Real Food Tips

I am a list maker. Whether it’s my grocery list, my to-do list, or the list of areas in our house that I need to “declutter” (my New Year’s Resolution!) let’s face it I like lists. So when I applied my list-making skill to my real food blog I ended up with a bunch of “Real Food Tips” and here they are…



May 2015 update: Since I keep posting tips and this page was getting so long, we’ve set up the blog so you can click here to browse through ALL my Real Food Tips posts.

Real Food Tips for the Holidays

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99 thoughts on “Real Food Tips”

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. I can’t answer your question about insulin but 100% pure stevia liquid, at least, has no additives.

    2. Insulin is something your body produces in your pancreas. I think you are talking about innulin (if I am spelling it right). I don’t know what that is but I see it listed as an ingredient in food.

  1. Hi I am just starting out with this and wondered about pork consumption. I noticed very little recipes using pork or beef

  2. I subscribed to your website after just hearing your interview on Charlotte Talks this morning. I love your story and I share your priority of using whole foods at home. It’s definitely been a challenge though and I’ve really not held the same standards for us when we eat out or at friend’s homes. I’m looking forward to reading your tips and recipes!

  3. I just discovered your wonderful site and have taken the 10 day pledge. It’s time we stopped eating chemicals. Many of my friends have health problems that I consider related to their less than healthy diet. I’m fortunate to live in a small town with a wonderful food co-op that carried local organic produce, bulk grains and local pastured meat and eggs. They do persist in carrying canola however. You have lots of great recipes too.

  4. I am curious if you have any tips on how to handle dinners and holidays with extended family. Sadly, mine does not eat any whole foods and I don’t anticipate them being very supportive of our decision to change. Thanks!

  5. I’m really curious: how to you handle holidays like Halloween and valentines with your kids like when they bring home buckets of candy? What about other extended family members (like grandparents…) who may not agree with your lifestyle change and want to “spoil” the kids when you aren’t around? I’ve got little kids- both of whom are extremely picky. I’m trying to cut out processed foods but these are potential issues I will encounter. Just curious what you do. You may have addressed this already. I looked around your site but couldn’t see anything. Thanks! Excited to try some of your recipes!

  6. Jennifer Donovan

    My husband and I are interested in the 100 day challenge because he suffered a heart attack a few months ago at 41 years old. He was not overweight, relatively healthy, and had no family history. He has changed his eating habits drastically and the differences in his cholesterol numbers are shocking! We couldn’t believe how much diet affects our health. One of the things that is holding us back is that one of our children has life threatening food allergies. He cannot have any nut products or dairy or eggs. One of the treats that he can have is oreo cookies because they’re all chemicals. I found a cake recipe that i can make for him that doesn’t taste gross but it includes 4 cups of sugar! He puts ketchup on EVERYTHING! do you have any tips or advice? He is also a severe asthmatic and i really do feel that if he weren’t ingesting so many chemicals and dyes it might help his asthma.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jennifer. When dealing with food allergies, you have to make whatever adjustments are necessary to make the challenge work for your family maintaining an effort to keep choices as real as possible. You might consider trying the mini pledges which will give you an opportunity to address changes one at a time: Also, this post is from a husband’s perspective: and might lend some useful insight. ~Amy

  7. I Love this website, there are so many helpful tips for me. My cooking teacher asked the entire class to go on your website, and i glad she did.

  8. To accept the view that the Cali drug traffickers shoould be confronted head-on, despite a pledge by President Gaviria to treat all
    cartels equally. When you are part of the state by means of
    the accommodation as” prison-like”. As an international student you will be provided with free breakfast so you really don’t need to care about
    your security and safety.

  9. Love this! Ended up at your blog for the first time today when trying to to find new ideas for school lunches..ended up at this page right after I was talking about myself being a little list crazy! Haha I lam always making a list for something!

  10. Hi,
    I am wondering if you have a recipe for pudding- preferably vanilla and chocolate?! My son has been begging me for chocolate pudding, but I will not buy the store bought chemical filled stuff, and I can’t find a recipe anywhere that doesn’t include sugar or other junk… :/
    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! :)

  11. I am trying to eat real foods, but my taste buds are starting to revolt. I confess that I am a fairly picky eater and when it comes to eating things that I do not like, I would prefer to go hungry than eat.

    Last night I sauteed mushrooms and onions in olive oil. I made quinoa with chicken stock. I tossed those together with broccoli and carrots. I baked a chicken breast seasoned with lemon pepper and sliced it and added it to the mix. I served it with cooked spinach.

    I know that the dish was healthy and filling but I never want it again. It was just boring. I can’t say exactly what I missed in it. (I know it was not salt because we do not use it or like it )

    Am I doing something wrong? Do you have any suggestions? I like to use spices and condiments (specifically oriental sauces which are not a good food) and the food without it just doesn’t tast good.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kimberly. It can take some trial and error to find the right spice and flavor combinations that work for you without reverting to pouring on unhealthy sauces and such. Don’t give up! This might help: I’m not claiming that these follow the 100 Days rules but it may help you get from point A to B. :) Plus, it gives you homemade versions of each which can be tweaked to better fit the rules. ~Amy

  12. So many recipes call for beef gravy, beef broth, or bouillon. I can not find any of these items in an organic form. Even brands that sell organic chicken broth do not label their beef broth as organic (and a look at the ingredients makes it obvious why). Any tips on what to do when a recipe calls for any of these beef-based items?

    Thank you!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kim. You can. I will tell you that I had more success with black beans when I soaked them first. ~Amy

  13. what about grown up picky (meat and potatoes type) lunches for work i want my family to do this but my hubby is very brand specific and picky eater

  14. The price of frontier baking powder is astronomical! What about aluminum free baking soda? Lisa, do you use aluminum free baking soda & powder?

  15. I have a question about what baking powder you use. Everything I have read is that baking powder is a mixture of toxins and to sub for a different rising agent. Just curious to what brand you use?

      1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

        Rumford is another easy to find brand. Also, arrowroot powder is a non-toxic alternative to baking powder. ~Amy

  16. Hello,

    I love the webiste and find it very interesting and educational. I was wondering if there is a list of brands you often buy that can be found nation wide?

    Thank you! :)

  17. Megan Faultner

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a completely “clean” barbecue sauce out there that you know of?! Also, I thought I saw a post with a list attached one time about all of the “clean” or “real food” products from Trader Joe’s? I can’t seem to find it again. If it was on another website I am sorry, but if it was yours could I have the link for that? I appreiate it very much.

    Thank you!

  18. Hi there–LOVE your site. Thank you for all the information. I’m wondering if there is a “white whole wheat” pasta out there? I think my kids (& husband) would be much more receptive…thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kim. I can’t find one using 100% white whole wheat pasta flour. If you need to, you can find various blends and use them as you transition to the 100% whole grain stuff. If any readers know of a white whole wheat pasta, please chime in! ~Amy

      1. Kim – this may be too late, but I was recently on a food sensitivity diet and couldn’t have wheat, but I could have spelt (a type of wheat but not the kind my nutritionist was concerned about). There’s a great bakery in Ohio, Berlin Bakery, that makes 100% whole white spelt pasta, perhaps that would work?

    2. Hi Kim,
      My husband is not a fan of the whole grain wheat pasta either (and some may prefer a non-gluten variety). So we’ve tried rice pasta and it seems to be a happier medium. Also, I’ve seen (although scarcely) lentil pasta as well. Sorry I don’t know of any white wheat one for you and your family though :)

    3. You can make it!

      And, I agree with Chrissy, rice pasta is a great alternative.

      HOWEVER, for everyone out there consuming grains, seeds, nuts, beans/legumes of any kind, you must be SPROUTING these items for consumption! They are TOXIC otherwise. Here’s why:

      And if you are busy like me: Here is a good place to buy already sprouted grains and flours, etc:

  19. Thanks. That’s way too expensive. I’ll keep looking. I’m looking for something more like cane sugar. I realize sugar is sugar but what i need is the brown crystals that aren’t as processed like the white is. We don’t use a lot of sugar and what i use it for i haven’t found a good substitute for. A big lbag would save me money compared to spending 5 or so a bag for whole foods organic sugar. Thank you!

    1. Diane- I live in Southern Alabama and recently found Coconut Sugar at our local Walmart. It is a little more expensive than “Domino” Sugar but not too much more than the organic “Florida Crystals”. You can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio for white sugar. If you are following the cutting-out-processed-food plan, then a bag should last you a while. Hope that helps!

  20. I am looking to buy organic sugar probably 25-50 lbs and I am wondering if you have a brand you would recommend? Florida Crystals? I see some products on your site but I don’t see anything for sugar. Thanks.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Diane. We avoid the use of refined sugar in almost all of our recipes. I think the only exception has been holiday whole wheat cut out cookies. Sugar isn’t part of the 10 or 100 day pledge. Beyond that, you will need to decide what is right for you and your family. I might suggest the coconut palm sugar, though, if you are going to use it beyond the pledge. Here is some info on it from The Food Babe’s blog (…”Organic Coconut Palm Sugar…is…completely unrefined and not bleached like typical refined white sugar, helping to preserve all of its teeming vitamins and minerals. It is naturally high in amino acids – has 10,000 times more potassium, 20 times more magnesium and 20 times more iron than conventional sugar. Converting to this type of sugar could also, lower your risk of developing diabetes because it’s glycemic index is half of that compared to sugar.” That said, remember sugar is sugar and should be used in moderation. Good luck. ~Amy

  21. Hi,

    This is my first time on your website I’m getting to know your page but had a question:
    Do you follow a msg free diet? I’m looking for help on eliminating processed food which we do not eat much at all but I was surprised to read online that a lot of things have MSG even if said organic or natural. I decide to read the back of some things I have that I thought to be ok like Soymilk and sure enough there was the MSG but with the name of carrageenan after researching I found a website that talks about that and got a list of the other names used for MSG. I was using vegan/ vegetarian recipes but some things on those recipes were processed and had MSG in it! I did start making my own soy milk but I’m looking for help on other things like which bread for example!

  22. Hi! I’ve only just discovered this website/blog and I’m wondering how long this website and its contents will exist before its taken down? I’m incredibly interested in saving all of this information, but 1.) i’m not sure how; 2.) I do not have kids quite yet but will likely have babies within the next 2 years and would LOVE to use the tips on this website…
    Ultimately, I am wondering when is this website will be taken down :( I hope it stays up forever :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Tanya. Welcome! We are planning on being around for a long time. You should be able to keep accessing all the information going forward so just keep exploring it! ~Amy

  23. Hello 100 Days,

    I never comment on websites but I had to for this one. I am addicted to your blog. I read it every day during my breaks. We’ve been following your meal plans for the last 4 weeks and we feel great. We eat out and at relatives houses on the weekends but through the week, we adhere to the menus. Every recipe we’ve tried so far has been so tasty and easy, it’s become harder to eat all the processed junk. Thank you all so much for the effort you’ve put into this site.

  24. I have loved your blog! Your recipes are so easy and straight to the point. Thank you! I am not the best chef but you make it easy to have yummy healthy meals.

    I was wondering if you would ever do a post…or have a guest post to help us working ladies make your meals freezer friendly.I realize most of them are but would be great to have instructions/pictures/tips etc for us by-the-book instruction-loving gals ….would be nice to have some help! Most of the freezer recipe blogs I have seen are great…but not always the healthiest recipes to begin with..I want your recipes in my freezer for all year! =)

    Thank you for your blog!!

  25. Day 10 into my 100 days. Have a couple questions regarding the rules.

    The package rule says no more more than 5 ingredients. What if all the indredients are supposedly good? Thinking of stuff like Ezekiel wraps and Desert Pepper salsa.

    Or on the other hand, things like Garden of Eatin tortilla chips, which have only three ingredients?

  26. Hello! I’d like to know if you’d have any ideas on packing real food? I’m going for a six day camp, and I’m a little stumped as to how I could pack my own real food. Any ideas? :) they’ll be very very appreciated!!

  27. Hi, I have been following your blog and have made the switch to “real food” for almost 8 months now. How do you handle going over to another family’s house to eat, who haven’t cut out processed and GMO food? I have 2 small children and we get together with neighbors for BBQs, birthday parties, etc. I will not eat something I know is processed and contains GMOs. I don’t want to be rude! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Amanda. This is always a tough situation, but, when a guest in someone’s home, I usually go along with what they serve and try and choose those items that are less processed. I will often times eat before going that way I limit my consumption (assuming it might only be finger foods as opposed to a sit down dinner). Best of luck. Jill

  28. Hi, lots of really great ideas for kids lunches. I would like to give my three year old apples for lunch but she can’t eat a whole one yet, so a bit of a waste. When you give your kids apple slices or the apple sandwiches, doesn’t it go brown and unappetising by lunchtime?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Fiona. Just squirt a little lemon juice on them…it prevents them from turning brown. Jill

  29. Wow!! That’s all I can say. This is how we eat most of the time. I will get my daughter to check it out too. She has a 13 yr old daughter that is diabetic and a 6 yr old son who is ADHD. This is perfect for her family. Thanks for a great blog…

  30. Hello Lisa, Happened upon your wonderful blog and saw the Zucchini chips recipe. I have an alternate recipe that is similar. You can use summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, etc. Dip the sliced veggie in the beaten egg, dredge in the whole wheat panko bread crumb mixed with salt/pepper and shredded parmesan cheese but instead of frying, place in a baking dish brushed with a little olive oil. Bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes and it comes out crispy and delicious too. The benefit here is that it frees up time preparing another dish. Hope you like it. Bon appetite!

  31. Hi! So glad I found this website! You have some great tips on here, and it’s exactly what my doctor recommends for all of her patients. As a diabetic, I’ve done a lot of research over the last few years about processed foods, food dyes, the hormones & antibiotics in our foods, etc. Our struggle for a long time was how to afford to eat right, until we realized we couldn’t afford NOT TO. Thank you, for offering tips on keeping it simple and keeping it affordable! Looking forward to more from you!

  32. What about peanut butter, do you make your own or buy organic? I am seeing a naturalist who recommended Heart Smart peanut butter, but other than the omga 3 it has the same ingredients as Jiff. And butter is another one I’m just not sure about, what is your take on this?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Vivian. I would recommend organic peanut butter – the only ingredient should be dry roasted peanuts. Hope that helps. Jill

  33. I read every single blog entry. and maybe I missed if it already said my question but what is sour cream is that not a real food? what about greek yogurt?

  34. I have food freezing fear. Do you have an tips on freezing food? So let’s say I make the casserole do I just wrap it up in aluminum foil and pop it in the freezer? I did a freezing search on the website but couldn’t find any step by steps on this. I love the idea of freezing food, but I’ve always been too afraid I’m going to do it wrong and end up with a lot of freezer burn and wasted food :(

  35. What is your take on the Veggie Straws from Sensible Portions ( and the Mediterranean Terra Chips ( It seems that the Veggie Straws only use tomato and spinach powder and are mostly potato. The Terra Chips seem like actual slices of the root vegetables. I’m trying to slowly transition my family to “real food” and want to make sure I’m providing them with healthy (but convenient for me) snacks.

      1. That is what I expected. I even told my husband that they tasted like french fries. So, basically in moderation and not everyday? My kids like the Terra Chips, which claim to have a full serving of vegetables in each serving. My oldest son isn’t a big veggie eater, but likes those. Hopefully his appetite will change as I continue to introduce more food. Thanks for your help and advice!

  36. I have tried to look up protein powders on the 100 days site, I like my smoothies but withour extra protein there is too much sugar in most smoothies. All fruit has sugar and I need to counteract that. I have found nothing on Protein Powder. Any recommendtions? Eva

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Eva. If you want protein I would recommend adding peanut or another nut butter to your smoothies instead of protein powder. Jill

    2. Stephanie Dasher

      I really like Amazing Grace from Earth Fare. They have a chocolate protein powder that I mix with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a banana. Delicious!

    3. Look for Tera’s Whey (you can purchase it online). It’s organic and BGH free. It’s made here in Wisconsin using the leftover whey from our artisan cheese makers. They have a plain whey powder, but their flavored wheys are made with real ingredients as opposed to chemicals and artificial flavors.

  37. I have been following your emails for a few weeks now. I have an inquire about spreads such as mayo or heavy dressing for egg or tuna salad. We have chickens so I need to use our eggs. If I make homemade mayo would that be ok. Just haven’t seen anything for dressings or spreads. Thanks Good Job here

  38. Hi there! Love your blog! I am all about healthy living, my other half is a big guys who loves his big portions of meat and potatos any ideas on how to help him get on board?

  39. I have always wanted to eat without all the additives but wasn’t sure how.. So glad I found you.. Your meal plans and grocery list are so much help. I was wondering about portion size.. I am single and cooking for myself without alot of left overs is hard..
    How can I modify the meal plans???

    1. Assistant to 100 Days

      You could always freeze the cooked leftovers. You could also consider only buying a quarter of the fresh fruit or the amount you expect to eat. Good luck!

    2. Amy-
      I’m a college student, and I just started this challenge, and man that’s what I said luckily I have a room mate who can help me eat it but I stretch the meal out for at least two days, like i’m planning on making the slow cooker chicken, because of what the chicken is going to end up like I’m going to make chicken salad, and leave a little chicken so I have lunch and be able to eat for a good while. Freeze, and stretch!

  40. Howdy, I was very excited to come across the website. My only concern of starting this is that my husband likes meat and a lot of the recipes are vegetarian and don’t seem to fit the “man appetite” Any suggestions on how to do this and satisfy him? Thanks

    1. MotherLodeBeth

      Would someone please explain what a ‘man appetite’ is? The idea that meat and men go together isnt the norm in many countries. And what about the many men who play sports who dont eat huge amounts of meat? In fact many healthy fit me eat meat that is the serving size of a stack of cards. And eating slower makes the smaller amount of meat satisfy more. Sadly most Americans seem to suck the food in rather than eat and enjoy it.

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