″) and definitely eats more than this. It’s not so much the portion sizes though but where is the protein? Is is just hidden and I’m missing it? Just wondering if you know roughly how much protein is in any of these? He eats a serious amount of protein at each meal and feels wacky and crazy if he doesn’t get it (his siblings and mom are the same way!) Thanks again for sharing and I can’t wait to see the dinners. :)

    1. Hi Jenell-
      Before my husband and I started our diet changes we thought the exact same thing – WHERE IS THE PROTEIN?! … I have a condition in which my body reacts poorly to food that has higher sugar content than protein, so I was always on the lookout for high protein snack and meals.
      When we started getting away from processed foods … including and most importantly processed sugars … I found that I could eat just about anything and feel just fine!
      It turns out my bodies real aversion was to PROCESSED sugars (of any kind, including artificial ones).
      Now, as long as I stay away from processed sugars, the protein amount hasn’t been as big of an issue. I don’t know if the same will be true for you – but perhaps give it a shot :)

  22. Wow, I just realized that I eat way too much meat! Thank you so much for this post. You have really inspired me to eat more vegetarian meals, especially for lunch!

  23. Thank you so much Lisa for this post and really all your posts!! We are right in the middle of the 10 day challenge and your post is really helpful! TAHNK YOU TAHNK YOU!!! :)

  24. Thank you for the great lunch ideas! They look delicious! And thanks for the idea for the Ak-Mak crackers. We have them but have yet to do anything fun with them. This is perfect! My kids will eat it all up! :) Love the apple sandwiches. And I am definitely getting these containers for their lunches for next year (first year I have to pack school lunch!). :) Can’t wait to see what you post for your dinners.

  25. We eat a lot of the same kind of stuff you guys do for lunches, only we eat much larger portions. We do exercise pretty intensely though, so maybe that’s why. One of my favorite lunches is refried beans with toppings!

  26. Hi Lisa,

    I’m new to the idea of non processed foods and feel very overwhelmed. Would you be willing to do a post on the brands that you buy and the specific things that you look for when buying the basics? EX. Cheese, do you buy it in a block? Do you look for specific ingredients? Nutrition content? This would be hugely beneficial to me and probably some of your other readers. I’ve searched through your blog but haven’t found this info. If you do have, will you please direct me to it? Thanks!

    1. I know I’m not Lisa, & it’s not everything in one post like you may be looking for, but if you’ll go to her “real food tips” link on her menu across the top of the page there is a lot of basic info in those posts. If you haven’t, read Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food.” Since switching to real food, I don’t look at nutrition content of my food at all when shopping…. I look at ingredients. If it has more than 5 ingredients we stay away from it (mostly). If I can’t pronounce the ingredients we stay away from it.

      As for cheese, look at cheese that’s not in block form & you’re going to have a hard time finding one that doesn’t contain a bunch of additives and/or preservatives. We buy block cheese, or individually wrapped cheese sticks for lunches. It’s a bit more work to shred it ourselves if that’s what we need, but it’s not that much more work. :o)

      Hope that helps you out some. It can seem overwhelming when you’re so used to everything being processed & ready to throw in the microwave to wrap your head around what to look for & how to prepare real food!

      1. Another great book (and super quick read) by Michael Pollen is Food Rules. It takes the gist of In Defense of Food and puts it down into rules to remember. I read it about once a month or so (you can read the whole thing in an hour or two) and use it as a resource book. It was hard for me to find time to read and digest In Defense of Food, so I was glad to find the shorter book!

  27. I’m curious if the Ak-Mak crackers get soggy by your daughter’s lunch time? We’ve also made strawberry jam-ish this spring that my daughter loves, but she said it makes her bread mushy by lunch time & she won’t eat mushy bread. (I woulnd’t either, so I can’t argue there.) I like the idea of the crackers, but am afraid that they would also get mushy by lunch time. We might have to experiment with this over the summer…. I really like that idea.

    And as so many others have said, thanks so much for sharing. I truly am getting so much inspiration from these pictures!

    1. My kids love my homemade strawberry jam- but it will make the bread mushy. The way I solve that is by peanut buttering (or cream cheesing) both pieces of bread, and then using the jam. The PB barrier seems to sog proof it, as the jam can’t soak into the bread that way. Freezer jam is worse than cooked jam for soggy bread- in my opinion.

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      Jenifer – I asked my daughter after seeing your question and she said the crackers were a little soft, but the box still came home empty so I guess she didn’t care…like you said though it would probably bother me!

      1. Is that parchment paper that you layer in there? Seems like the jam would make a mess all over everything. I want to try this for myself, but using Wasa sour dough crisp bread (basically like a big cracker) But not sure how to transport it without making a mess! Maybe need to make a sandwhich of it. I LOVE PB & J or cashew butter and Jam, today for the first time I tried your cream cheese& jam combination-um yum!! WHy hadn’t I thought of that before. Delicious!

      2. 100 Days of Real Food

        Yes, either parchment or wax paper will do the trick to keep the crackers separated. So glad you enjoyed the cream cheese and jam combo…yum is right!

  28. Bless you!!! I am eating better and feeling so much more energy than I have felt for years. I feel like I am back in my grandmother’s kitchen eating her homemade salad dressings and fresh produce from her garden. The desire for the prepared foods has disappeared and they don’t seem at all appealing after eating REAL FOOD. My daughter participated in Katimavik, a year long, youth volunteer program here in Canada where she was introduced to eating local, fresh food. Your site has helped us to continue learning and is so inspiring. Thank you.

  29. THANK YOU for sharing this – your photography is stunning and you have given me many, many new ideas! I love trying new things and often it’s amazing how good simple is.

    Bless you all for this info!
    xox from minneapolis

    1. WE have the same pop holder they do. The lids are pretty secure but we like to fold up the bottom part and put a rubber band that goes over the top and around the bottom of the mold. When we do that, we never have a leaky pop.

  30. Very helpful. Interesting that I didn’t see any meat on the menu. We hardly have lunchmeat any more and I feel a little bad, but maybe I will let that go. Also, I am among the many who want to know where you got local tomatoes in May around here!! ;)

  31. Stand at the counter and eat a bunch of random stuff… um yes! A little of this and a little of that! Lunches are by far the hardest meal for me. My 2 year old still doesn’t have his molars which really limits what he can eat (especially raw veggies and fruits). Also when we have leftovers, it’s almost always the meat and/or grain portion that’s leftover… not the veggies. So I find myself scrambling for some fruits and veggies to add to our lunches. And I feel like we eat the same thing over and over for lunch! PB&J, Quesadillas, Salad, over and over and over! I really need to try those refried beans! They look great! And I should really dust off the panini press to put a new spin on lunch. Thanks for the ideas!

  32. I also just want to thank you for sharing something so personal. I am really impressed with the variety of foods that your family gets in a week. This has given me some great ideas for lunches. I never thought to have hummus sandwiches, or that you could send a smoothie to school with your child! How cool.

  33. I’m just so amazed at what your children will eat. My oldest will not eat any dairy execpt cheese and only on a pizza and my middle one would probably only eat the fruit from any of these meal plans. I think they are great however, and I keep on trying…

  34. I really appreciate you posting these pictures. It really helps to see portion sizes. I realize everyone is different and has different needs. A grown man working construction would most likely need more fuel (food) than a 25 year old woman who works in an office (unless of course that woman runs 10 miles a day!!)

    Anyway, portion sizes are something I am working on. Real Food is new to me. I’m slowly making changes. I’ve been reading various books including: Food Rules & The Omnivore’s Dilema, Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food, Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Plus I’ve seen Food, Inc. All of these make me want to move to a farm and only eat what I grow or raise!! But for myself that is not a realistic options (though perhaps someday!)

    I have spent most of my life overweight (50-60 lbs over) Over the course of 2 years I dropped 60 pounds. I ate better and worked out more. Plus I’ve learned to love running. I’ve been within a 5 pound (healthy) range for the last 2 years. I didn’t follow any specific diet (Not weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig, etc.) But I did count calories. I tried to be smart about it. I ate lot’s of fruit, veggies, & nuts.

    However (all that to lead me to my current struggle) I would modify recipes to reduce calories and thus allow me to have larger portion sizes. A 2×2 inch brownie made with full sugar & butter would have the same calories as a 3×3 inch brownie made with 1/2 splenda & I can’t believe it’s not butter. So I grew accustomed to larger portions (plus I was losing weight, so it felt okay!)But now I’m eating real food and if I continue with those larger portions I’m afraid I will gain weight!

    I no longer use splenda (AT ALL) and sugar is rare. I have been using maple syrup, honey, and my new favorite: coconut sugar. Plus I’m using real butter. I’ve made other changes towards a real food diet too. This is all well and good, but now I need to learn portions. I am not used to seeing a plate, like yours, so empty. I realize it’s not actually empty and I’m in NO WAY being critical. I see that and it helps me understand that people CAN survive on less food than I want to serve myself. There is this fear in me of hunger. I don’t want to get hungry, so I eat perhaps more than I need to in order to avoid that hungry feeling. I’m working on learning what degree of hunger is okay.

    Sorry such a long comment, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for being an example and putting yourself out there. It really is appreciated. Also, any tips for a newbie related to learning appropriate portion sizes while still avoiding hunger and giving my body the nutrients and sustance it needs? Thanks again!

    1. I just wanted to add a bit of my experience with portions recently. I knew I’d been eating too much food, mainly because it tasted good and partly out of habit or easy access. It’s okay to be hungry before a meal – I’m not talking failing down faint starving, just basic hunger. It’s okay to take a small portion of food and then later (30-60 min) decide it wasn’t enough and go back for a little bit more. I like to carry “snacky” foods (nuts, dried fruit, popcorn, maybe some sliced fresh fruit) in my purse so I can munch if I need to without having to worry about did I eat enough lunch before going out to run errands. I’d also say try taking just a little bit less and see how you feel. Then once you are used to that, take a little bit less until you find the happy medium that works for you.

    2. I struggle with the same problem! I’m learning that real food is more filling and I’ve finally given myself permission to declare that my body needs fats – real ones! I have been able to find combinations of real food that keep me full and lose weight at the same time. I usually eat off of salad plates to help with portion control, especially with yummy foods :) Keep up the good work and congrats on your amazing weight loss!

    3. casey, i know what you’re going through, and i want to say DON’T BE SCARED!! i am a total foodie and was overweight for years because i love food. i’ve lost weight and maintained it for several years, but have taken my sweet time reincorporating real food (after relying a lot on diety foods to lose weight). but life is SO MUCH BETTER this way–not just because, of course, real foods are better for you, but also because i enjoy food more, am more satisfied, and feel better all over. i was, like you, so scared to give up my sugar-free snacks and low-calorie cheats, but i would never ever go back.

      i’ve found that some things i thought would matter so much weight-wise don’t. i thought i had to measure ever tablespoon of oil and used Pam like it was my business. Now I don’t worry at all about the amount of oil or butter I use while I’m cooking and my weight stays the same. On the other hand, if I eat more than about 2 servings of fruit in a day (easy to do with delicious local fruit all summer!), I gain weight immediately. All that to say–make small changes and you’ll be able to keep an eye on your weight. I think you’ll find your portions can be more relaxed in some ways and less so in others. Everyone is different, and since eating real food, I feel like I know so much more about what my body needs. And the more my diet consists of real food, the more able i am to stop eating when i’m full. processed food really is addictive in a way that real food is not.

      also, i have certain meals or snacks that are fairly high volume without being high calorie that i can use when i just really want a lot of munching–popcorn and great big salads or veggie stir fries are my favorites. i’m a long distance runner, and some days i know i need more for fuel but some days i know i’ve had enough but CANNOT convince my tummy. on those days, a baked potato piled with sauteed veggies or a big bowl of popcorn seem to do the trick.

      sorry for the long post–i was just so worried about eating real food because of gaining weight but am so much happier (in terms of enjoying food AND maintaining weight) that i wanted to share.

      1. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to respond. Everyone, really! I appreciate it. :) this is all new to me and I feel overwhelmed. I know what I want, just need to figure out how to get there. I want to eat real food that nourishes my body in reasonable portions so that I can maintain or better yet increase my current level of health. I know (but need to constantly remind myself) that it will take time. My eating habits can not be changed overnight. I enjoy this process of learning about myself and what my body needs. So glad I found this blog and I have benefit already so much from all the information, recipes, etc as well as encouragement and support from fellow readers. So thanks again! :)

  35. Thanks for sharing! It’s been fun to read and view. I look forward to the snack and dinner versions. It’d be fun to see them all day by day as well. I am paying particular attention to “eating the rainbow” lately so it intrigues me to see what a whole day looks like. And just like the breakfast post with your berries, I am jealous once again. We have no tomatoes up here in New England yet… I am drooling over yours! Wow, they looked great. A few more months….

  36. P.S. Mary – Since my daughter’s front teeth fell out, we had to figure out a way to send apples to school that she could eat. We found an idea where you slice the apple, but keep it together on the core (imagine just four cuts from the top that make 8 pieces). Then, we put a rubber band around it to keep it from browning. My kids love this! Here’s a link to my pin with pictures:http://pinterest.com/pin/144748575493792386/

  37. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I was wondering if you could share or tell me where you got your recipe for red beans and brown rice?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I actually got it out of people magazine a very long time ago (had it in my recipe files) …we have to tweak it a bit and make it a few more times before it’s ready to post/share!

  38. Thank you so much for sharing!! I found your website a few months ago and my husband and I have completely changed over to a whole foods diet. I am not incredibly creative when it comes to food, so thank you for the different meal ideas!

  39. I have really enjoyed this series as well. We have been eating real food for a long time, but I was having trouble with the proper portions for my daughter’s lunches. I didn’t want her to feel hungry at school. After your last lunch post, I started decreasing her lunch portions. My job became easier, and she is just as happy. Thank you! Now, I’m trying to convince my husband of this. He looked at his slightly smaller lunch today and said, “I’m going to be starving.” Men!

  40. Love the shot of Tabasco! I work a couple miles for the Tabasco plant in Louisiana.

    All these lunches look great. I’ve been trying so hard to come up with lunches for myself and my husband to take to work. I’ll make an effort to eat real if I don’t have a pre-packed lunch, but my husband will simply walk to Popeye’s next to his office and eat something from there. We also have a super picky three year old, so I love all the ideas I can get. Thanks!

  41. Once again, thank you for putting yourself out there and showing us what you eat on a daily basis! I’m especially grateful that you didn’t make fancy looking meals for yourself, just for the pictures! I tend to eat a selection of random foods, too. Whatever my kiddos don’t eat, or I just pull together what I have….Thanks again!

  42. I’m curious what your kids lunch’s look like by the time they eat them. Like the fruit. What do you do so the apples don’t brown and gross out a small child or do your girls not care about brown apples?

    1. If you cut up an apple in the morning and sprinkle some lemon juice on the slices, they are not brown by lunch time. I take apples to work quite a bit and the lemon juice seems to do the trick!

      1. This works for me too when bringing sliced apples to work. By the time you eat them, you barely even taste the tang from the lemon. I love the idea of the apple/peanut butter “sandwiches”!

    2. I find that some varieties of apples seem to brown more than others. I can’t tell you which ones because we get a mixed case of apples from the farmers market and I don’t know the names of the different varieties.

  43. I think we (me and my husband) would stave to death on such small portions!! LOL And neither one of us is overweight. But we both work out a lot so maybe that’s why we are so much hungrier??

    1. I was thinking the same thing… now I could stand to lose about 15 pounds but my husband is skinny! I know he’d starve on those lunches!

  44. I apologize in advance for this question but please realize that I have only been cooking for the past 5 months so there are many things I am clueless! You mentioned defrosted from the freezer on several items. I have learned to love my freezer. When packing the kids lunches do you defrost before you put in lunchbox or allow it to defrost throughout the day? Also how are you defrosting the refried beans? I made your recipe last week and it was great but had tons left over. I didn’t realize it was something I could freeze. Thanks so much!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      This is Lisa’s assistant, Jill. I find that if I pack things frozen in the morning they are defrosted by lunchtime. I guess the only variable might be how much time passes between the start of school and your child’s lunchtime. For other items I freeze, I defrost them in the refrigerator about a day before I plan to use them.

  45. Everything looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try some of the sandwich options mentioned. The pita with hummus/local tomato/cheese/homegrown sprouts looks amazing! We’ve been eating so much hummus lately because your recipe is great and super easy. Thanks for sharing!!

  46. I love your blog and have particularly enjoyed reading this series, A Week with the Leakes. Thank you for sharing! The tomatoes in the lunch pictures are gorgeous. They look too good for May tomatoes. Where do you find such beautiful ones? I am in Charlotte, too.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Haley – The Matthews Farmers Market started offering greenhouse grown tomatoes a few weeks ago…I’ve been waiting all winter for this! Get there early before they sell out.

  47. AWESOME!!! I’m still struggling with portion control with real food but it’s getting better! It’s so helpful to see the lunches you make for your girls…my baby is due June 30th and I love knowing that I’ll be able to come back and get ideas when she’s bigger :)