Real Food Tips: Advice and Recipes from Our Team

Aside from all the blog work our team members do to keep this site going round, each person has their own special real food talents and knowledge as well. After all, that’s what brought us together in the first place (well, except for me and my husband of course…that was actually a fraternity party in college and a story for another day!).

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to reach out to each person behind the scenes over here and ask them to share their best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon as well as their favorite recipe!

From Jason, Business Manager (and my husband)

Real Food Tips (Jason Leake) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
I’m going to cheat here and give two tips.

  1. Have your reluctant family members read In Defense of Food and watch Food, Inc. so they have some background on why you are making a change. They could even borrow the audio book from the library and listen during their daily commute. There is no shame in changing old behavior as the result of education, but this requires an open mind.
  2. Make real food your new normal. Things cease to be “new and different” when they turn into just “how things are done” in your house (consistently, most of the time).

I remember growing up and comparing my experiences (bedtime, TV time, chore list, privileges, etc.) with those of my friends. If I ever complained to my mom, she would reply with, “I’m not your friend’s mother. I’m your mother, and in this house, this is how it’s going to be.” It’s important to go beyond groupthink and embrace your own individuality. You have the power to influence your own family’s experiences and wellbeing, and if you are a parent, that power could extend to future generations.

Recipe:
My favorite real food recipe is Pork Carnitas Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas. It is just incredible, rivaling authentically prepared food I’ve had in Mexico. If you are a novice cook, you can go with store bought corn tortillas the first time around (Ezekiel brand is clean), but once your family falls in love with the tacos you have to make some homemade tortillas the next time. They will rock your world.

Real Food Tips (Pork Carnitas Tacos) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood
Pork Carnitas Tacos


From Shawn, Facebook Comment Moderator

Real Food Tips (Shawn) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
I have been a “clean eater” for as long as I can remember, but my husband – not so much. Now, in our home he has always eaten very well, but he was also going out to eat every day. He was always tired, had low energy, and always catching some kind of bug. And over the last 5 years he had put on about 20 pounds.

I finally begged him to give me 6 months of eating only what I make and to give up Gatorade and soda. He reluctantly did, and within 3 months lost that 20 pounds and was feeling great. It has been about a year, and he hasn’t caught one cold, is no longer tired all weekend, and is sleeping much better. He will go out to eat every once in a while, but every time he does he always says, “I wish I didn’t do that!”

Recipe:
One of our favorite dinners is Fajitas with Homemade Flour Tortillas along with a slightly modified version of Quinoa Salad. The modifications include adding cumin and chili powder to the dressing, omitting the dried fruit, and sautéing the bell pepper along with some jalapeño, onion, and garlic.

Real Food Tips (Fajitas) on 100 Days of Real Food
Fajitas with Whole-Grain Flour Tortillas and Quinoa Salad

From Kiran, Sales Manager

Real Food Tips (Kiran) on 100 Days of Real Food Tip:
Be realistic about expectations. Attempting the 10-day or even the 100-day pledge is awesome. And during that time, stay true to the rules, and true to yourself. But after that time, feel free to allow yourself a treat here and there.

In my opinion, you should look at the whole picture. It’s certainly not realistic to have treats after every meal, but it’s also not realistic to expect yourself or your loved ones, whether a spouse or your children, to never have anything sweet again. Seek out treats that fit the bill and that can be enjoyed occasionally.

Recipe:
I confess, I’m often on the hunt for treats that are as close as possible to our real food rules. I’ve had more food dyes in former years in the form of chewy candies than I’d like to admit, but now I realize that there are much more natural sweets that are not tough to make, like this Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge pictured below.

While this recipe does have a tad bit of refined sweetener, it is vegan and therefore dairy-free. You can also make it gluten-free by using gluten-free oats (I did).  I also subbed out Turbinado for the Sucanat and used only 1/2 cup. And lastly I used almond flour instead of grinding my own almonds. The result was delicious!

Real Food Tips (Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood
Vegan Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge by OhSheGlows.com

 

From Amy, Blog Comment Moderator

Real Food Tips (Amy) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip (and Story):
Before moving from Florida to North Carolina last summer, I had begun casually following the 100 Days blog for a few months. When we arrived here, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my kids were in school with Lisa and Jason’s girls.

While my family had been on a decent clean eating trajectory for a couple years, there continued to be plenty of room for improvement, especially in the area of processed food consumption. So, I took this weird coincidence as a sign and started to pay much more attention to the changes that the Leakes had made in their family.

What made the quickest and greatest difference for us was simply the choices I began to make at the grocery store. I began paying much more attention to labels, stayed out of those dreaded middle aisles, and stopped justifying the purchase of processed chemical-laden products. If I didn’t buy it, the opportunity to consume it was gone.

Now, this is not to suggest we are perfect at all. Our top pantry shelf is reserved for items that are “sometimes” foods and it does get used and replenished. And, I  CANNOT send my husband to the store because he often comes back with some atrocious black listed item. (Don’t even ask!) But, we have come further than I could have imagined in such a short time. And, I am forever grateful for the stroke of good luck that landed me here!  :)

Recipe:
This vegetarian Cuban Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos recipe of mine is one of our favorite go-to weeknight meals. Enjoy!

Real Food Tips (Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood
Cuban Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

 –

From Andrew, Technical Support

Real Food Tips (Andrew) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip:
My best tip for convincing anyone to eat real food is simple: Lead by example. That means preparing delicious, real food that you truly love. Odds are, they will love it too! It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to taste good, be satisfying, and be made from the best ingredients you can gather. Then they’ll keep coming back for more!

Recipe:
These breakfast potatoes are one of my favorite real food dishes. They’re a frequent weekend brunch treat in our house.

Real Food Tips (Breakfast Potatoes) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood
Breakfast Potatoes / Photo Credit: Kelly Jaggers http://kellyjaggers.com

 –

From Lisa, Blog Creator (me!)

Real Food Tips (Jason Leake) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood Tip:
Last, but not least. You guys hear from me all the time, but I thought I would join in the fun anyway! My biggest tip I could share is to start small. Please don’t get overwhelmed and give up all together. At a minimum, take one tiny step in the right direction each day (or each week) and pat yourself (and your family member) on the back for it. It’s better to make at least some changes in the right direction than none at all – so don’t sweat the small stuff!

Recipe:
Gosh, pick only one favorite to share? And I am even the one who requested this information! It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, but I’ll have to go with Caprese Salad (preferably with homemade basil pesto). This is just a dish that I could probably eat every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. It has been a favorite of mine for a long time now.

Real Food Tips (Caprese Salad) on 100 Days of Real Food #realfood
Caprese Salad

What’s your best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon? Let us know in the comments below.

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69 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: Advice and Recipes from Our Team”

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  1. Thank you for this post, although it’s older, it helped me a lot. I have fully transitioned my family of 5 to real food after years of allowing those things that I knew were bad to seep in. Two of the 3 kids are really embracing it but one is acting as if I am punishing him. It’s a lot of work . At times I feel like my husband sabotages it by bringing home a box of frosted flakes even though it might be trader joes, or a coke zero, and commenting how it’s okay to have a llittle. I try to stay calm and move forward. I dropped my daughter at softball with a friend and came back to find her drinking a blue Gatorade purchased for my daughter by the friends mom, even though my daughter had a full water jug. Please address this again as I feel like I am constantly battling societies barrage of blue dyed, HFCS , processed garbage …daily. My kids aren’t as young as yours and they are given more access and freedom when I may not be around…unfortunately some make better decisions than others.

  2. Really happy I stumbled across your blog. I have always tried to eat healthy however in the past it was always a buy the low fat version and cook mostly real food. Once I was prego with my daughter I was much more conscious about finding organic or natural options and once I was actually feeding her table foods I only wanted to find the organic options. (I was noticing often enough there were not low fat organic options) Unfortunately, as you have pointed out in the past is the importance of reading labels because even organic options are full of unnecessary ingredients. Hence the better option to make it from scratch— no need for a preservative when your eating it fresh and or freezing. I just started making the recipes on your blog and some from Foodbabe and my husband, myself and our daughter have thoroughly enjoyed! My husband falls off the band wagon way too often though…. after eating some crappy Super Bowl snacks went to bed with a migraine and really regretted it! He is getting better.
    Once again I have some bread going in the bread maker and will probably do an Alfredo sauce tonight since I don’t have many other ingredients in my house today. Snowing again in the NE so tough to get out! Glad to be snowed in and making real food :)

  3. To make a long story short, I started following 100 Days of Real Food when I was pregnant with my son… So my husband knew better then to argue with anything I wanted to eat :) But after little man was born, the hubs assumed we’d go back to the old ways. I continued to cook real food meals, became more active about planning meals and involved our almost 4-year-old daughter in the whole process too. She really enjoyed playing in the kitchen with mom and checking out all the local farmer’s markets, and the husband enjoyed the delicious food we were cranking out. Once he realized that real food does not equal boring food (and that our daughter enjoyed the shopping/cooking/eating too), he was definitely more interested in involving himself in the whole process.

  4. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for substitutions for honey and nuts in your recipes. I have an infant and was wanting to try some of your recipes but want to feed it to my baby also and since you can’t feed honey or nuts to children < 1 yr I didn't know what to replace them with?? Thanks!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Emily. You can usually use maple syrup in place of honey though you may have to adjust recipes a bit as the consistency is different. You could try sunflower seeds or pepitas (you could grind them before adding- if still not a thorough chewer) in place of nuts or just leave them out entirely. ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello there. My first advice is too be sure you consult with your physician on this. That said, foods high in antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Beta Carotene and foods rich in phytonutrients are likely you best bets. Do a quick Google search with these termnologies and you will get a whole list of the best of the best. Hope that helps a little. ~Amy

  5. I think if you want to convince someone, just show them your team photos. Beautiful, beautiful people. Clearly eating well makes you look terrific!

  6. Great article! Thank you for sharing your favorites. We have had the pork carnitas and my family keeps asking me to make them. I just purchased a tortilla press, so I’m excited to make them. I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes posted.

  7. The pork carnitas were a big hit in our house as well! My cousin asked me for “my” recipe afterwards. I emailed her the link… I have to give credit where it’s due, thanks!

  8. Great post! With Recipes my reluctant hubby will love… He’s already on the road by default, eating what I make, but it is going to be a long journey!

  9. One little thing we are beginning to do is just to set out fresh veggies on a plate on the kitchen table. When my 3 kids (5 and under) get the munchies, they just help themselves. We were also fortunate to have been able to join a fruit and veggie CSA this past summer and we are still in the middle of a meat share from a local farmer. The quality is so much better that we don’t let it go to waste.

  10. My advice is to let the kids help you with the meal
    And make it a special event. Let them pick out background
    Music and even the recipe and it turns into a magical
    Time together

  11. It’s hard to convince the “educated skeptic” who thinks he or she knows better than you do – following whatever low-fat, or low-carb fad, consisting of 100-calorie snack packs! My tip is to cook for them. Whenever you get the chance, cook real food meals and treats and they’ll start to realize that delicious doesn’t come in packaged goods. You can also compare the cost of, say, a fruit salad with a Big Mac & fries, to prove that real food doesn’t have to be more expensive! Thanks for sharing these tips 100days team!

  12. I’m really curious to know how you feel about artificial food dyes in lipsticks. I’ve cut dyes out of my diet, but after researching some of my favorite lipsticks, I’m totally bummed that they contain a multitude of food dyes (red, yellow, blue, etc). I’m not technically ingesting my lipstick, but I’m sure it is absorbed in some manner through my lips – just wanted to know y’all’s opinion – thanks so much!

  13. I made the pork carditios yesterday. I followed the recipe exactly and your are right, they rocked my world. I’m going to make them for a friends birthday dinner.

  14. Hi there,

    Firstly, thank you so much for your website! I am new to trying to improve our family’s diet and I am finding your site a fantastic resource!

    I just wanted to ask about corn… my understanding was that corn is a no go because it is so highly genetically modified?

    Thank you so much,
    Regards,
    Bara’ah

    1. Hi Bara’ah! I will chime in my two cents. You are on the right track. A majority of corn in the US is Genetically Modified. But, organic corn (by law) is not supposed to be GMO. And even non-organic you can sometimes find non GMO (I asked the farmer at my farmers’ market last weekend where he got his seed, and it was heirloom seed, NOT from Monsanto). So it is possible to have corn that is not chock full of mystery proteins! Lisa also tells her readers to make sure it’s whole grain corn, not highly processed. See her “Understanding Grains” post. :)

      1. Hi there Laura,

        Thank you so much for all the info! A lot of info to absorb but I am loving the increase in knowledge… I didn’t know that organic corn was available in the States, now I know. :-) Unfortunately I’m not in the States myself, but at least I now know what I’m looking for, so I will keep my eyes open… are there any websites where such organic products can be purchased in the States?

        Thanks once again,
        Bara’ah

      2. Yes! Bara’ah, You can try putting the name of the specific product you are looking for (e.g. organic blue corn chips) as examples, to find some non GMO corn products online. I know you can find corn meal, blue corn chips, and some other things at http://www.vitacost.com which is a reputable site. A site that is committed to verifying non GMO products is http://www.nongmoproject.org . They have a list of recommended brands.

        Happy shopping!

  15. Married 39 years and have wanted to make changes to our diet for years. Was always overwhelmed and would give up. Was discouraged because we live in a small town and don’t have access to organic veggies or grass-fed meat. Husband wasn’t particularly interested so felt it was a very lonely uphill battle. Have adult daughters who kept encouraging us and about a month ago referred me to your website. Suddenly everything was clearer and easier! We are on the third week of the 14-week challenge and doing great! We are building on each week’s challenge. This route is really working for us!

    For those women who think their husbands will never come on board, I came home today from work to find baked potatoes, steamed green and wax beans (from our garden) and carrots, with pan fried cod…all cooked by my retired husband! Yes, he’s always been good about cooking but I fully expected to have to make the veggies. But in the last three weeks he has started paying more attention to incorporating veggies and fruit into our diet and we are both enjoying the taste of homemade hummus, tortillas etc.!

  16. I would love to hear what real food recipe is each of your kids favorites. All of the suggestions from this post sound great to me, but many of them my kids won’t eat. What real food meals do you make on a regular basis that the kids love. I was just having this same conversation with another mom friend today. She is frustrated about finding healthy real food meals that the whole family likes that she ends up making them something they will eat and it doesn’t always turn out to be the healthiest choice.

    1. I would start small with something the kids already like. For example, my kids love fruit, so I started making frozen smoothies pops. I let them choose the fruits to use, and am gradually adding more oomph with healthy ingredients. Today my son chose peaches, strawberries and blueberries, then I snuck in some coconut milk and chia seeds. They also love muffins, pancakes, breads etc., so I was able to win them over with some whole-wheat zucchini muffins (to my surprise!). I’m finding that small changes are working for my 4 kids. Even if it’s not a whole meal, a healthier item here and there makes a difference. I struggle too with making a meal that everyone will like, and I’ve decided it just isn’t possible. So I do what I can and we try to have dinner together…the same dinner. Not always perfect or real food by any means, but we’re baby-stepping our way to cleaner eating.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      …and it takes trial and error. Your kids are going to be different from mine and others. Figuring out what works for them and you may take a little time. I have found that I often have to put new things on their plates several times before they accept it. The first time I presented them with asparagus–forget it!–but by the third or fourth time, they ate it. Now they eat it all the time. Lima beans? They won’t touch them. :) My 1st grader loves pumpkin pancakes. My fourth grader prefers pumpkin muffins. I make both and freeze them. There are definitely times when a meal doesn’t work but as we move forward in this journey, those times are far far fewer. Best of luck! ~Amy

  17. Great post! I eat clean (90% of the time) and my husband is really good about letting me cook/feed him what I want. He isnt a fan of quinoa, but most of the other stuff, he will eat.

    My sister is a single mom and has a high level/high stress job. When my niece was little, she would make lots of stuff from the ‘Sneaky Chef’ cookbook and fed her well. Now that she is in school, her lack of packing the best food, and time to make healthier meals just doenst get done.
    I try to talk to her and educate her about food/healthy meals, forward links and blogs for her to read, but she just does not find it a priority. I cringe when I go over and she is drink Gatorade with dinner!! My niece loves food and loves when I have her over, I have her cook with me, and educate her on healthy foods. I have her try new foods all the time (there are a few recipes I make that she has requested her mother make for her like my Turkey breast meatloaf).
    I only hope some day my influences will pay off big and they will both see and understand the importance of what you eat.

    1. It has taken my adult daughters years of being good role models for my husband and I to start eating healthier. Hand in there! You can make a difference!

    2. I think it’s overwhelming for a lot of people. I just wrote a post about how I personally began… for me it definitely took years. For others, it is overnight. I have lots of friends who are actually just too overwhelmed to even begin. Sometimes more information isn’t better, depending on the personality type, ya know?

  18. Make it a new normal.

    Two years ago, my oldest son (now 8) began having severe stomachaches and uncontrollable bowel movements. He missed over 20 days of school because he was so sick. He was miserable. Over the course of 9 months we went to the doctor several times, saw an allergist and a gastroenterologist, all for no conclusive reason as to what was causing all of these problem. It was then that we decided to start eliminating things from his diet to see if that was perhaps the cause.

    This started us on our first journey as we found that all of his severe intestinal problems stopped completely after we eliminated dairy of all kinds from his diet (praise God!). It was then that I started reading labels to be sure that there was no milk or whey in anything I bought, a challenge that I had no idea would be so great (have you ever seen how many things have dairy/whey unnecessarily in them?)!

    After some discussion, my husband and I started wondering if some of our own intestinal discomfort had to do with what we ate. And so began my journey of educating myself about what we ate. For me, I didn’t give my husband a choice, I simply started making the change by cutting out any form of prepackaged/processed items. Just this change caused us both to feel so much better that it then challenged me to continue to pursue a clean diet and improve our health overall.

    While our change was initially started out of necessity, I have found that so many of the things we used to eat don’t even taste or sound good in any way. The change that we feel physically and mentally is truly amazing. I sometimes have co-workers, friends, or even family members who give me a hard time, but when I see my kids CHOOSE to eat a piece of fruit over candy because that is what they want, it makes it all worth it.

  19. I usually win people over by letting them taste my food. I find many people are afraid to go outside of their comfort zone. When they frown up, say that weird, or what is that. I give them a bite, after that I’ve won them over. Then I’m able to slowly speak to them about their food choices and how to make better decisions.

  20. Lisa, I cannot thank you and your team enough for doing what you do. You are such a compassionate and patient voice of reason in what is often a judgmental intimidating movement. I feel like so many people are either happily eating junk or have such “holier than thou” standards that it’s difficult to stay on track. You have changed my life.
    Now if I can help anyone else… In the beginning my husband was a very reluctant participant. “In Defense of Food” did not hold his interest. I put “Food Rules” in our bathroom to encourage him to read it. Since it’s 1 rule per page it holds his interest while he gets the job done (I know, I know, but he’s read it!…).
    Also I started implementing a mini-pledge every month rather than weekly. I don’t consider revamping our eating habits over the course of a year to be a negative whatsoever. I started with the pledges that “add” (new foods & 2 veggies per meal) rather than take away. We’re ending with the meat rule which will be our biggest challenge. I don’t make a big deal about any of it and I’m not sure if he’s even noticed (we started in June). Being slow with it gives me time to make each pledge a habit at the grocery store (obviously we hold on to previous month’s pledges as well).
    I hope my 2 little tips can help or motivate someone else to take on the challenge.

    1. Those are great ideas, Sally. My husband isn’t against making changes, but he certainly isn’t helpful either, especially when he does the shopping! I have been making small changes for awhile now, but maybe if I embark on mini-pledges it will stick better. Hmm.

  21. I grew up in a real food house so thinking and cooking this way comes more naturally to me. My husband, on the other hand did not and still drinks tons of soda, which I refuse to buy for him. The good thing is that he will eat whatever I make so when he eats at home he is getting really good food. When he is out of the house that is another story! And like Amy, I can’t send him to the store because he buys things live frozen waffles, which have an “ingredient” list as long as my arm! I am blessed that my son is a good real foods eater and will eat whatever I put in his lunch box or in front of him. He still occasionally asks for (horror, gasp) lunchables but the answer is no followed by the explanation of why.

  22. I am a huge fan of your blog – it has completely transformed the way I eat. I’ve learned so much that I’ll never look at anything processed quite the same way…I signed up for a weekly veggie CSA share – it has allowed me to try new veggies that I’d never heard of and since I always have food that needs eaten at home, I’ve easily been able to pack my lunch and eat out so much less!

  23. Simplest thing I did to get my fabulous husband to eat better: I stopped asking him what he wanted for dinner (and lunch the next day) and just put home-cooked whole food in front of him at mealtimes and in lunch containers. I also leave sweet notes on the door to remind him to bring his lunch to work.

    Another big contributor to our routine: we get a regular (every 2 weeks) delivery of local farm veggies that (for me anyway) creates a game out of trying to use everything before the next delivery; this really makes me mindful of cooking at home so as not to waste! (Farmhouse Delivery; Austin, TX)

  24. My husband and I agreed to try it for three weeks and on day 3 my husband was on board. I took about 2 weeks to convince because it was so overwhelming and there were so many dishes. (; (The menu plans on here were a big help!)

  25. You know what I’d really like to see: Real Food in Real Time, for us overworked parents, with kids here and there and work places that are cutting back on staff so work hours have increased. (Between July and Nov 1 my work week will change from an average of 45 hr/wk to 60). I figure 30-60 mins a day (with perhaps up to 2 hours one weekend day)is max for cooking and cleaning up afterwards, with 45 of shopping a week is it for me and many American parents these days. Now I’m happy with where I’m at as far as providing food for my family (I follow for recipes and tips mainly), but I know that many moms get too overwelmed by this task and therefore abandon the real food quest all together. Could any of you feed your kids as healthy as I do with the time limits I have? Cathy

    1. Cathy,
      I am in your same boat -I work full time, along with my husband, and do a lot with a local volunteer organization, etc. My solution (for my sanity) is the 80/20 rule. If I can do good on the big, easiest stuff, I feel good about myself. I can save a lot of time by not trying to get that last 20% of the way to be absolutely perfect (e.g. condiments), even though I would love to do better all the time. My coworker and I are also lunch sharing to try to do better about real food lunches, since most of my challenge is the on-the-go meals, vs. the at home ones. We are blogging about it if you want to follow along.
      I also intend to do a “real shopping” trip with a few people and see if I can “better” their shopping lists at one store without making more than one stop. http://www.goodnotperfect.com is where I will be writing about the experience! I’d love your input!

    2. Cathy,
      You can absolutely eat a clean and healthy diet within your time constraints! I teach full time, attend a workout class 4 days a week, and have three kids and a husband. I have found it is all about pre-planning. We plan our menu for the week and buy all of the ingredients needed (except pantry items such as spices and beans, unless I am out of them). I am generally able to have dinner made and on the table in 30 minutes. The biggest thing I have found that saves me time is choosing to go meatless at least 1-2 times a week, and to be sure to use fresh meat when I do need it (that way I can’t forget to defrost it). For breakfast and lunches, I prepare a week’s worth of breakfast muffins and dessert for lunches for the week (in about 60 minutes) on Sunday evening, and then we pack lunches the night before (I have 5 categories my kids get to pick from, but they only get 3 choices at most from each).

      Once you get going with a real food diet, you start to realize how it really takes no less time to prepare the food than if you were using something pre-packaged/frozen. You can always make your own prepackaged “tv dinners” by using divided containers and leftover real food meals. And if your snacks are whole foods (such as fruits and vegetables) it really takes no time to prepare them.

      I do also subscribe to eMeals, which has a clean menu option (sometimes some of their ingredients aren’t 100% clean, so watch it closely) and they also provide you with a shopping list so all you have to do is go buy the food. I don’t rely on their menu for every dinner, but it is helpful when I just don’t have the time/energy to think about what to make for the week.

      Give it a try and I bet you’d be surprised at how doable it actually is!

      1. Heidi, I’ve been doing it more and more over the last 13 years. I don’t believe there are many teens (son turns 13 in 2 days, daughter is 19) who are as healthy in both diet and fitness as my two. (Now that I think about it I’m pretty darn healthy myself.) Daughter has made the transition to college and feeding herself from a cafeteria well. I do think it can be done..not 100%, but 90/10 or 80/20. I think that’s real life. I belive this is a good website, but I also see many who are too stressed by this and fall for the all or nothing mindset. I’d love to see how this talented group would deal with what for most Americans is real life.

    3. It probably depends on how much energy a person has, whether or not the husband or older kids help with preparing meals (nothing wrong with that!), or if the main chef of the home can get a friend to help once a week, OR if the main chef works full time, or like you – full time and then some! I know I can not do it alone and all too often my husband is making my daughter Macaroni and Cheese for dinner because I just didn’t have time to cook dinner before heading off for work in the evening. We just do as much as we can. A lot of people do the 90/10 or 80/20 and probably 50/50. I guess you do the best with what you’ve got. Not everyone is the same. I’m sorry, but it kinda seems like your ridiculing Lisa and the others.

      1. No, just mentioning another issue that needs to be addressed if clean eating is to move from the “ivory tower” into the real world. For many reasons this is the way my family and I have grown. I hate it when I see people so discouraged by what this site often presents as the daunting task of feeding their families real food and go back to McD’s etc (not that we don’t do McD’s 4-5x/year). I came into this site when they were doing 100 days on a budget. I thought that was great, because price is another barrier. Why not 30 days in real time. It would be exciting and practical. I’m really excited about the “good not perfect” blog, but it’ll be a long time before they have the following this site does. Cathy

  26. Lisa,
    I am so grateful for your blog! Thank you so much for always inspiring me to feed my family healthy, real food! And, for giving me easy tips and recipes to help make it a reality. I think what you do is so important! Also wanted to let you know I thought of you as I was touring my kids’ new preschool. They have won a healthy initiative award from the white house, incorporate real healthy choices into their curriculum, and have a cooking assignment with each unit. Also, no birthday treats but fruit, and they would rather an activity than food!

    1. Thank you so much Debbie – glad you are enjoying the blog! And I think fruit “treats” for birthdays sounds good to me. I would love for our school to get there one day, too! :)

      1. I did edible fruit bouquets (I made myself!) for my kids for their birthdays. My two oldest have August birthdays, along with 15 other kids, so I was SO tired of the cupcakes!! I mean, it’s one thing to have A cupcake ONCE a month, but they were coming home with one nearly every day for 3 weeks (some days TWO)! Anyway, back to the fruit bouquets… I brought those in for them and instantly became THE coolest mom in class. All of the kids loved it and the teachers were grateful that they didn’t have a bunch of kids hopped up on more sugar.

  27. Every time we get together with my husband’s family, his sisters are ALWAYS surprised at the food I get him to eat. Almost 5 years together, 2.5 married and it has been a gradual process, in fact he’s a way healthier eater than me. For my husband it was about getting rid of myths he believed about food, like he thought there was ketchup in lasagna, NO joke! He still won’t try avocado (he think it looks gross) Right now our real struggle is me not baking and him no ice cream. Are regular meals are VERY clean/real approved, but desserts…. In any case, we are doing a little at a time.

  28. Fantastic! Love these tips. I have just recently starting cutting out processed foods. I haven’t actually found it that much of a challenge – I am in the midst of reading In Defense of Food and it is REALLY turning me off from eating anything I haven’t made at home. No more boxed meals for me! My boyfriend on the other hand, is a lover of everything prepackaged and loves loves loves lunch meat… I thought he was going to have a stroke when I offered to cook free range chicken for him to put on his sandwiches everyday. I think he’s warming up to the idea of reducing his processed foods, but it will be a work in progress. Thanks so much for the tips!

    1. I’ve been wondering which Michael Pollan book to read cover to cover (first). I have read a lot of summaries of his work, and heard him on NPR, etc … but don’t know where to begin! I just ordered “Cooked”. Hoping I like him. I have so many friends who want to start cutting processed foods but don’t know where to start exactly. What prompted you to start?

  29. This is the precise topic that got me inspired to start a blog. I have several coworkers who have been so overwhelmed by information they don’t know where to begin … so instead they do nothing! I think the primary challenges for lots of us are 1) picky spouses and/or kids and 2) planning ahead. Yummy recipe examples and posts like this are the best medicine for solving problem #1. :)

  30. My husband just doesn’t buy it. He’s got the “I’ve been eating this way for years and nothing is wrong with me” mentality and just doesn’t want to budge. Having said that, I do the shopping and I buy almost all organic. I also started caning food from my fertilizer- and pesticide-free garden this year. He thinks it’s cool that I think it’s cool, but other than that he doesn’t care… which is crazy! Can I just say my homemade salsa, pizza sauce and pasta sauce are WAY better than anything at the store!?! Where’s the love, right?

    He also thinks organic food is a fad and hates that I spend more money to eat healthier. And there’s no way I could get him to watch or read any of those suggestions. But since I’ve switched to mostly organic food, I don’t take asthma medicine anymore and my chest pain from my asthma has mostly subsided. I feel better and I am too informed to go back. Not to mention we want to have kids soon. I wish my parents knew what I knew now. There’s no way I could feed my kids some of the stuff I ate growing up.

    Anyway, long comment short, my husband is a pain haha. He’s a pain to please with regular, bad-for-you food, too…. oh well. He’ll have to come around eventually because I’m not turning back!

    P.S. My husband is wonderful. I just made him out to be a food monster. He’s a pain, but I love him. I joke that I feed him organic so I can keep him alive forever :) Thanks for the post!

    1. I’m in the exact same boat! My husband thinks I’m doing “weird, healthy stuff” — i.e. being a health nut — and he won’t read any book, let alone a “health nut” book that I recommend. He might watch a movie if I made him, but since we are never home and relaxing in front of the TV at the same time, that’s hard to do. He also doesn’t like anything I cook and, frankly, we don’t get a lot of meals together anyway. So I just eat on my own and hope that someday something will change his mind.

    2. Jess, I think we’re married to the same man. It’s so annoying, isn’t it? When our son was born my husband became a little bit more interested in food. He’s concerned for our son’s health, but has more or less written himself off using the same “I’ve always eaten like this, I’m fine” mentality. Urgh.

    3. I’m in the same exact boat. “I’ve been eating this way for 40 years and nothing is wrong with me, blah blah blah”. No matter how much evidence I give him, or how many medicines I’ve been able to STOP taking, he will never think that the food-like substances he eats are causing his health problems.

    4. What is with these guys! My husband is just like this too! It kills me. He has been eating better by default since I do all of the shopping. But he has zero interest in reading any book or watching any movie. I tried to get him to watch Food, Inc. but he wouldn’t. God forbid it get in the way of one of the 120 baseball games a year! So, this effort is entirely driven by me. I do feel better knowing at least that my kids mostly get very good food inside our house. But since starting this a year or so ago, I can’t help but notice just how much of this junk food they get outside of my house!

  31. I love these tips! My kids often compare the food in our house to the food in their friends’ houses (as Jason mentioned), but I try to offer them fun, healthy snacks every day. Sure, it’s not packaged candy, but they’re beginning to realize that yummy homemade snacks are a privilege that everyone doesn’t get to enjoy.