Meal Ideas & Resources

Below are some helpful resources and meal ideas that don’t break the rules. Also, it is important to know when serving yourself “real food” you don’t need to eat as much as you would of the processed stuff! Get ready to fill up fast.

Our Free “Real Food” Meal Plans

Meal planning is KEY to cutting out processed food. Our plans below include breakfast, lunch, and dinner suggestions for a family of four plus corresponding grocery lists with pricing:

  1. “Real Food” Meal Plans 1 & 2
  2. “Real Food” Meal Plan 3
  3. Summer “Real Food” Meal Plan 4
  4. Fall “Real Food” Meal Plan 5

Low-Cost Meal Plan Subscriptions:

While the plans we developed above are great resources, we don’t crank them out on a regular basis! Here are a variety of good options from some of our affiliate partners that will keep your menu fresh week after week. Note some may require slight tweaks to follow our rules, but all of these meal plans provide a solid foundation.

  1. PrePear – An app with both a free and paid plan where you can create customized meal plans. The gold option lets me make meal plans for YOU!
  2. Fresh 20 – Meal plans based on 20 fresh, local and (when possible) organic ingredients.
  3. Plan to Eat – Weekly meal planning, recipe sharing, and shopping list all in one; create and share your own recipes within and add them to your planner.
  4. MOMables – Healthy school lunch ideas and family plans including Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, and Nut-Free in addition to the Classic.
  5. Once a Month Meals – Fill your freezer by creating monthly menus using freezable seasonal recipes.
  6. Super Healthy Kids – Kid-friendly meal plans that include 4 meals for each day, recipes, and instructions at your fingertips. 3, 6 or 12 month membership options.
  7. Prep Dish – Looking for Paleo and gluten-free meals? Look no further! Prep Dish is a tried-and-true source. Free 2 week trial.
  8. SmoothieBox – Get pre-portioned smoothies delivered right to your door. No sugar added, and collagen boosters included, this is a great way to up your fruit & veggie intake easily! Save $25 on your first box.

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Breakfast:

  1. Homemade granola cereal (pictured) with milk and berries
  2. Scrambled or fried eggs with whole-wheat toast1, butter, jelly2, and fresh fruit
  3. Whole-wheat banana (or berry) pancakes topped with 100% pure maple syrup
  4. Plain oatmeal (follow directions on package) topped with a dash of honey, cinnamon and raisins or other dried fruit
  5. Pecan maple breakfast cookies with a hard boiled egg and a banana
  6. Whole-wheat crepes with a side of fresh fruit and a maple mocha
  7. Store-bought plain Shredded Wheat cereal with milk and fruit
  8. Whole-wheat muffins (pictured above) with a side of plain yogurt mixed with berry sauce and topped with homemade granola cereal
  9. Egg omelet, bacon from the farmer’s market, whole-wheat popovers with butter and jelly2, and fresh fruit
  10. Whole-wheat banana bread or whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread topped with cream cheese and a fruit smoothie or on the side
  11. PB&J smoothie (pictured in smoothie pop holders) and whole-wheat biscuit
  12. Whole wheat German oven pancake with 100% Maple Syrup and a side of mixed seasonal fruit
  13. Millet porridge with diced apples, raisins, and almonds
  14. Buckwheat pancakes with sliced bananas and blueberries on top, and a pumpkin spice mocha
  15. Chevre and chive scramble served with a pumpkin whole-spelt muffin and fresh strawberries
  16. Filled pancakes (A.K.A Whole Wheat Ebelskivers) with mango and apple slices
  17. Whole-wheat waffles with applesauce
  18. Try any of our smoothies, like the PB&J smoothie
  19. Fried matzo breakfast with a seasonal fruit kabob
  20. Whole-wheat French toast with a fruit smoothie
  21. Breakfast casserole bites with fresh fruit on the side
  22. Whole-wheat toaster pastries (aka Pop Tarts) with scrambled eggs and side of yogurt with fresh berries and peaches
  23. Whole spelt lemon cottage cheese pancakes with a side of blueberries and farmers market bacon
  24. Tomato pie, with a side of scrambled or fried eggs

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Lunch:

  1. Peanut butter and jelly2 on whole-wheat bread1, sliced fresh fruit, and crackers3
  2. Whole-wheat tortilla filled with hummus, cheese and optional veggie (spinach, cucumber, carrot, lettuce or tomato), side of fresh fruit and store-bought whole-wheat pretzels4
  3. Grilled cheese on whole-wheat bread1, applesauce, and popcorn
  4. Caprese salad with basil pesto or grilled caprese salad sandwich
  5. Whole-wheat macaroni and cheese with frozen peas mixed in and a side of fresh fruit
  6. Curry chicken salad on whole-wheat bread, with a sliced apple
  7. Fruit smoothie or PB&J smoothie (pictured above)
  8. Whole-wheat tortilla filled with chopped cucumber, tomato, feta cheese and sprinkled with dried dill or leftover grilled veggies and goat cheese
  9. Whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread and cream cheese sandwich, strawberries, and a hard-boiled egg
  10. Roasted pumpkin seed and currant salad and easy-cheesy crackers
  11. sandwich inspiration creation
  12. Green eggs and ham with a whole wheat biscuit
  13. Potato pancakes (with vegetables) served warm or cold over a bed of spinach with goat cheese and vinaigrette dressing.
  14. Crackers3 with hummus, grapes, cheese, and celery or carrots
  15. A big salad topped with nuts, cheese and olive oil/balsamic vinegar for dressing (pictured)
  16. Grilled pimento cheese sandwich with whole-wheat pasta salad and fresh fruit on the side
  17. Diced avocado and brown rice with a little bit of low-sodium soy sauce
  18. Whole-wheat waffle sandwich with cream cheese, cinnamon and raisins in the middle (pictured) with a side of seasonal fruit
  19. Berry good wrap with a side of sliced cucumber and an orange
  20. Egg soufflé with ham and a side of arugula salad with shaved Parmesan (perfect for brunch)
  21. Brie and apple sandwich with leftover turkey and a side of grapes
  22. Feta pasta salad with avocado and tomato
  23. Whole-wheat tortilla filled with easy slow cooker refried beans, melted Monterrey Jack cheese, and sour cream with a side of avocado
  24. Greek Yogurt Egg Salad with a turkey-and-cheese kabob and bell pepper slices
  25. Leftovers from any of the dinners below!

For portable school, picnic or work lunch ideas check out the posts in the “school lunches” category.

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Snacks and Appetizers:

  1. Whole-wheat banana bread
  2. Dried fruit (make sure there is no added sugar) and nuts
  3. Fresh fruit (make them into kabobs for kids)
  4. Popcorn
  5. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  6. Homemade granola bars or a homemade Larabar when you’re on the go
  7. Olives, crackers3, and cheese
  8. Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
  9. Pesto cream cheese bake with a whole grain cracker (like Ak-Mak)
  10. Whole-wheat muffins
  11. Potato pancakes (with vegetables) with sour cream on the side
  12. Celery topped with peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins (ants on a log)
  13. Peanut butter, banana and date pita Pocket Sandwich
  14. Hard-boiled egg
  15. Whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread
  16. Plain yogurt mixed with berry sauce
  17. Pecan maple breakfast cookies
  18. Crackers3 topped with hummus
  19. Bacon-wrapped dates
  20. Whole Wheat Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuits
  21. Ranch flavored dip with celery and carrot sticks
  22. Slow cooker refried beans with green tomato relish, topped with melted cheese and sour cream
  23. Powerballs
  24. Buttermilk cheese biscuit
  25. Whole-wheat zucchini bread or muffins (pictured)
  26. Whole-wheat pumpkin bread or muffins
  27. Pumpkin spelt muffins
  28. Easy cheesy crackers
  29. Whole-wheat popovers
  30. Virgin pina colada smoothie
  31. Curry chicken salad on Ak Mak Crackers
  32. Sliced raw veggies with a tzatziki dipping sauce
  33. Peanut butter banana smoothie
  34. Zucchini chips
  35. Rainbow fruit and veggie platters

Read more on snacks by clicking on the “snack for kids (and adults!)” category.

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Salads and Soups:

  1. Caprese salad with basil pesto
  2. Salad with a twist (including glazed nuts)
  3. Tomato, corn and black bean salad
  4. Cobb salad with blue cheese dressing
  5. Lime-cilantro quinoa salad
  6. White gazpacho (cold soup)
  7. Tomato bisque (good with grilled cheese on whole wheat bread1)
  8. Taco salad (pictured)
  9. Peanut squash soup
  10. Tortilla soup (good with cheese quesadillas)
  11. Butternut squash soup with buttered whole-wheat toast on the side
  12. Easy split pea soup topped with chopped bacon and a side of whole-wheat biscuits
  13. Homemade chicken noodle soup (pictured)
  14. Whole-wheat pasta salad
  15. Quinoa salad with diced cucumber and red bell pepper
  16. Salad inspiration
  17. Asian coleslaw with Radish MiniSticks

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Dinner:

  1. Farmer’s market stir fry (with veggies and/or seafood or local meat)
  2. Quiche with a whole-wheat crust (if using meat make sure it is local) and a side of veggies
  3. Pre-made store-bought dinner option: sushi with brown rice (no deep fried ingredients or sugar/HFCS)
  4. Whole-wheat pizza (pictured) with a salad or veggies on the side
  5. Whole-wheat macaroni and cheese with a side of veggies
  6. Grilled or sauteed fish with vegetable pancakes, and potato skins
  7. Breakfast for dinner…pick from one of the egg choices above
  8. Homemade chicken nuggets with a side of sweet potatoes and apples
  9. Vegetable and/or local meat (such as chicken, sausage or beef) kabobs over brown rice
  10. Fajitas, or slow cooker flank steak fajitas with homemade whole-wheat tortillas
  11. Homemade spaghetti sauce over store-bought whole-wheat pasta
  12. Collard greens, potatoes, and whole-wheat buttermilk cheese biscuits
  13. Veggie burgers and kale chips
  14. BLT with (or without) crabmeat and corn on the cob
  15. Homemade butternut squash ravioli with roasted asparagus
  16. Chicken enchiladas made with homemade whole-grain corn tortillas and steamed veggies on the side
  17. Jambalaya with brown rice
  18. The best whole chicken in a crock pot with zucchini chips (pictured) and wild rice
  19. Homemade sushi with brown rice
  20. Almond encrusted fish with an easy beurre blanc sauce and a side of asparagus and baked potatoes
  21. Whole-wheat spaghetti and meatballs with a side of roasted broccoli (sprinkled with whole-wheat bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning)
  22. Vegetable quesadillas on whole-wheat tortillas with a side of easy slow cooker refried beans
  23. Pork carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa (pictured) and a side of watermelon
  24. Green curry shrimp served over brown rice and topped with steamed sugar snap peas
  25. Whole-wheat pizza pockets with sauteed seasonal vegetables on the side
  26. Get some salad inspiration, like mixed greens, grilled chicken, sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, crumbled blue cheese, and thinly sliced red onion with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served with a whole wheat cheddar garlic drop biscuit on the side
  27. Chicken marsala pasta and fresh asparagus
  28. Brown rice risotto with almost any veggies or seafood or meat that’s on hand
  29. Grilled chicken breast with chimichurri spelt pasta and a side of sliced summer tomato.
  30. Enchilada casserole with a side of diced avocado and tomato salad, finished with lime and fresh cilantro
  31. Easy fried rice with fresh ginger and mixed chopped frozen veggies
  32. Roasted chicken with sweet potato casserole or chestnut and prosciutto bread stuffing, and sautéed green beans with sliced almonds
  33. Moroccan fish with mango and whole-wheat couscous
  34. Prosciutto-wrapped scallops over whole-grain polenta on a bed of arugula
  35. Coconut chicken satay served with peanut thai pasta
  36. Roasted summer vegetable pasta, made with fresh eggplant, zucchini, and Roma tomatoes, served with a side salad.
  37. Seafood (or turkey, or veggie) gumbo with a side of whole-grain cornbread
  38. Grilled local, organic beef hamburgers with a side of slow cooker baked beans and corn on the cob
  39. The best whole chicken in a crock pot with creamy whole-wheat mac and cheese and sautéed broccoli
  40. Grilled teriyaki pork tenderloin with brown rice and sautéed peppers and snap peas
  41. Whole-wheat fettucini alfredo topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and bell peppers
  42. Grilled meat and veggie Foil Packets, perfect for camping or grilling out
  43. Tomato pie with corn and a whole-wheat crust, served with broccoli or a hearty side salad
  44. Grilled organic grass-fed hotdogs on a whole wheat bun, served with Asian coleslaw and apple slices
  45. Simple spaghetti with a salad on the side
  46. Whole Oven Roasted Chicken with parmesan couscous and sautéed zucchini and baby squash
  47. Chicken and Cheese Tostadas with avocado and cilantro and a side of fresh summer watermelon

For a cookout, backyard BBQ, outdoor party, picnic, or camping trip check out this post: A “Real Food” Cookout.

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Basic Recipes:

  1. Whole-wheat tortillas
  2. Whole-grain corn tortillas
  3. Chicken stock in the crock pot
  4. Chicken stock on the stovetop
  5. Honey whole-wheat sandwich bread (for bread machine)
  6. Whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  7. Whole-wheat pasta (use the pasta portion of this ravioli recipe)
  8. Homemade berry sauce
  9. Easy cheesy whole-grain crackers
  10. Basic fruit smoothie
  11. Whole-wheat biscuits
  12. Strawberry honey jam
  13. Cream of mushroom soup
  14. Blue cheese salad dressing
  15. Simple mustard vinaigrette

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Dessert:

  1. Homemade popsicles, ice pops, snow cones and push-ups (pictured)
  2. Powerballs
  3. Maple pecan ice cream
  4. Chocolate torte with whipped cream and chocolate sauce
  5. Banana ice cream
  6. Homemade peach sorbet
  7. Whole-wheat crepes filled with fruit and topped with chocolate sauce
  8. Chocolate mousse
  9. Brownies
  10. Chocolate chip cookies
  11. Chocolate cake with easy whipped cream frosting
  12. Chocolate pecan pie
  13. Fruit crisp
  14. Whole-wheat holiday cookies
  15. Strawberry ice cream Sunday with a strawberry honey jam drizzle and walnuts
  16. Banana, date and vanilla smoothie
  17. Whole-wheat cookie cake
  18. Whole-grain mini donuts
  19. Cinnamon glazed popcorn
  20. Whole-wheat German oven pancake topped with homemade ice cream
  21. Yellow cupcakes with homemade frosting
  22. Watermelon cake
  23. Fudge pops
  24. Homemade fruit roll-ups

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Stocking a Real Food Kitchen

  1. My favorite kitchen essentials (including appliances and gadgets we own)
  2. 21 “Real food” essentials for freezer, pantry, & fridge
  3. Supermarket “real food” cheat sheet
  4. Where to buy real food
  5. Grocery shopping template (+ my routine)
  6. Our pantry
  7. Our refrigerator
  8. Our freezer

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Restaurant Options:

Eating out tip: Most restaurants do not offer 100% whole-wheat (a lot of “wheat breads” are made with both whole-wheat and white flours) so it is best to just avoid things like bread, breading/breadcrumbs, crusts, flour tortillas, etc. It is also recommended to ask questions when it comes to sauces because a surprising amount contain sugar. It can be difficult to avoid refined grains and sweeteners when eating out so we usually try to focus on finding restaurants that serve locally grown/raised products. For more tips including specific meals you could order at some chain restaurants check out this post.

  1. Fish or shellfish
  2. Potatoes, beans, or brown rice
  3. Vegetable side dishes or combination plates
  4. Egg dishes
  5. Sushi with brown rice

Read more on the specific restaurants where we like to eat in Charlotte.

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General Resources and Information

  1. Understanding Grains (corn, wheat, multi-grain, etc.)
  2. What (should be) in your sandwich bread?
  3. How far does your produce travel?
  4. Buying organic or not
  5. Sweeteners 101
  6. “You are what you eat eats too”
  7. Milk – good or bad?
  8. High-fructose corn syrup 101
  9. The deal with corn
  10. Are you being fooled by the imitation?
  11. Becoming a “flexitarian” (meat consumption)
  12. (Not) Cleaning your plate

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Posts Detailing our Personal Changes in Health

  1. Shocking Blood Test Results
  2. Budget Day 100: Victory!
  3. Day 56: A Brave Friend and Health Benefits Update
  4. Day 47: Health Benefits
  5. A change in diet could be your cure for constipation

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Notes
1. I found “approved” sandwich bread at a bakery chain called Great Harvest. Their honey whole-wheat loaf only has 5 ingredients. You could also make your own with our honey whole-wheat bread recipe.
2. For jelly use a whole “fruit spread” variety with no sugar.
3. Ak Mak crackers are 100% whole-grain.
4. There are some 100% whole-wheat sprouted grain pretzels called “Splits” by Unique brand.

325 thoughts on “Meal Ideas & Resources”

  1. I live in the Charlotte area and am wondering who you would recommend for locally raised, humanely treated, grain-fed beef?

    Thanks,
    Karen

  2. Hi, I was looking at the Meal Plan Subscription list you have and was wondering if you have ever taken a look at the Super Healthy Kids meal planning service? What do you think about the menus/recipes and how do they measure up to the “real food rules”. Would love to get your review! Thanks

  3. I have a 6 month old little boy who is just starting to try real foods. Most of what he eats follows all of the rules, but he just adores puffed rice cereal snacks. Do you know of a recipe for something similar that follows the guidelines?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there Reegan. You can find 100% whole grain puffed rice and wheat breakfast cereals at stores like Whole Foods/Earth Fare. :) The texture will not be quite as “melt in the mouth” as the over processed baby food versions, however. ~Amy

  4. I’ve been trying to get my hands on great-textured cornbread for ages and was just about ready to give up when I stumbled upon Marie’s Callender’s cornbread mixes in Fairway Market. I had never used that brand of products before but I thought, “Hey, one more try can’t hurt.” I tried it and I must say, the taste was exceptional and the texture was perfect! I could feel the cornbread muffins melting on my tongue. It was absolutely worth the wait. You guys should definitely check their website http://www.mccornbread.com and try their mixes.

  5. I signed up yesterday but only started to explore this morning. When i read this: Also, it is important to know when serving yourself “real food” you don’t need to eat as much as you would of the processed stuff! I knew that you know some truths about food.

    This may seem way off the wall but it proves your point. Years ago I complained to a friend that I loved my cat but hated the stink from the litter box. She said that the only reason why there was a stink was because I was not feeding my cat real cat food.

    I was sure she was wrong. How could Purina not be wonderful?

    She told me that most of the cat food in the grocery stores had things like grains and that cats don’t want to eat grains and cannot digest them. They are processed and passed where they sit and stink. I switched to non-grain. They eat a much smaller volume – to eat enough to get the amount of proper nutrients and no more big piles of stink.

  6. I am going clean eating!are body’s deserve to be treated with love good food is good for the the soul!

  7. I am so happy to have found your website. I have been fighting a losing battle with my two year old. He will eat raw veggies, bread, fruit, yogurt and that is about it. It is nice that he fills up on good stuff but new foods are met with “yuck”. He is not getting the variety that he needs and I have run out of clever recipes. He is hardly under nourished and I am not a “force feeder” so I am going to give some of your recipes a shot and hope that he finds at least one more thing he likes. Of note, my 18 yr old son lived on mac & cheese, french fries, chicken nuggets and pizza for more years than I like to admit but thankfully we have turned over a new leaf and I know better now. Much better…

  8. I am really impressed by this food ideas and resources. Due to this article I got such useful tips and ideas about meal. You have done such a nice job.

  9. I have a question. I have not purchased or used evaporated milk since I can’t remember when. now I have come across some old recipes that I am adapting to real food substitutes. I must confess, I don’t know what evaporated milk is other than canned milk. Is there a reasonable alternative? Can I just use yogurt or whole milk, perhaps cream or half & half instead?

      1. I do not recall the recipes, but there were several that I used back before limiting my cooking to “real” options. One I can remember was an ice cream recipe which calls for evaporated milk and heavy cream. I have many more, but decided to go with whole milk or cream, and have had success so far with that change. Thanks.

  10. I am trying to figure out the best way to stay REAL ( and preferably NON GMO) for my son’s bday cookout without breaking the bank. We are doing a bonfire and I m trying to plan it all out. There will be 50+ people here (including mainly teens) ANY ideas are appreciated.

  11. this is the most helpful simple food blog i have ever ever come across definately this is what i have been looking for to wow my hubby n guest.thank you so much.

  12. Sounds really good but I noticed a lot of wheat. What if you are sticking to a gf menu. Do you have any substitutes? Just wondering. Thanks

  13. There are so many benefits to eating clean! Thanks for the work you put in to sharing with so many people. There is so much helpful information here that I have been able to change my families eating
    habits with very little complaining from the kids. I must say that is a first!

  14. Holy cow! Lisa this page is amazing. It has links to every question I could have or information I could need. You hit the nail on the head! Thank you!!!!!

  15. I am thrilled to have found this site. I have been ill for a very long time and my goal for 2014 is all about health and me.

  16. I went gluten free a year ago and feel a lot better! I have found I can easily substitute something gf for glutinous foods and have found some great gf breads and crackers. I am liking the recipes I have read on this site and am excited to try many with a few modifications.

  17. If your gonna preach about “real food” then you should know that whole wheat is terrible for you it’s completely modified which means it is processed, GMO’s are not real food. If you want to eat healthy then eat locally farmed foods. If you want good bread then eat gluten free or none GMO wheat bread…. Certified organic wheat is fine, theres plenty alternatives for wheat.

    1. Likewise, if you’re going to make such statements you should know that GMO wheat is illegal to sell in the United States. The wheat bread she suggested purchasing was from Great Harvest Bread Company, who get all their wheat from Montana…which is in the United States, where it is illegal to grow GMO wheat. WHOLE wheat is good for you, but just like everything else, too much is bad.

  18. I am wondering if you have access to meal plans that will help with reducing BMI while not using fake sugars etc.? My kids are in the unhealthy range. I need help getting them to be full on things that aren’t processed.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kathleen. We do not have specific meal plans that are geared toward weight loss. Most people find that cutting processed/fast/junk foods out of their diet leads to a positive outcome with weight. Real foods are more satisfying and more nutritious. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake as well as increasing overall activity level will also be of benefit. ~Amy

  19. I love, love you all YET struggle so hard with all the vegetables. Fruits, yum and great. I have NEVER, I repeat NEVER liked vegetables. As a child in pre-school I use to not eat lunch the first three days of the week because the meal was carrots on Monday, green bean casserole on Tuesday and peas on Wednesday. They all made me gag and throw up. Eventually my mom took me out of the pre-school because I was basically stuck in a corner the rest of the day for not eating my veggies… hence extensive therapy sessions (kidding). Yet, to this day if I taste or catch a hint of lettuce, tomatoes, anything vegetable, I will start gagging and will throw up if I don’t have access quick to a drink to wash my mouth out.
    Basically… how can I find more substitutes for all the vegetables and where could I start on vegetables that don’t taste all “green”? Just any suggestions would be helpful. I love my Women’s Health magazine yet also for the same reason most the time, I just toss the ideas away because I know I won’t eat it. I also am a mother of 4 sons and I am trying… trying to avoid the same thing with them. They like broccoli and carrots so I do work the items in. Any advice and help would be great. Thanks.

  20. I was looking into nut-free options for my daughter’s lunches and snacks when I landed on your site. I, too, would like to provide more wholesome “real” foods for my family. I’m very impressed by the meal suggestions, but they seem heavily weighted toward wheat and grains.

    I’m wondering if you have any thoughts regarding research that indicates wheat, carbs, sugars (even fruit sugars) are problematic? Specifically, I’m referring to two books, “Wheat Belly” and the newly published “Grain Brain”?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. I am going to refer you to Jason’s reply to another reader regarding this issue. He says it better than I can. :)

      “For people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, it obviously makes sense to avoid wheat. For others trying to find the source of a health issue, temporarily avoiding wheat (and other foods) as part of an elimination diet makes sense. If reintroduction causes no problem, I see no reason to avoid it.

      The food industry has starting plastering “gluten free” on all kinds of food (many of which are junk), and a lot of people think they are making healthier choices when they may not be. While wheat has changed through selective breeding in past decades/centuries, but so have many other foods we eat. I tried to read the book Wheat Belly but just could not finish it. I felt like I was wasting my time (I am very busy…) since I felt like I was reading a diet book (and being sold to). I also felt it suffered from confirmation bias. We recommend consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, which automatically reduces the amount of grains (and meat) we consume, including wheat.

      We recommend eating a wide variety of foods (and colors), and this extends to grains. Personally we also eat brown rice, wild rice, oats, spelt, quinoa, etc. We have no health issues attributed to wheat (to our knowledge…we are pretty healthy really) and like it, so we eat it in it’s whole food form.
      Our site is about cutting out processed foods. There’s a spectrum of healthy eaters – on one end you have people just starting their journey, and on the other you have people sprouting their grains, making cheese, and fermenting. We follow the 80/20 rule in general and feel the average person can do the most good by avoiding the highly processed stuff. We try to help them do that. If people wish to take things further (including eliminating wheat if that makes sense FOR THEM), that’s fine. There’s no one diet that’s right for everyone. Hopefully those that choose to do so still find value in the website.” – Jason

      Hope that answers your question. ~Amy

  21. Boy, oh boy how I adore your site! You consistently inspire me to feed my children better foods. Even if I don’t do 3/4 of all that is contained on your site, I am thinking about better food choices and I always use 100 Days of Real Food as a reference for collecting ideas and how-to’s. You and your team ROCK!

    -FM, SC

  22. Hi Lisa! I just wanted to tell you that I am so inspired by your website. I’ve been wanting to make a full switch over to eating whole foods. I’ve been following you on facebook for quite some time, but just recently found the meal plans on your website. Wow! They are so easy and AFFORDABLE! I finally see that it IS possible for a family of four to eat healthy, organic and on budget! I can see the meal plans are a great place to start and slowly work my way into all the amazing recipes you have on here. Thank you so much for the inspiration and all of the incredible recipes!

  23. I love these meal plans but I have an intolerance to eggs. My grandmother had the same problem so I’m pretty sure I inherited it from her. Can you make an egg-free real food meal plan? Maybe you’ll have better luck than I have had trying to make a meal plan that doesn’t has little to no eggs. I’ve tried every trick in the book to “detox” and “heal my body” to eat eggs, but I have ALWAYS had this problem so I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it. Even my doctor says to avoid eggs, if I can. It is okay for the eggs to be mixed into something such as pastries, baked goods, etc. Because they’re not so concentrated in the mixtures.

    Thanks,
    ~ Jewels

  24. Kind of confused here. To me no processed food would mean no tacos (processsed ) nor mac n cheese (incredibly stodgy) …. But then again I’m Irish. A true non processed list would be invariably healthier!

  25. Hi Lisa,
    I just came across your website and it is a gold mine for me! I almost had the same awakening except it was when I watch the documentary ” the weigh of the nation”. The 4 movies are very educatives. A must watch.
    Me and my family have always been on the greener side, but now I really pay attention on what is in my plate. Coming from France, we don’t eat out as much. My mom used to cook from scratch every meal and I do the same. When I go shopping, I don’t have much in my caddy. Everything is to be made, not already processed.
    And I love it!
    I’m on a war against chemical too, it will be another chapter. :)

    Congrat on your website, you did a good job! I know that you inspire others.
    Marielle

  26. All the whole wheat in these meals is pretty shocking, considering that wheat, in and of itself, is not a “clean” food.

  27. Do you have a cookbook made with these recipes? I want to print a lot of them out but I figured buying a cookbook would be much quicker.

    Thanks!
    Karin

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kris. Lisa uses lemon to keep the apples from browning. Another reader suggested soaking them in pineapple juice.. ~Amy

  28. I’m surprised at the store bought whole wheat pretzels as an option… isn’t that processed food? Most likely to contain GMO as well.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kari. Lisa buys 100% whole wheat pretzels occasionally from Trader Joes for their convenience. Their private label items are not sourced from GMOs. We don’t strive for perfection and feel that a few carefully selected convenience staples are okay. :) ~Amy

  29. I cannot thank you enough for this awesome website!!! I’ve always been fairly “healthy” (don’t eat fast food, etc), but I am trying to move to more real food, esp bc my son has mild autism and it is important to me he have as little fake foods as possible. PLEASE keep your website practical, as we moms just don’t have a lot of extra time or money, and we want to make the changes that matter. Also, I’m learning to cook on my own, so keeping it simple helps me so much! Thx soooo much for the quick links, and your attention to taste and budget, and of course health!! Don’t go away or charge for your website, or I’ll cry! :)

  30. Hi. Had a question about meatloaf. I forgot about meatloaf in the oven, and guess what;it came out bone dry. Is there any way to salvage 3lbs of meat? Feel awful to just dump it. Any ideas are gladly appreciated.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Meta. Sorry about your loaf. We often can’t answer questions in real time. Did you come up with a solution? ~Amy

  31. What a wonderful resource! Thank you for putting together this website and especially this page! We are new to Real Foods but are jumping in 100%. My hubby and kids are on board with me and after a full week, we are all very happy, satisfied and feel great! The Hubby, just tonight, said he wants to try for a whole month (this is after he fussed last week about giving up his processed snacks!). My daughter reads labels with me in the grocery store and helps to decide what we will buy. I am still working on the youngest son who still wants his dark carbonated drinks but he is coming around slowly.
    I will be a frequent visitor to this page! Thank you!!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Stephanie. Regarding carbonated drinks, a little sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice goes a long way to satisfy former soda drinkers! :) ~Amy

  32. Well i am working in a software company but my dream is just i want to open one coffee restro and for kids ice corner and play room where they feel happy and enjoy there but when i’ll full fill this dream i don’t know but i have planned after 5-6 year for sure i’ll take any responsible work and open the restro.

  33. Maybe this is a silly question but would you ever use a bread made with more than 5 ingredients? I have a local bakery with many wonderful breads made from whole ingredients. It is usually because there are additional grains such as millet or cracked wheat or flavorings such as nuts, dried fruit, or spices.

  34. I have question? we drink a LOT of sweet tea with white sugar. what should we drink? i know this may be a stupid question but its the one thing i cant get us off of. how can i flavor water with out added sweeteners? Thanks so much

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Leslie. Having recently moved to North Carolina (I grew up in the Midwest.), I’ve really been stuck by people’s overwhelming love of sweet tea! :) It can be a tough one to let go of. But, it is so important to cut back on that sugar. My suggestion is iced tea with lemon sweetened with a bit of honey. Yum. Also, my family completely gave up all soda a few years back by drinking sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice. Sometimes it was pineapple, sometimes cranberry, and sometimes orange. It worked like a charm and is still a staple in our home. Hope that helps a little. ~Amy

      1. Thank you for the fast replay! these are good ideas what about that agave nectar could i use that? i am still learning on what is good to put in our bodys. :)

      2. Thank you Amy sorry for all the post i am just trying to find out what is right! thanks again so much for helping me out!!

  35. Isn’t Lisa working on a cookbook? If so, what’s the name & when can we start purchasing? Thanks so much for all of the great recipes!

  36. WHAT IF WE ARE ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN OR LACTOSE INTOLERANT? DO YOU HAVE ANY RECIPES THAT ARE GLUTEN AND/OR LACTOSE FREE?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Dawn. You will find these posts helpful: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/08/31/food-allergies-dairy/ and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/06/28/food-allergies/. You are also welcome to adapt any recipe to work for your needs. I often replace milk with almond milk or coconut milk as well as play around with various gluten free grains in recipes. Also, Deliciously Organic is full of gluten and grain free options: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/. Hope those help. ~Amy

  37. Thank you for being brave enough to do this, most people think I am crazy for wanting to eat this way and feed my family this way. *it doesn’t feel normal to NOT eat fast food anymore*
    This encourages me and affirms that I am doing the right thing. Thank you.

  38. I am in search of healthy party food ideas for a toddler’s birthday party that doesn’t involve buying pizza, please help! thank you!

    1. We serve hummus and veggies, raw cheese, and if an actual meal is required – chili is really easy to make from scratch, and most people like it – even the non healthy eaters. I also make a quinoa salad that everyone loves. (you can google a recipe with ingredients of quinoa, green onion, cranberries, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, walnuts) Anyway, when I was researching healthy recipes for cake – it finally occurred to me – WHO SAYS I HAVE TO HAVE CAKE??? So, now it is a tradition to make fancy watermelon sculptures and fill them with a variety of fruits. A HUGE hit with my kids!! If you don’t want to make a sculpture out of watermelon, you could make pictures out of fruit. Hope this helped!

  39. So, I may have missed it somewhere, but I’m trying to look on how to substitute cornstarch in a recipe. I read online about using all-purpose flour, etc. But I didn’t know if using whole wheat was different. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Aarica. I use the white whole wheat flour in place of cornstarch and have also used arrowroot powder. Both work well. ~Amy

  40. Fabulous website and philosophy! I think people who are worried about eating GMO’s may already be following some of your guidelines. My husband and I have been avoiding GMO’s for months now and we have found ourselves eating more and more whole foods and unprocessed foods. The blog I recently started (http://gmohater.blog.com/) gives advice and a guide of foods/brands that don’t contain GMO’s, and the Non GMO project has an even more extensive list (http://www.nongmoproject.org/). Most of the brands they have verified follow your guidelines of being natural, fresh, and often organic, and yes they even list whole wheat products! I hope this information can help some of the above commenters:)

  41. Hello – contgratulations on this much needed website.
    I have been doing my best to weed out food items from my cupboard that have sugar, glucose, dyes, hydrogenated veggie oil and other things I can’t pronounce.

    I noticed Peanut Butter in one your recipes – I examined the Healthy Solutions Peanture Butter from Pcorn resident’s Choice products (I live in Toronto, Canada) and it is is full of dydrogenation veggie oil, corn dextrose, trans-fats…..1 mg. sugar, so I was surprised to see this on your list.

    Challenges at my house are my husband – he loves pasta, cookies and cakes, so I try to bake healthy muffins or buy healthy granola bars. Do you know which is the healthiest granola type bar out there…..is is Kashi perhaps ?
    Anyway, keep up the great info and best of luck with everything cheers – adrianna solman

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Adrianna. Glad you like the blog. Regarding peanut butter, you should look for an organic version with nothing but peanuts and maybe salt on the ingredient list. If you need it sweetened a bit, a little honey goes a long way. As for granola/granola bars, the fewer items on the ingredient list the better. They are also really easy to make at home. Here are a couple recipes that might help: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/04/recipe-granola-bars-cereal/ and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/01/recipe-homemade-larabars-4-ways-including-nut-free/. :) Amy

  42. I am just beginning to eat clean and I’m going to start with your ideas.. I want to do this right though and I’m reading alot of bad about wheat, What can I replace the wheat with that is un-processed.

  43. I’m going to start the 10 day challenge this Friday, so I was looking over the meal plans to plan my grocery trip, and I noticed that some recipes included Mayo, which I was surprised at, since the store bought stuff is heavily processed and it has sugar. Is there a certain brand of mayo that you buy? I actually intended to make my own for the challenge, but if I can buy some, that would save me time.
    Thanks!

  44. Wow! Your blog is wonderful. I am converting to a healthier lifestyle and the information on this site is just what I need to get organized. Thank you.

  45. Hi, I was so excited when I saw a pin of your site on Pinterest. Just bummed when I saw all the wheat. I have completely removed all products containing GMO’s from my house and wheat is a big one. You should check it out on my Pinterest board. I have lots of info about GMO’S. but good work on getting together such a fab website. You really put in an awesome amount of effort.

  46. These recipes are great! I urge you to replace the wheat with another grain. Wheat is extremely processed-even whole wheat. It has been genetically altered to be mass produced, with no bother to test its effects on humans.

    1. Jackie, you might as well cut all food out of your diet. There is nothing grown or raised that has not been genetically modified. Oh, excuse me, you could let your lawn go to seed and harvest that for flour. Or maybe go find some cheat grass.

      1. There are plenty of food options that are non-GMO, believe it or not. Buy local, buy organic, don’t be so ignorant.

  47. I have added this to my favourites – what a great resource! Your hard work is appreciated. Thank you for sharing.

  48. I was so excited about your weekly meal plans only to be crestfallen when I realized it was all on Facebook. Is there any way to access your meal plans/shopping lists without Facebook? Our family does not use FB.

  49. Great recipes! Though it’s noteworthy for anybody looking to lose serious weight that’s it’s essential to also cut out refined foods, such as bread, tortillas, and free oils. These also count as processed foods. For optimal health and maximum weight loss, stick to complex carbs as the bulk of your diet, such as potatoes, brown rice, beans, etc. And leave the refined stuff for special occasions.

  50. Just happened upon your site as food is important. Just wanted to add that 100 years ago all food was real. Today not the case. Is very rewarding to see this push away from food that 100 years ago would not be classified as food, as there were no scientists employed to process anything. Today thousands are employed to refine the processing further. Is a shame as there is a direct correlation between this and the health of the people of the world.

    Thank you for your website.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Debra. There are many opinions out there on wheat. Our opinion is that unless you have a specific allergy, there is no reason to avoid a particular food group, including wheat. Hope that helps. Jill

  51. Love your blog. Thanks for putting in all the effort to help others get healthy. Yesterday I tried your Whole-Wheat Muffins. I found they were heavy and not light and airy. When I put the coconut oil in, it was liquid. Then I added the eggs and orange juice, which had come out of the fridge and the coconut oil turned solid. Should I have waited till the orange juice was at room temperature? Are these muffins naturally denser than what I’m used to. I would love to have a healthy muffin, but I threw these out. Help.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Nicole. I think it is fine, I would just make sure that the dried fruit does not contain added sugar. Jill

  52. I am very surprised that gluten-free recipes are not included. Gluten can cause lots of problems. I had really bad acid reflux and was taking blocker medicines daily for years. By eliminating gluten in my diet, it stopped that problem all together.

    Another negative to wheat bread is that it raises blood sugar levels quickly, which is not good for diabetics or anyone who is pre-diabetic. The darker the bread the better. Pumpernickel and Rye or multi-grain breads are a better alternaive.

  53. I wanted to know how you keep the kids apples, in the apple ‘sandwiches’ fresh (not turn brown) and where you go for the ‘push up pop’ makers?

    Thank you –

    1. I think Fruit Fresh is just citric acid powder (you’d have to make sure) and works real well keeping fruit from browning. They have other brands in the canning section of your grocer.

    2. Lemon juice (fresh or bottled) works perfect to prevent apples from browning. Just put a little in container with apple pieces and shake. I actually think they taste better with a little extra tartness…

    3. For those who are sensitive to citrid acid, vinegar can also do many of the same things as pure citric acid or lemon/lime juices.

  54. Hello,
    What about Eziekel bread? Your website is the best I have seen.. great job! I am new to clean eating and it can be confusing.
    Thanks
    Nicole

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Nicole. Glad you are enjoying the blog – thank you for reading. Yes, ezekial break is a great choice. Jill

  55. I’ve been reading a lot about the genetic altering of wheat. Several doctors stating that the wheat today is very bad for our health and recommendations to eliminate wheat from our diets. What is your opinion.

    thanks

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi D. Taylor. Yes, I’ve heard this same thing. Our opinion is that, unless you have a specific medical reason to avoid wheat, it is not necessary to do so. It is a personal decision for all, however, and up to each individual. Jill

  56. Hello – I love your website! My husband and I are gearing up to start a family in about another 1.5 years, and I desperately want our kids to grow up without processed foods and refined sugar. I am getting tons of real food inspiration from you! Question – do you make your own applesauce? Thanks!

  57. I hope I haven’t overlooked this. I am new to all of it but, do you buy all your food at Traders Joe’s and local producers?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jessica. I buy some at Trader Joes, but, the bulk at Earth Fare/Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets. Jill

  58. I love your site! Your recipes are all delicious, my kids love them and so do I. So often I buy a whole pile of stuff to make something healthy and it turns out awful! Your recipes use mostly ‘normal’ ingredients and turn out great! Love the granola, mac & cheese and banana pancakes! Are you going to write a book at all? I would love to get the recipes and information in a book! If you do I would buy it for sure!

    1. I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying the site and the recipes. And I am actually working with Harper Collins on putting together a book, but they’ve requested mostly new recipes (although it will include a handful of the blog favorites). It won’t be out till early 2014 though…things take a while in the publishing world! Thanks so much for your support. :)

    1. I take Greens from IT WORKS! every morning… you just add it to water it contains 8 servings of fruits and veggies but this will help you detox! Kind of the same idea of using live juice but less time consuming. It’s free to sign up as a loyal customer and you get them mailed right to your door every month for just $28 can’t beat that!

      1. I take Greens every day also. I feel fantastic afterwards! It did take a week or two for me to feel a difference, but it was worth the wait.

  59. Do you have any pot luck recipes you would recommend? My family is attending a community work day at my daughter’s new private school. The school is very health conscious and earth friendly and I’d love to make a good first impression! Thank you!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Melissa. I don’t really have anything that comes right to mind. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Jill

  60. Trader Joes has good minimally processed bread. Exactly the same ingredients I would use to make bread at home. I love the whole wheat sourdough. It’s the same cost as regular grocery store bread, minus all the crap. I don’t understand, if they can make bread that delicious, at the same price, why even make the processed stuff?!?

  61. Hi, great site. Forwarded to me through FB by a friend.

    My question is this:

    I generally have already been following the guidelines listed for quite some time. : ) I *do* eat sweetened greek yogurt, and sometimes (but more and more infrequently) succumb to white rice and white bread. Most nights I cook from scratch; occasionally in a time crunch I have used bottled spaghetti sauce. Husband will eat whatever I serve, so I could take the plunge 100% if it were just the two of us.

    My 7 year old son however. He is a “supertaster” — meaning he is very sensitive to tastes and textures. From Day 1 we have had great difficulty with his VERY narrow food repertoire. I am a behavioral psychologist, and so I understand the principles of reinforcement for desired behavior. Not so with trying to introduce foods to him. He just…won’t…eat if he does not care for the taste/mouth feel of whatever I am trying to serve. His weight is precariously low for his age/height as it is. And I admit, I eventually just want to get somewhat nutritious calories into his skinny body. We are fortunate that he will, under some pressure, eat salmon. As far as protein, that is, I think, the only “whole” food he will eat. When I am adamant, I can force him to eat broiled or baked chicken, but it takes +60 minutes, tears, and everyone is very upset.Oh, he does drink milk. And “all natural” peanut butter (the kind you stir). Eggs – no. Yogurt – heavily sugared and dyed. frozen, packaged meatballs are the only red meat he will eat. He seems to like clams? and oysters? but, of course, likes them mainly for the breading and frying! Chicken tenders are a HORRIFYING favorite of his…..

    Do you have any thoughts about this?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Shawn. I would just say pick the few healthy things he does enjoy and stick with those. Then, try and slowly add in some new items once you’ve removed most of the processed food from his diet (his taste buds will change so he may be more receptive at that point). As for the nuggets, maybe try making them yourself and see if he enjoys those. Here’s a recipe…https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/10/14/recipe-homemade-chicken-nuggets/. Best of luck. Jill

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