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 Cutting out Processed Food

1. 10 Reasons to Cut Out Processed Food

2. 14 Steps to Cut Out Processed Food

3. 10 Highly Processed Foods to Avoid

4. 8 Ways to Avoid Processed Food

5. 10 Common Misconceptions

6. 8 (More) Common Misconceptions

7. 10 Items I Never Purchased Before Cutting Processed Food

8. 6 Ways to Ease the Switch to Whole Grain

Real Food Tips for Meal Ideas

9. 22 On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

10. 4 Super Quick Wholesome Dinners

11. 10 Recipes to Cook with Your Kids

12. Salad Inspiration

13. Top 10 Travel Snacks

14. 5 Ways to (Easily) Eat More Kale

Real Food Tips for School Lunches

14. 10 Ways to Switch Up Your Kids Lunch

15. Nut-Free School Lunch Ideas

16. 21 Ways to Plan Ahead for School Lunches

17. School Lunch FAQ

Real Food Tips for Shopping and Meal Planning

18. 10 Pointers for Farmers’ Market Shopping

19. 12 Ways to Keep it Cheap

20. 3 Deceiving Food Products

21. 8 Meal Planning Pointers

22. Buying “Real Food” from a Mainstream Supermarket

23. 21 Essentials for Freezer, Pantry & Fridge

Miscellaneous Real Food Tips

24. 12 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater

25. 34 Random Food & Cooking Tricks

26. My Favorite Kitchen Tools and Appliances

27. 7 Reasons I Hate Artificial Food Dyes

28. 5 Easy Changes for the New Year

29. 10 Ways to Be Less Wasteful

30. How to Use Freezie Pop Molds

31. How to Pack a Cooler (Safely)

Real Food Tips for the Holidays

32. 7 Healthy Holiday Parties (for kids!)

33. Easter Without Junk Food!

34. 20 Ways to do Halloween without candy!

35. The Only Halloween Candy I’ll Ever Buy plus Alternatives

36. 5 Uses for Leftover Turkey

37. Advent Calendars (without candy!)

38. 12 Homemade Holiday Gifts (that aren’t cookies!)

39. Kitchen Tool Holiday Gift Guide

Also, check out:

99 thoughts on “Real Food Tips”

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  1. 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

  2. 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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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! :)

  6. 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!

  7. 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:

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!!

  14. 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?

  15. 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!!

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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…

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. 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 :(

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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?

  28. 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!

  29. 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.