This is the final installment in our 2019 Reader Diary series where we’re sharing success stories + what people ate for a week! Those who are featured receive $50 in groceries from Thrive Market, 2 of my cookbooks, and a free Prepear meal planning program membership for a year.
My name is Bailey Jorgensen. My husband, Mike, and I live in Bennington, NE with our two daughters—Harlowage (age 4) and Sloane (age 2). I stumbled across 100 Days of Real Food on my search for eating real, whole food. I’m not sure at what point or why I decided that I wanted to eat healthier, but it was sometime in 2018. I don’t have any particular health issues, but I have a family history of being overweight, especially around the mid-section. I do have some digestive issues that stem from food sensitivities.
I’ve always cooked homemade meals and have meal planned for a long time, but I was still using some processed foods in my “homemade” meals—biscuits in a can, enriched pasta, processed cheese, etc. I started to read all food labels and think about what I was feeding myself and my family.
I didn’t realize how the food I was eating made me feel until I didn’t eat it anymore. I feel good about the food that I am eating now and no longer have digestive issues.
Changes in health:
- Lost 9 pounds in 2018.
- Lost 1 ½ inches from waist.
- My daughters know what foods make you grow big and strong and what foods we should limit because they have little nutritional value.
Not only is making real food easy, but it’s fun too. My girls love to help me in the kitchen, and preparing real food helps bring everyone together. I have made minor changes in the way I think about food and these changes have made a big difference.
Our Food Diary
Sunday is my shopping and meal prep day. I shoot for at least five homemade meals per week. You can see from the calendar, at the bottom of the post, that my 2-year-old helped one week in January. I ask for input from everyone, and pizza is a weekly request from my 4-year-old. My recipes come from a combination of Pinterest, cookbooks, and family favorites that I’ve revamped to make healthier. All the recipes that we’ve tried from 100 Days of Real Food have been great! My favorites so far are the chicken pot pie, cream biscuits (I could eat them all in one sitting), and pancakes.
Breakfast: Egg Scramble. I just throw in whatever veggies I’ve got left over and call it egg scramble. I love the versatility of eggs, and my 2-year-old devours them.
Lunch: Meatballs that I had in the freezer and a side salad.
Dinner: Shepherd’s pie. My only complaint about this meal is the number of dirty dishes it creates.
Snack: Homemade peanut butter cups. I made these with almond butter and powdered cocoa. They are just as good as the store bought, but without the added sugar.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blueberries and homemade granola.
Lunch: Leftover Shepherd’s pie.
Dinner: Salmon. My 2-year-old loves fish like her mother, but my 4-year-old takes after her dad. I typically make her try one bite, but make a chicken breast for her on fish nights.
Snack: Pears were on sale at the grocery store so I grabbed a few for the week.
Breakfast: Nutmeal. I’ve been wanting to try this oat-free version of oatmeal with nuts. I used coconut milk, which gave the nuts a very creamy texture.
Lunch: Leftover salmon.
Dinner: Stir fry. My husband LOVES Chinese, but most Chinese food is full of additives. When you make it at home, you choose what goes in the sauce. Plus it’s a great way to get in some veggies.
Snack: Whole-wheat banana blueberry muffins. It is so easy to throw together and put in the freezer for a mid-afternoon snack.
Breakfast: Avocado sweet potato “toast” with scrambled eggs.
Lunch: Leftover stir fry.
Dinner: Chicken pot pie. Lisa’s shortcut version of chicken pot pie is genius!
Snack: Energy balls. I make up a bunch and throw them in the freezer for a quick snack.
Breakfast: Homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal—no added sugar, unlike the premade packets. It’s so delicious!
Lunch: Leftover chicken pot pie.
Dinner: Macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi. My husband, who is not a huge fish fan, raved over this one!
Snack: Homemade banana “ice cream” with almonds. My 4-year-old helped make and eat this one.
Breakfast: Smoothie with frozen berries, coconut milk, and coconut water.
Lunch: Salad with chicken, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and homemade blueberry vinaigrette. Look how pretty it looks.
Dinner: Pesto pizza, with homemade cauliflower crust. I’ve always wanted to try the cauliflower crust and it did not disappoint.
Snack: Apple with almond butter.
Breakfast: Whole-wheat pancakes. My girls love pancakes and they love helping me make them. We make pancakes almost every Saturday and have some left over for the week.
Lunch: Homemade mac-and-cheese with whole-grain noodles and shredded cheddar cheese. I grew up on homemade mac-and-cheese, but I kick mine up a notch with whole-grain noodles (I actually sneak in some veggie noodles), and shredded cheddar instead of Velveeta.
Dinner: Flank steak and brussels sprouts.
Snack: Homemade granola bar.
- Meal planning and prepping is key—plan your meals around your schedule. For example, we have dance one night a week, so I usually plan a crock pot or instant pot meal for that night.
- Have fruits and vegetables on hand for quick and easy snacks. My 4-year-old is a grazer, and I want to provide healthy options for her when she is hungry.
- Having some freezer meals that are already made is helpful when you don’t feel like cooking or when plans change.
- Be creative, try new recipes, and don’t be afraid to change it up. I rarely follow a recipe exactly, even if I’m making it for the first time.