Real Food Tips: 21 Essentials for Freezer, Pantry & Fridge

The timing for this post is perfect because my freezer has never been so beautifully stocked in my life. I’ve actually been wanting to share that my husband and I are lucky enough to be going on the trip of a lifetime tomorrow.

While our children stay home with the grandparents, we will spend the next 15 days exploring Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and China. I absolutely love to travel and desperately want to see as much of the world as possible, so this trip is honestly a dream come true for us!

Our fully-stocked freezer

So what does this have to do with my freezer one might ask? Since we have two different sets of grandparents who are generous enough to fly here and baby-sit, I decided to take it upon myself to hook them up.

Not only is my wine rack fuller than it’s ever been, but my freezer is stocked to the max with homemade soups, breads, tortillas, breakfast items, muffins, etc. I also bought and froze lots of locally and humanely raised meats like whole chickens, flank steaks, ground meat, bacon, and pork tenderloin. I even found some fresh North Carolina seafood that I threw in the freezer, too.

The idea is that they won’t have to worry about buying any food other than fresh fruit and veggies while we are gone. Oh, and this will also guarantee that my children will mainly be eating “real food” approved items in our absence…c’mon you know that has something to do with all this, too. :)

So without further ado, here are 21 “real food” freezer, pantry, and fridge essentials including pictures from my own kitchen (click images and then click again to zoom in)!


7 “Real Food” Freezer Essentials

I hope to keep it stocked so nicely for us to enjoy when we return! I also made a “freezer inventory list,” which would be nice to have on hand if we could keep up with it as well.

  1. Frozen organic berries for making smoothies or berry sauce
  2. Whole-grain flours like whole-wheat & masa harina and whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  3. Pre-made stored dishes like soups, sauces, stocks, raviolis, smoothie pops and other leftovers
  4. Pre-made baked goods like pancakes, waffles and muffins
  5. Extra whole-grain breads and tortillas for when you can’t make it to the bakery or don’t feel like making a fresh batch
  6. Locally & humanely raised meats and seafood that you stock up on when you find a good source and have the chance to buy it
  7. Frozen organic vegetables like peas and corn (frozen are more nutritious than canned)

Our pantry

7 “Real Food” Pantry Essentials

  1. Nuts (like raw cashews, almonds, & pecans) and seeds (like raw pumpkin & sunflower). The pantry works for short-term storage, but if you don’t go through these items fairly quickly then store them in the freezer.
  2. Dried fruit like raisins, dried apricots, and dried apple rings. Also 1-ingredient organic applesauce is great to have on hand when you are out of fresh fruit.
  3. Baking ingredients like honey, vanilla extract, spices, oils, salt, and baking powder/soda.
  4. Whole-grain products like whole-grain sandwich bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, whole-wheat pretzels/crackers, etc.
  5. Whole grain cereals like raw oats (for oatmeal), homemade granola, shredded wheat, and whole-grain corn puffs.
  6. Fresh fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated like bananas, peaches, apples, pears, tomatoes, etc. We actually keep these items in a big fruit bowl on the kitchen table.
  7. Staples like potatoes, onions, garlic, dried/canned beans, and canned tomato products.

7 “Real Food” Fridge Essentials

Our fridge
  1. Dairy products like milk, cheese, cream cheese and plain yogurt
  2. Eggs
  3. Perishable fruits & vegetables
  4. 1-ingredient peanut butter & “all-fruit” type jelly
  5. Cooking fats like unsalted organic butter, clarified butter (ghee), and lard
  6. Snacks like olives and pickles
  7. Spread and sauces like hummus, tzatiki, soy sauce, maple syrup, mustard, and homemade salad dressings

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184 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 21 Essentials for Freezer, Pantry & Fridge”

  1. My ex-inlaws would cook anything from my freezer. My kids would get McDonalds at least one if not two of the meals. I’m jealous at how lucky you are.

  2. One idea for freezing single servings is to buy ramekins at your local restaurant supply store and fill them with soups, baked pasta, etc. and then freeze. Make one big batch and lunch is ready for the week.

      1. That’s interesting to know. I actually made a trip out there last saturday and was kinda overwhelmed trying to figure things out. I think I ended up getting some pork and fig leaf tea from middle ground. Is there a specific vendor she recommends for getting meat from?

  3. Thanks a million for this great sites. I just stumbled on it and I have been glued to it since them. I really appreciate your good works,motivation and encouragement to make all us get back to real food and at a budget. I am trying the meals and will surely get back to let you know how I am doing.

  4. Do you ever make your own hummus? I saw hummus on your list, but wasn’t sure if you are making it from scratch. I was surprised at how easy and inexpensive it was! Just made some today.

  5. How about frozen vegetables. Are they good to use? Thanks, new to your website and don’t know if question was answered already.

      1. are the frozen veggies at a regular store ok? do they have to say organic or is any brand ok? like birds eye, stuff you would buy at Wal-Mart.
        can frozen veggies be considered processed? what about pesticides and such?

      2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        If you are trying to avoid pesticides, you would want to look for organic labels. The only ingredient should be the frozen veggies. :)

  6. Hi, I am referring to the picture of your freezer :) It looks as it is not as high as regular freestanding freezer, but more of an under the counter height … is it? I am looking for freezer that can be incorporated under the counter same as dishwasher etc so If yours is like that, would you mind sharing the brand? thx so much!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Liz. Soups, chicken broth, and various leftovers. You can freeze just about anything that is liquid or soupy in consistency in mason jars. ~Amy

  7. Any ideas for where to buy whole wheat pretzels. Trader Joes stopped carrying them and Whole Foods doesn’t carry any which shocked me!
    Thanks

  8. Would you mind sharing what whole wheat pretzels you buy? I haven’t found any that don’t have other questionable ingredients. I buy whole foods brand organic pretzels but I’d like a better option if you can share.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sara. Crofters is a widely available brand of all fruit spread that I usually get at Whole Foods. Regarding peanut butter, look for an organic variety that has only peanuts (and maybe salt) as the ingredients. Most conventional grocery stores carry at least one and you can find several, usually, at stores like Earth Fare, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods. ~Amy

  9. I would like to know what type of storage container you use for your homemade bread? I have not been able to find one that accommodates a loaf of homemade bread.

    Thanks.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Cheramie. I have a linen bread bag that I bought on ETSY. You can also find reusable bread bags on amazon as well as several different versions of bread boxes that work well for homemade variously shaped loaves. :) ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Tee. Do you mean on the pantry? Those aren’t hung over the door. Those are drilled in. You can find them at Loews or similar stores. ~Amy

  10. To Lisa D: The best all-fruit spread I have ever eaten is FiordiFrutta from Italy. It is expensive, but made only of organic fruit, organic apple juice, and pectin. I buy it at a specialty food store for about $6, but I’ve seen it online for $4.89. It is quite yummy and worth the price.

  11. When freezing soups in glass mason jars, what is the process? I seem to hear a lot about the jars potentially breaking. Do you just let the soup completely cool and leave some room for expansion? Is it that simple? Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Marlana. It really is that simple. Lisa freezes a lot of individual portions in small jelly jars. I’ve broken a couple larger jars but only because they fell over, I didn’t correct them and then threw something heavy in on top. Just be aware of how you have your freezer packed. :) I was careless. I love freezing in jars!

  12. Can you comment when working on meal planning and fighting high sugar numbers-pre diabetic male, age 55 who eats no fruit and only lettuce and corn in the veg category. I understand avoiding carbs but with his restrictions, what can he eat?! Help

  13. I am getting lost on this website and love it!! It’s my new years resolution for 2014 to make the switch.

    I am curious about one thing. Brown rice. A diet enthusiast told me recently that brown rice is one of the major cancer causing foods. Have you heard this or can you comment?

    Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Bonnie. Sadly, there are worrisome levels of arsenic, a major carcinogen, in brown rice especially that grown in the southern US where arsenic was sprayed liberally on cotton fields. :( Rice grown in California, and imported rice such as jasmine and basmati are safer choices. And, contrary to what we know about it nutritionally, white rice is a safer choice because it is stripped of its outer layers which would retain greater amounts of arsenic. It is a dilemma in my household as we eat mostly vegetarian and have depended on it heavily. Though we still consume it, mainly brown basmati and jasmine, we’ve been doing a lot of quinoa instead. Sorry to confirm. ~Amy

  14. Thanks for the ideas! I am looking forward to doing a clean out of my pantry, fridge and freezer on the weekend and replacing things with real food :) Very inspiring!!

  15. Hello! I love all the information you are sharing, the recipes sound devine, and I would love to feed my family organic, whole grain, and humanely processed meats, but we live a very small town with limited resources for these types of foods. We have a locally owned grocery store and a small/limited inventory Wal-Mart store. Finding these items to use in these recipes would be near impossible. What realistic suggestions do you have for a family that doesn’t have the luxury of a big city with whole food stores or a large grocery budget to cover the expense of buying natural and organic?

  16. Hello there! Do you ever buy fresh berries, and then freeze them? If so can you give me some basic pointers? flash freeze? etc? Thanks!

  17. I use glass milk bottles that I have run through the dishwasher to sterilize ad allow to dry thoroughly. They hold a lot, avoid the use of plastics, and are relatively cheap at just a $2.50 deposit. Also use mason jars and other re-used glass jars for smaller quantities. NEVER throw out a glass jar!!

    1. Genious! I never thought to do this and buy milk in glass jars! I am going to do this for dry beans/grains this week. And it looks nice on the counter, thanks for the tip!

  18. Great website!!! Thanks for sharing. Could you share what type of storage containers you use to freeze your meats, soups, breads, fruit, etc? Also…what storage containers do you use for storing your pantry items? My family and I are starting to eat fresh foods and I know making meals and buying fresh food and storing it will help. Thanks!,

  19. I’m trying to get my family to eat healthier but so many dinner and even most lunch recipes call for some kind of meat. We are NOT vegetarians but organic meat is not something we can buy all that often. I’m looking for recipes that don’t call for meat or that you can use a substitute, whether it’s beans or what have you. Seems like this should be simple but we usually have some kind of meat at lunch and dinner and it’s usually store bought. I’m not sure how to change the way we eat. I should mention there are 8 of us in our family.

    Thanks :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      HI Jacquie. Have you combed through our recipe index: dev.100daysofrealfood.com/real-food-resources/recipe-index/? The Leakes reduced their intake of meat, as well, so there are a many recipes that are meatless. For others, it is just as simple as leaving out the meat…like in spaghetti and meatballs. Also, it is not as difficult as most people think to get adequate protein in our diets: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/09/19/why-are-americans-so-concerned-about-protein/. Adding various beans, lentils, nuts and seeds will go a long way to add flavor and protein to dishes. Grains, such as quinoa, are highly nutritious and are a complete protein in and of themselves. It may take some experimentation but you will find the alternatives that work best for your family. This post might also help: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/05/19/becoming-a-%E2%80%9Cflexitarian%E2%80%9D/. Best of luck! ~Amy

  20. Hello,

    I just discovered this site today, and love it! My husband has a lot of dieting ideas that come from the 1990s, like all fat is bad, etc. I am trying to convince him that just eating non-processed foods is the way to go. We’ve been trying to eat whole grains mostly. Whole grain bread is fine, but I really don’t like brown rice. I had parboiled rice the other day, and was wondering what your thoughts on that were?

    Thanks so much!
    -Melinda

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Melinda. We’ve not tried parboiling. A nice and highly nutritious alternative to rice is quinoa. ~Amy

  21. Wow I guess I should have really reviewed what I typed . Sorry for all the mistakes. Hope my comment makes sense.

  22. A friend of mie has inspired metro look into the ‘real food’ concept and I was lucky enough to stumble onto your Westie. This is a great resource for us newbies. I have read ‘the start here’ page. My question is should I start with cleaning out my pantry, freezer, and frig first or grocery shop or plan my mels. I guess I am on information overload so not sure what my tre next step is fom here.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Regan. You have to choose a methodology that works best for you. That said, if you’ve covered the “start here” page, then what worked for me was beginning some meal planning. Once I did that, I could decide what to keep or get rid of in the short term in my pantry making room for what I would add for my meal preparation. You can do the same with your fridge. Instead of just tossing things out which seems wasteful even if it doesn’t represent stellar nutrition, you might consider a food pantry donation. Best of luck and welcome!! ~Amy

  23. Like one of the previous posters, I’m newly married and on a semi-tight budget…I also have Celiac disease and can’t digest anything with wheat, barley, rye, or oats (which eliminates many processed foods right off the bat, but not all of them). On top of that my husband is an athlete who eats A LOT… he’ll typically eat what I consider a full meal every two hours or so.

    I’ve noticed a number of your meal plans include whole wheat/whole grains. Do you have suggestions for someone who is severely allergic to these things?

    Thanks!!

  24. I’m very interested in starting this “real food” plan. I’m newly wedded and on a very tight budget…so in terms, I have fallen victim to processed foods because of their affordability and easy preparation. I know changing our food habits is going to be a process…something I’m going to have to gradually introduce to my kitchen since we are so tight with money right now. Anyways..does anyone have any local grocery stores they recommend? I know Giant has an all organic food aisle or two, and also theres Trader Joes, anyd more recommendations besides farmer markets?

    Also, I have found myself victim to processed foods because of the easy meal prep it comes with… Both my husband and I work full time and find ourselves exhausted at the end of a work day. I understand those microwavable frozen “steamer dinners” are filled with preservatives and are not considered by any means “real food”…is there anything that comes close, however? I hope that was not confusing…basically I’m asking, are there any “frozen meal options” out there that are considerably good for you?

    Any advice out there for a beginner?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Mallory. Welcome! Getting started is half the battle. Start with this page which will then direct you where to go for answers to most your questions: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/start-here/. Regarding frozen meal options, sadly, most contain lots of additives, preservatives, salt, and ingredients that are dubious. It would be difficult to find any that meet the real food criteria. Good luck. You so can do this! ~Amy

  25. LOVE this blog! It’s totally helping me get my family on the path to eating way less processed foods :). I also love when you post the products you use such as the lunchbox containers, the smoothie pop silicone things and the napkins. I’m wondering if you use any special containers/bags for freezing? I’d love to find something besides my few glass 9×9 casserole dishes that I can freeze pre made meals in and then put them directly into my oven. Any ideas would be great!

  26. Could you recommend a brand of “all fruit” jelly that you mentioned? I have seen some, but they aren’t organic. Or then on the flip side….I have seen organic, but they include organic sugar as the first ingredient so I am thinking not the best option. Sorry if this is a silly question……totally new to ALL OF THIS and just trying to make better choices for my family. Thanks for all your help sorting out the all the confusion in the world about food!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jen. I use the St. Dalfour’s jelly and it is sweetened with fruit juice as opposed to sugar. Jill

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Anne. It would depend on the ingredients as you suggest. If it is simply just soybeans, I would make sure it’s organic so that you know it does not contain GMO’s. Jill

  27. 4 giant and complex countries in 15 days?!? (Though I guess Singapore is tiny.) You are racing! In the future, you might find it more rewarding to just see 1 country but actually see multiple parts of it and really experience it with some depth.

    I also hope that you consider the environment when you travel. High-end travel is an environmental disaster in terms of water and other resources consumed (by the grounds and the humans), the food flown in, etc, etc, etc. It’s also a horrible message to send to spend more on 1 night in a hotel than locals live on for an entire year.

    And please consider not using animals as a form of entertainment on travel. They weren’t meant to be ridden on, used in shows, etc. For you to ride on an animal, it has often been taken from the wild and then been through a torturous “taming” process in the countries you are visiting.

    1. Wow Margot you sure seemed to glean a lot of information about our trip from one short paragraph! In the past we have explored countries in more depth, and will be doing so again this summer. But in the case of our trip to Asia, I was delighted to have at least briefly experienced the various countries. Now I know which to revisit and explore in more depth.

      In terms of our lodging, in Singapore we slept on cots in a relative’s apartment (6 people total) so that was free. But elsewhere I think the locals would rather us send “a horrible message” by contributing to their local economy than not. Just a hunch :)

  28. Ashley — as far as it being more expensive — it doesn’t have to be. We are on a tight budget (family of 4) and we spend about 120.00/wk on groceries (buying over 90% organic). I just keep things simple.
    Lunches are usually leftovers from dinners and breakfasts, snacks are usually fruits and veggies. We buy very little meat as that can really drive the cost up (it’s white meat/fish). Minimal dairy as well (yogurt and cheese are more nutritionally dense than milk, and too much dairy — more than 2 servings a day– isn’t a good idea http://www.care2.com/causes/does-dairy-cause-breast-cancer.html This also holds true for risk of prostate cancer btw). And I bake and freeze things like banana bread, zucchuni muffins, pumpkin scones, dinner leftovers, soups, pineapple carrot muffins, rolls, “pop tarts”, pancakes, etc to pull out as need for breakfasts and lunch boxes.
    I think meats, dairy, and snacks like chips and crackers really drive up the cost of most grocery bills.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Amy. Ghee is clarified butter. Essentially, more of the milk solids are removed from the butter than what is initially removed during the butter making process. Jill

  29. Just wondering… Do you use special canning jars for freezing your soups/sauces? P.S. You’re amazing with your commitment to this! I’m towards the beginning of my journey…

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Vin. I usually just freeze my soups and sauces in regular containers, either glass of BPA free ones. I haven’t had any problems doing it that way. Best of luck to you. Jill

  30. I’d love to get this in a printable list that I can put in my binder for when I’m planning my trips to the grocery stores… I’ve started exercise & dietary changes in an effort to regain my health & lose weight. I need all the help I can get!

  31. I live in the Charlotte area as well and I’m curious where you get your local meats, milk, and fruits/veggies? Also, have you ever purchased a cow? Curious about your experience.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jenn. Our milk is from Lakeview Farms. They offer a home delivery service (http://www.lakeviewfarmshomedelivery.com/), but, they also sell their milk in Earthfare and Whole Foods. Local meats, fruits and veggies are mostly purchased at Farmer’s Markets. There are quite a few in the Charlotte area…check out this article that lists a few…http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/guide/a-guide-to-charlotte-area-farmers-markets/. You can also find local sources for meat here…http://www.eatwild.com/. Hope this helps…good luck. Jill

  32. We just made the switch to eating healthier, but I’ve noticed it is SO expensive!!b I’ve had to almost double my grocery budget, which I’m not sure how sustainable that will be long term. Any tips on how to save and eat healthy? Thanks!!

    1. Yay, Ashley! It doesn’t have to be really expensive! Read the “100 days on a budget” challenge they did a couple of years ago. You can find the link near the top of the page.
      My top 3 tips:
      1) Cook beans from scratch and work them into your menu every week.
      2) Makea weekly meal plan so you only buy what you need in the store
      3)Do as much from scratch cooking as you can (chicken stock, bread, jam, applesauce)

  33. I wanna know exactly how you store all your freezer items? I feel like when I put stuff in the freezer it doesn’t last very long…

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Janis. I have a standalone freezer to store most things that I plan to keep for a while. I think this helps because it is not being opened several times/day. I store my stuff in either airtight containers or sealed baggies. I also make sure anything that is warm is completely cooled before I seal it and freeze it. Best of luck. Jill

  34. What exactly do you make with masa harina. My husband is Mexican and they use it to make tamales at Christmas time. I honestly didn’t know is could be used to make anything else. Thanks for all your great tips!

  35. Bob’s Red Mill sells non-GMO masa harina (dry). Ours had to be ordered through Azure Standards because i haven’t even found it at Whol!e Foods or Sprouts here! You could order directly from BRM too, of course.

  36. I absolutely LOVE your site, thank you for all of your very informative posts!!! I’ve gained great wisdom from your posts and recipes. Keep up the great work, you are very appreciated. PS Enjoy your trip.

  37. Hi Lisa,
    I also live in the Charlotte area and was wondering where you get your meat from. I have been wanting to buy local meat for so long now and could really use a recommendation! Thanks! I recently found your website and love it like crazy! I hope to use it for the whole family, especially my 3 impossible to please kids!
    Kristin

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Kristin. Grateful Growers is one I know Lisa uses. They sell at the Matthew’s Farmer’s Market as well as I believe at Hillbilly Produce. They have a website if you want to check it out. http://www.ggfarm.com/. I also get some items from Lakeview Farms who does the milk delivery. They have some local beef selections. Whole Foods is now also carrying some Baucom’s Best I saw a few weeks ago and they have other local selections as well that they clearly label as local. Jill

  38. Hi!
    I never keep my whole wheat flour in the freezer! This was news to me! Thanks for the tip. What type of container do you use to store yours in?? I make all my bread, tortillas, baking, snacks…ect. from scratch and usually buy the big 20lb sacs and dump it into a big metal container in my pantry. I am not sure that much would fit in my freezer. How long is it good for at room temp?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi NurseLisa. I actually just buy the 5 lb bag so I store it in that in a ziploc. But, perhaps you could divide it into several smaller containers and store it that way. Jill

  39. Uh oh. I’ve got an open bag of masa harina in the pantry. Does that really need to be refrigerated? Ick…It’s been a couple of months, I think. Wonder if it’s gone bad?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Christine. Yes, it can go rancid. You might want to smell it to see if it’s still good. Jill

  40. How long can you keep the homemade dressings before they should be thrown out? I hope you have a fabulous and restful vacation!

  41. Hannah-

    I would suggest trying hemp and flax. We have been moving to a glute-free diet and raw dairy (minimal) to see if it helps my hubby’s tummy (shhhhh ;)) feel any better. I have been buying shelled hemp seeds and organic flax that I grind with my Magic Bullet. I use the mixture for pancakes, muffins, and even breading on fish and chicken when we are in the “fried” mood (we actually bake with the hemp/glax breading). You can also sprinkle some on salad and in yogurt. The hemp is very mild, more similar to grains as compared to coconut and almond. I found a big bag at costco…
    Good luck!

  42. I have recently been thinking about how I need to stock up on pantry items, thanks for the great list!

    Another pantry essential for my family is homemade popsicles made with fresh squeezed juice… my kids LOVE them!

  43. Hi! I was wondering if you pull your flour out of the freezer early before you make bread to let it warm up, so it doesn’t bring the temperature of the yeast/water down from the temperature the recipe calls for. I normally keep mine in the freezer, but I have been making bread so much lately, it has sat on my counter for the last couple of days. So, I was just wandering!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Melissa. I usually pull it out as the first thing I do before gathering the other ingredients which gives it some time to come to room temperature. Jill

  44. I bought whole wheat flour at an amish store while out of town. I opened it the other day to use, does this need to be kept in the refrigerator? If so, how long can it stay in there for?!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Christina. I store all of my flour in the refrigerator. I would say it can probably last 3-6 months, but, that’s a guess since I usually get through mine before that. Jill

  45. I made zucinni pancakes lastnight and couldn’t make them all so I saved the batter for later. Is it safe in the fridge or shouldI freeze it?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jamie. I think as long as you use it within say the next 2 days or so it should be fine. Jill

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jenn. Crofter’s makes an all fruit jelly. There is also another one at Earthfare, I just can’t recall the name at the moment. Jill

  46. Hi Lisa! What a great list! I’ve talked my husband into taking the 100 days of mini real food challenges and I am very excited about starting! I was wondering what containers you use in your pantry to store your grains and cereals? Also, besides the canning jars, what other containers do you use to freeze nuts and meals? Thanks for all the work you do to help us all eat better food!

  47. Hi, just saw you on pinterest. I will be a regular follower, GREAT information on here! Just one thing though, I think I see Horizon cheese in your fridge. They have often gotten in trouble for claiming to be organic but they have a lot of nasty processes like factory farms to make their products. It’s so hard to trust anyone today who claims to be organic! I have been working hard to start buying from farmers i meet personally, sometimes it can be cheaper too if you buy from them all the time!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Our freezer is 14.7 cubic feet…and I haven’t yet, but hope to write a post that focuses on make ahead meals at some point because I agree it’s an important topic!

  48. According to the 5 ingredient rule, I found that Dannon all natural yogurt (plain) has only one, cultured grade A milk!

  49. I agree, corn is NOT a vegetable, neither are white potatoes, both are starches. Also dairy and eggs should be stored in the main part of your fridge, according to Martha Stewart, as the door doesn’t stay cold enough. That being said, I’m jealous of all the extra space in your fridge, mine is usually overflowing with real food :)

  50. Hi,
    I’m a latecomer to your blog. I love(!) this post but I couldn’t help but cringe when you called corn a vegetable, as you mentioned with the whole-grain cereal portion.

    I feel that it’s also worth mentioning that corn and soy products (and items containing either ingredient) should always be purchased organic as this is the only way to ensure you’re not eating Monsanto’s “Round-up Ready” GMOs.

    Thanks for your blogging. Looking forward to reading more!

  51. I have Celiac Disease and cannot have anything with gluten (ie wheat, barely, rye, or spelt) in it. I have been moving more towards whole food and healthier eating but I can’t seem to figure out how to get around using starches or finding good whole grain gluten free bread. Is there anything you suggest?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Check out Deliciously Organic and Elana’s Pantry (both blogs) b/c they have lots of gluten-free info/recipes!

  52. Lisa, I’ve heard that it is NOT suggested to freeze or put in the fridge whole wheat bread ( or any type of bread) as it will change the taste or consistency? what is your suggestion? Thanks for all you do!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Great Harvest Bakery (where I shop regularly) told me I can freeze the bread, but not to refrigerate it b/c like you said…it compromises the texture. I freeze their bread all the time and then defrost it (and keep it) at room temp. It comes out great! (And you are welcome! :) )

  53. Do you have any tips for buying pure maple syrup? I guess what I want to know is whether there is a way to buy it in larger quantities to keep costs down. It’s soooo expensive. :)

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I am not the best bargain hunter, but people have told me that you can get good deals on staples like this if you order it online. I buy mine from Earth Fare b/c it is convenient :)

  54. Hi Lisa, I’m so jealous over your freezer! I’m on a campaign to convince my hsband that we NEED one. It looks like we have the same refrigerator that you do so you know how small the freezer compartment is!! I have a questionon a completely different subject. We are getting a puppy soon. I was wondering if you have pets and if so what do you feed them? I want to make sure I feed our new family member with as much care as I do the rest of us.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      We have two dogs and after I did some research, we switched to Diamond brand dog food. I tried Natural Balance (I had a couple of sample packs) and one of my dogs refused to eat it. We shop at Pet Club (it may be a southwest thing – we live in Arizona and they are all over the place) and they have many different options. We found that Diamond brand had the best bang for your buck (feeding two dogs gets expensive!). The first and foremost thing to look for is that meat is the first ingredient and not corn or some other filler (they will probably make an appearance later in the ingredient list, but you don’t want it to be in the first few ingredients). Good luck and I hope you enjoy your new puppy, they are such a blessing! :)

      Best,
      Janne

    2. Our dog is what started the shift to real food for us. After reading about pet nutrition and seeing Lew Olson and also Dr. Karen Becker (Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats- on how to start feeding your dog a healthy wholesome species appropriate diet) I was convinced that there is not a single dog food in a bag that is worth feeding a dog. It is all so very processed and made of very poor quality ingredients. I love the change it made in the health of our dog and it made me pose the question, if I want my dog eating the best, why am I not doing it! We are slowing moving to real food and I have found it is way harder for us humans to let go sometimes! Good luck!

    3. After tons of research we used to feed our dogs a raw diet which is biologically appropriate for canines but after moving to Germany this was no longer an option financially. We researched and tried a few grain-free foods and decided on Acana kibble. It’s wonderful to be able to read and understand every word on your dogs food label!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      When I busy frozen veggies/fruit I usually have no problem finding 1-ingredient products so I would keep looking.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      No, I don’t. I feel like my brain is already worried about a lot of things when it comes to food so I suppose I let some things (that we use infrequently) go!

  55. I make my own Ghee instead of using butter since my daughter is dairy intolerance used organic unsalted butter…you can see videos on how to make it on you tube!

    1. Hello, Patricia, my boyfriend tries not to eat any dairy as he is lactose intolerant. Does your daughter have the same problem? I have to modify everything I make. Does Ghee make it easier to digest?

      1. I don’t know if you ever got your answer but I recently found out I am lactose intolerant and clarifying butter removes the milk solids so it takes out the lactose. Digesting the ghee should be easier due to that fact. Hope that helps.

  56. Wow! Great job putting together this list!

    If I had a larger fridge (and if I didn’t live in a dorm room) I would print out this list and take it with me to the market. I think I’ll file it away somewhere for when I get an apartment. (:

    I love it!

  57. Kathy- I’m pretty sure she gets her milk delivered by a local dairy farm.

    I found a local dairy that has grass-fed cows and they sell their milk at my local food co-op, unfortunately it is almost $7 for a HALF gallon of milk :(

  58. suzanne ballantyne

    Hey Lisa – enjoy your trip!

    When you get back – check out http://www.welcoa.org (wellness council of America) – look up the book by Dr. Ann Kulze about eating right for life – i think you’ll take lard off your list!? I know we eat these things in smaller quantities but I wonder about it…

    Also – any idea for pie crusts without as much butter? I’m going on a search myself. And lasly, since you mention it, what do you know about ghee and the changes to the butter once it’s clarified!? Does it alter the saturated fat content at all?
    thanks, happy trails,
    suzanne

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Don’t be afraid of good fats like butter (and even lard)! Here’s some more info on that including ghee: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/05/14/mini-pledge-week-10-no-refined-oils/ and also info on not eating low-fat: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/04/15/mini-pledge-week-6-no-low-fat-lite-or-nonfat-food-products/

      Also, don’t forget that our ancestors survived on lard as a cooking fat for centuries. Unfortunately some flawed research has made everyone scared of it (including me – until recently)!

    1. suzanne ballantyne

      glass bottles are available at whole foods and I’m guessing most food coops. Alternatively, it’s better to buy your milk in cartons (waxed cardboard) vs. plastic – according to some ‘food and toxicity’ gurus!? I tend to think the plastic is not all that bad as it’s kept cool so the toxins in the plastic don’t eat up and leach out into the milk. I tend to like glass containers though and I choose them when possible.

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      I buy it at Earth Fare. It is also delivered locally, but a few months ago I figured out the same thing is a little cheaper at Earth Fare.

  59. Jen - Personal Trainer Miami Beach

    Great list!! I am always a little hesitant when it comes to putting prepared food in the freezer. Not so much because I’m afraid they will go bad but more because I usually forget that I have them in the freezer and then they are sitting there for months. Maybe I should put a list on the freezer with all the items in there and just cross them off when I eat them.

    Have a great trip!! I hope you will post some pictures here when you return!! ;)

    Best,

    Jen

  60. I discovered your site after yahoo did an article about what you guys are doing. I love your website and ideas, especially the kid friendly aspect of many of your recipes. I have a suggestion though: what if you did 100 days for working moms? or something like this. I typically work about 60 hours a week and I just don’t have a lot of time to cook, although I want to cook healthier.

    Thanks again for all the useful information!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I’ve considered that challenge, but not exactly sure how I would structure it. The fact of the matter is though I do “work” by keeping up with this blog. I don’t work quite as much as 60 hours a week, but it is often a full time job to write/edit/publish posts, make/test/photograph recipes, answer comments/emails, manage sponsors, promote the site, etc!

  61. I noticed you have frozen food in canning jars. Is there a method for this? I am afraid they wil crack, or cause freezer burn.

    1. They will definitely crack or explode if not frozen correctly! It has happened to me and it makes a big mess. They’ll be OK if you let the jars freeze before putting the lids on. That’s the only way to be sure they won’t crack or explode in your freezer.

    2. If you leave enough headspace in the glass jar at the top to allow for expansion, you won’t have a problem freezing it. About 1-2 inches of headspace is plenty of room.

    3. 100 Days of Real Food

      Yes, there is definitely a method. You either need to leave room at the top for the food to expand when frozen or you can freeze items with the top off (just to be safe) and add the top after it freezes. Good luck!

  62. Gee, can I come stay at your house? lol Looks great!! We have a very small freezer and no place to put a seperate freezer so I’m jealous! :)Have a GREAT trip!!!!

  63. This is awesome! Just curious about why olive oil was not listed as one of your cooking fats, and alsi, how lard made the list! I’d love to hear what you have to say about both. Enjoy your trip!

  64. I LOVE your pantry, in my small kitchen, the top of my fridge is my “pantry”! I am so jealous! Have fun on your trip and thanks for the great lists.

  65. Love all these ideas. As far as baking/cooking with flour. Do you grind your own flour, or buy a special brand?
    The grocerie store where I live only sell white and whole wheat (which is mostly white right?)… Just wondering what a healthy, cheaper alternative would be?
    Thanks!!!

    1. If the whole wheat is 100% whole wheat, you will be fine. I don’t think whole wheat flour is anything other than 100%. I know that Lisa has started grinding her own, but I think store-bought is okay, too.

    2. The brand that she uses in most of the recipes on the site is King Arthur White Whole Wheat. It’s 100% whole wheat but it’s ground from soft white winter wheat instead of hard wheat berries, so it’s a much softer, finer texture. It’s really great for baking and is much less heavy than “regular” whole wheat. I love it!

  66. We are leaving to Europe & have a similar situation with kids & Grandparents. What are your favorite premade, freezer friendly meals besides soups?

    1. I would LOV E to see an article with pre made meals that can go in the freezer! One recipe I often make and freeze is homemade chunky marinara with (grass fed beef)meatballs. We put a bag in the fridge to defrost and then pick up or make a nice whole grain bread and eat it without noodles. Mmmmm…

      1. 100 Days of Real Food

        Adding “pre-made frozen meals” to my list of future posts to publish…good idea!

  67. Thanks for the list of staples, Lisa! You have some great items on this list, and I’m sure both the kids and grandparents will appreciate all the work you put into their health while you are away.

    Have a wonderful trip, and Enjoy Your Journey!

    Sayonara ~

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