As I shared on facebook last week we’ve been working on a project where we record and photograph every single thing our family eats for a week. I’ve been posting a lot of our kids’ lunches lately, and it’s provoked some readers to ask…”Well, what do you eat?” So it was a lot of work and sometimes hard to delay taking that first bite until we took the picture, but we figured we would just share it all! And what we ended up with were a ton of photos so I am breaking up the results into three sections: breakfast, lunch, and dinner/dessert.
Now, based on some of the feedback I’ve gotten when I share school lunches on facebook I feel as though I need to preface these posts with a disclaimer:
These meals are just a brief snapshot of our lives, and while I am sure some will feel we ate too much of X and not enough of Y, please know that we do not claim to be perfect (who is?). We simply do our best to eat a wide variety of satisfying whole foods while also only eating enough in order to feel full. In most cases we took pictures of our plates before we started eating and sometimes it was the right amount of food, but other times it was too much or too little. We didn’t prepare a special meal plan for the project, we just captured what happened. And I’d also like to add that it’s much easier to make judgments about one’s eating habits when you see their meal photos all laid out on one page like this (while you are NOT simultaneously trying to race out the door to school or work or after school activities)!
So in summary, this is a typical week at our house and while we are always open to suggestions and feedback we ask that you please be respectful in the comments as we put ourselves out there like this. As always, our mission is to share our personal experiences to hopefully inspire other busy families to eat more real food. :)
I would also like to mention that most of what we buy is organic including everything from produce to grains to dairy so rather than me saying “organic” over and over a hundred times please just assume that most everything you see is organic.
Sunday Family Breakfast: Scrambled local eggs, local strawberries, organic bacon, homemade granola chunks, and water to drink.
Most Mornings with/after Breakfast: I had a maple mocha 5 out of 7 days after breakfast and my husband had one cup of coffee with milk (no sweetener) most mornings at work. He also had herbal tea a few mornings instead of coffee.
Kid Breakfast Most Weekday Mornings: A homemade granola cereal and puffed whole-wheat cereal mix (1-ingredient store bought cereal – we usually get puffed brown rice, but it was sold out), bananas, and whole milk.
Weekday Breakfast for both Lisa and Jason (most days): Homemade granola with fresh berries (in the winter we use frozen berries), whole milk, and a glass of water. We eat the same thing most weekdays and like it. :)
Morning Snack for our First Grader: She’s the only one in the family who typically has an AM snack and it’s almost always oatmeal (by request) made with whole milk and topped with a drizzle of honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and raisins. She brings it to school in the pictured thermos to keep it warm until snack time.
Another Version of the Weekday Kid Breakfast: Homemade granola cereal mixed with a shredded wheat “biscuit” (Barbara’s brand), fresh berries, and whole milk.
Wednesday Breakfast for Jason: He was running late for work so he grabbed a banana, a Lara Bar, and some water before heading out the door.
Thursday Breakfast for our Preschooler: Our younger daughter doesn’t start until 9 A.M. so there is a little more time for something special…here she had plain whole-milk yogurt mixed with homemade berry sauce topped with granola and bananas.
Friday Breakfast for Jason and our Preschooler: No preschool on Fridays (and my husband happened to take that day off of work) so there was plenty of time to make oatmeal with whole milk, raisins, a drizzle of honey, a touch of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon for them. I still had granola with whole milk and berries.
Saturday Family Breakfast: Whole-wheat banana pancakes (our 7-year-old made them on the griddle by herself…hence all the odd shapes!) with local strawberries, a little pure maple syrup, and water to drink.
My kids’ lunches probably aren’t that much of a surprise since I often post them on Instagram and Facebook, but here is the week summary anyway.
- Saturday we all just had a random plate of leftovers or whatever we could find in the fridge (the 10-year-old’s bowl has leftover pulled pork in it).
- Sunday we were planning to have lunch at home, but our early morning gymnastics meet ran long. We were hungry, so we found a decent place nearby that sources ingredients locally. The 12-year-old had waffles with fruit, and the 10-year-old had eggs benedict with fruit (I ate the asparagus).
- Monday’s lunch for my 12-year-old is actually getting posted in the treats section as well. She went on a school field trip and wanted to get a bagged lunch like everyone else. She ordered the vegetarian one, but by the time her table was called only the deli meat sandwiches were left. So this entire lunch was pretty much a “treat” between the Rice Krispie Treat, chips and white bread, but a girl’s got to eat. And this was the best she could do for a picture for us LOL :)
- Monday my other daughter had a defrosted panini (with pesto, roasted bell peppers and cheese), sliced cucumber, oranges and homemade granola.
- Tuesday both kids had leftover Ricotta and Kale Quiche, apples, leftover pork tenderloin and a little salad.
- Wednesday is normally our “soup day,” and they both had homemade (defrosted) potato soup (from my first cookbook) with cheese to go on top, BLTs and apples.
- Thursday they had more of those defrosted paninis, a salad with cheese and apple, plain yogurt mixed with a little pure maple syrup and frozen raspberries and homemade granola.
- Friday is “make your own lunch” day at our house, and both kids had a variation of grilled sandwich, grapes and apples with peanut butter for dipping.
My lunches actually weren’t too bad this week (coincidentally) … no days eating a random assortment of snacks at the counter (or in the car)!
- Saturday I had mostly the same leftovers as the kids (pulled pork, corn, whole-grain crackers with tomatoes and salad).
- Sunday was when I took the girls out to brunch after the gymnastics meet and I had eggs benedict with asparagus.
- Monday I chaperoned the 7th-grade field trip and knew I would not be into the bagged lunch myself, so I carried around leftover homemade Butternut Squash Salad (with a little ice pack) and a Whole-Grain Pumpkin Muffin all day until lunch time. Once again, not only was I the only person who brought my own food, but I was also the only person taking a picture of it – a little embarrassing, but that’s okay!
- Tuesday I had the same leftover salad, but this time with leftover pork tenderloin pieces on top, a ricotta/orange/mint/honey toast on the side and a half a grapefruit.
- Wednesday I had leftover Cajun Alfredo with Shrimp (from my first cookbook) and sliced pears.
- Thursday I had a lunch appointment and ordered a Caprese sandwich with a salad on the side. I only hate half the sandwich and brought the other half home to my 10-year-old for her snack. :)
- Friday I had a light lunch of avocado toast (from my second cookbook) and some homemade popcorn (not pictured).
This is what my husband ate … we clearly had a plethora of leftovers on hand this week, which is not always the case!
- Saturday he had the same leftovers like the rest of us.
- Sunday he was on his own, so he just had a variety of snacks when he got hungry for lunch.
- Monday our 10-year-old made a second plate of her same snack (whole-wheat pita pizzas) for his lunch. I believe he ate more than what was pictured on this day, but this is the photo I got!
- Tuesday he had a big salad with some of my ricotta toast that I had made and a fried egg (with roasted bell peppers on top).
- Wednesday he had leftover cabbage rolls (from dinner) that had basically just fallen apart by then, leftover carrots and an orange.
- Thursday more leftover cabbage rolls with an apple.
- Friday he had whole-grain crackers and cheese, a grapefruit and some defrosted chili (from the freezer).
That concludes our lunches for the week.
Our week of recording our meals kicked off with dinner at our friend’s house. We brought the dessert (pictured down below) and the rest of the food (burgers, salad, crackers with cheese & tomato relish, chips & dip and homemade popovers) was provided by others. I do technically consider the handful of chips each of us had a treat since they are deep-fried!
This is what the rest of our dinners for the week looked like…
- On Sunday I made Butternut Squash Salad (with a homemade tahini dressing) and a Veggie Pasta Dish (that will be featured in my next cookbook!)
- Monday I made Ricotta and Kale Quiche, pork tenderloin and a salad for dinner.
- Tuesday we experimented with a Cabbage Roll Recipe (with sausage and whole-grain wild rice inside that ended up being too time-consuming and messy, but it was edible!) along with cooked carrots on the side.
- Wednesday I made the Cajun Alfredo Pasta with Shrimp (from my first cookbook).
- Thursday the kids had leftover pasta from the night before while the adults had a date night out (see below).
- Friday my husband made Shortcut Chicken Pot Pie for himself and the kids while I was out with friends (see down below).
Other Dinners (Out)
We had a couple of nights out mixed into the week.
- On Thursday Jason and I tried a new (to us) restaurant and had a mushroom and beet appetizer, scallops, chicken and a braised beef cheeks dish.
- Friday I went out with friends and shared the pictured appetizers with the table. My main dish was a salad.
On average we have a “once a week treat.” On occasion, we end up splurging a little more often. It’s nothing I stress about because I feel like we all eat pretty well (i.e., not highly processed) most of the time! Again, this is just a one week snapshot; things do of course vary somewhat from week to week.
- Saturday we went to a potluck dinner with friends and brought this platter of homemade whole-wheat cookies to share.
- Sunday (the day we woke up at the crack of dawn for a gymnastics meet) I let my 10-year-old get a double chocolate frappucino from the Starbucks in the arena. I ordered a latte with whole milk and one little packet of honey, not really a “treat”, but I happened to photograph them together!
- Monday my 12-year-old went on a school field trip and wanted to get a bagged lunch like everyone else. I also shared this on the lunch post, but her entire meal pretty much ended up being a “treat” between the Rice Krispie Treat, chips and white bread because they ran out of her requested lunch.
- On Thursday at our adult date night out, we ordered some cocktails (that were yummy, by the way).
- On Friday when I was out to dinner with some girlfriends, we were celebrating a birthday, so I shared a chocolate dessert with 6 others (I had two or three bites .. and it was good, too!).
And there you have it, a “Week with the Leakes!”
109 thoughts on “A Week with the Leakes”
Love your meal plans but what about a gluten free version? Not sure it would be that easy.
Hi there. I have adapted many of Lisa’s recipes with trial and error but mostly successfully. :) I’m just saying that you can do it with many but not all.
I have especially enjoyed this series. I hope you will do it again. It really gives insights into what a real food meal plan looks like for a week. More please! :)
I am so impressed with the meals you have created. I have been adjusting my kids diet to a whole grain, low sugar, more fruits and veggies for a long time but this has given me some great new ideas. I was wondering what type of dark chocolate you recommend. I am 1/4 a way into your book so it may be discussed in there but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I find most are either very expensive or have soy lecitin and other “bad” ingredients. Also, I give my kids “woven wheats” from TJ’s or Whole Foods. They have 3 ingredients and I just want to find out your thoughts because my kids really like these crackers. I make nachos, “sandwiches” etc with them too. Thanks so much for making all of our lives easier.
I love it! Thanks for sharing. My favorite breakfast was the one your older daughter made. All imperfect shapes and all! :)
I am an avid follower of your blog that focuses on health and well being through good and wholesome nutrition. I very rarely consume highly processed foods and your blog is a constant reminder to steer clear from the junk that the markets are flooded with. While I am not as vigilant as you all are, I hope to get there soon. I am a vegetarian who ensures most meals are home cooked and FRESHLY prepared and a fanatic ingredient watcher. My typical breakfast staples are milk, oats, yoghurt, avocado, eggs and bread. I check your page daily for your articles- please keep them coming. It’s some fabulous work that you are doing !
im not sure if you have ever heard of Dandy Blend? It’s a nice alternative to coffee. You can usually buy it from a health food store!!! Thanks for bein such an inspiration. We have not taken the 100 Days Pledge but are working towards it slowly. We are almost preservative, pesticide and sugar free. It’s been hard but slowly but surely getting there. Thanks for helping us make better choices in foods.
Hi Theresa. Nope, not familiar with Dandy. :)
Great ideas/inspiration here! Seeing the Larabar prompted me to share a similar item, recent find that I love and thought you might appreciate…Pro Bar Whole Meal bars. I think the ingredients are all organic, they taste great and are filling for a meal on the run. They are a little pricey, but not bad if it is the main part of a meal. There are several flavors and I have found them at Whole Foods and Earth Fare and REI had a couple flavors also. Sorry to sound like a commercial but I never really liked any of the energy bars before and I am very happy to find one that is not only delicious but has good stuff in it!
I’ve enjoyed getting some new ideas about breakfasts and lunches through your website. Thanks! I have a question about breakfast proteins, though. You eat a very similar breakfast, which I know will not work for my family. I see that sometimes you have yogurt, but if eating oatmeal or musli, does the milk you add count for your protein?
Hi GermanMom. Yes, the milk would be a protein source, but there is also protein in the nuts. Jill
I just found your website and am enjoying it. We eat similarly and have experienced good health as a result, children included. We eat very little grain and try to keep our glycemic index generally low, and also try to emphasize good fats and proteins over carbs. I find that I feel much better when I avoid grains, especially if they contain gluten. When we do make baked goods, we use almond and coconut flours often and love the results. Have you ever worked with those? I highly recommend them; you can make muffins and pancakes galore with much more protein, lower carbs, and good fats. Thanks for you work and spreading the word about healthy eating :) Lisa
I have used almond flour before, and I thought it was good (although quite expensive!). :)
Lisa – Where do you find your 1-ingredient cereal (the puffed brown rice)? And also, where do you find the shredded wheat? We have a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s but I haven’t looked that closely. Thanks!
I get both cereals at Earth Fare, but I think they are sold other places as well.
thanks for sharing! looks yummy and doable! we love your pancakes.
It all looks amazing! I just made your granola for the first time yesterday. My daughter & I enjoyed going to Whole Foods to shop for all the nuts in the bulk bins. I enjoyed it this morning but after looking at your pictures realize it would have been even yummier topped with fruit. We also baked & froze the mini bites. Thanks for a great site.
This is amazing. Do your girls not drink any milk? Only that from cereal? I only offer my kids water and the same milk you do, but it sounds like milk is not a drink in your house. Please share your reasons and research.
Our girls drink milk with dinner (and have it in their cereal as well). They have water as a drink the rest of the day. They both fought us tooth and nail on this decision when we first switched to water at breakfast and lunch, but we think water is very good for you and once we switched to whole grass-fed milk we decided to simultaneously reduce our consumption.
I was wondering how much granola you go through each week and how often you have to make it?
DolliMama – We make a new batch of granola about once a week.
I just wanted to add my thanks for your blog. I am grateful for the information, recipes, and encouragement that you provide. You have honestly inspired me to make a monster change in my family!! Funny, I just received an unkind Facebook message criticizing the food that I am feeding my kids for breakfast (I have documented our transition to real food on my personal blog). I admire and appreciate your transparency in regards to sharing your personal journey. Your honesty is what has made this transition easy. Again, thank you very much.
Hi Lisa! Thank you! Love this! Can’t wait for the rest of your meals, always looking for ideas. I saw some people posted about the puffed cereal…I’ve never bought it and know nothing about it, but, since being inspired by you to start Real Food, I have been making my own puffed amaranth cereal, it’s super easy! you can make it in a big batch for the week and it’s a grain I had never tried before and very nutritious. My 2 year old loves it. I found it on Edible Perspective after you posted about the “Other Real Food Blogs”. You’ve gotta try it! I mix some into your granola recipe as well. Here’s the link.
Wow! Thanks for posting that link. I had no idea I could make it myself!! Wonder if I can make other puffed cereals. I will have to research!
Thank you, Lisa. This is a huge help and so generous of you to hive us such an intimate view of your eating to help us eat better. We have several food allergies making it difficult (no whole wheat bread or tummy fresh milk for us!) But your site really helps us out. Thanks!
I realize this has little to do with breakfast, unless you count that jam on toast is a mighty fine breakfast food, but I wanted to ask about canning, specifically jams. I am totally lost in the maze of posts and blogs and advertisements so I thought I would just ask here, on what seems to be your most recent thread. My question: are you canning on a ceramic top stove? I cannot tell from your pictures. I will puruse my manuels soon but to hear of someone’s success would give me a little more faith. I’d hate to suddenly be without my stove and oven…
My son and I have been mostly real food people for a number of years now, with the driving motivator being my severe nut allergy. As a result, we’re both hard core label readers (he’s not even 14 yet!). I say mostly because I love to bake pies, cakes, and pastries so I am not about to give up that hobby. But like you point out, better out of my kitchen than some industrial warehouse kitchen. And with such a severe tree nut allergy, my choices are pretty limited because it seems almost everything shares a facility with nuts or peanuts. I know you are a nut fan, but we refer to nut stuff as little bags, boxes, or concoctions of death. :)
I just started canning jam a few weeks ago, and I did it on our gas stove that we use for everything. I hope that answers your question! Good luck :)
@ Reanna – I have been canning jams, peaches, apple butter, and apple sauce on my glass top stove for 6 years without a problem. It gets hot enough to get my canner to a strong boil and maintains that heat with no problem.
i also can jams (and lots of other things) on my glass top stove. I boil water first in smaller amounts and add it to the canner, otherwise it would take forever to bring that much water to a boil, but otherwise I follow the directions in the Ball Blue Book.
Thank You for doing this, we are still transitioning to Real Food, we are pretty much there but it is overwhelming sometimes to not only come up with a real food menu for every meal but also to make it interesting. I love seeing what others eat, it gives me new ideas. thanks again for all that you do.
Cool! I love seeing things like this. I used to do the exact same “challenge” on my blog years ago. I was contemplating starting up that ritual again and then I bumped into your post:)
Lisa, I just want to say thank you for opening up your home and habits to us (at least the eating part!). I am sorry that there are people that judge and send rude comments at times, but I am so thankful for your blog and actually seeing the food you eat in your home. Like the comments above, I get inspired and can wrap my brain around the idea of eating whole/real foods when I see the examples right there. I am not good with food and recipes and meal planning and it is so wonderful to have these examples! I am doing such a better job now feeding my family, but can still keep improving. Thanks for the help. And always remember that for every rude comment you get there are many more that you are helping and inspiring! Even if we don’t always leave comments!
Thanks for this! My 3 year old eats your whole wheat pancakes EVERY morning. I have to take time every couple weeks and make huge batches to freeze because she goes through them so fast. We used to add food coloring (I know, I know) but now when she wants colored pancakes we mash up blue berries and raspberries in the batter. She is quite difficult to feed so the more ideas I can get, the better!
Thanks so much!
I love seeing what others are eating. I always either get inspiration or encouragement in what we’re already eating. We eat granola or oatmeal for breakfast most of the week, too:)
You should be VERY PROUD of what you feed your family! We eat very much the same, and I have gotten many great ideas from your blog that I feel great about serving my family. THANK YOU…I am truly grateful! I completely understand that this is a labor of love because healthy eating equals more time in the kitchen. I am touched by your willingness to spend even more time sharing with the world!
Looks yummy! I think all your breakfasts look quite healthy too – lots of good grains, fruits and REAL food! I actually posted my breakfast today – mostly because it contained a recipe for maple syrup whipped cream I was sharing – YUM!!!
I don’t know why you were worried. It all looks great. It’s not good that people should think you are perfect anyway, nobody could live up to that. When I share my food it’s not because I’m perfect, but shows I eat what I like and still perceived as healthy and that is helpful to the general person. Great job! Looking forward to the rest.
Thanks for putting yourselves out there for us. Your family is an inspiration! I’m being a chicken about beginning the mini pledges (very picky eaters), but am so greatful for your shared success. :-)
I really like this peek into your morning meals. I always wonder how other people do things and how other people live.
I’m just starting to transition into unprocessed foods and downloaded your meal plans. Thank you for those!! They are a great starting point for someone who has been off the wagon for far too long!
I just wondered if you ever drink orange juice? fresh squeezed orange juice is a big treat for me- but I only have between 2-4 oz at a time
We have orange juice on occasion…but not very often. We keep juice overall consumption down just because the sugars from the fruit are so concentrated and it lacks some of the other good stuff you get from the whole fruit. Plus we think drinking plenty of water is pretty important so hopefully it will help our daughters get used to having plain water!
Love this post and I am looking forward to the others. I need to check out your berry sauce. I am transitioning from flavored yogurt to plain and am having trouble adjusting to the more sour taste, but I don’t want to add tons of honey or maple syrup. Maybe the berry sauce will help me get there. You have also inspired me to create my own food blog and start doing some research on my own. I have In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan on my night stand. Thanks for all that you share.
I’m new to the blog and totally diggin’ it…great job. Our family has been working on eliminating processed foods, and I love the advice of “shopping the perimeter” of the grocery store. Anyway, I’d be curious to learn if you and your family are moving towards eliminating meat and/or dairy from your diets. I recently read a book called The China Study that talks about the toxicity of animal based protein. Just curious if you have a take on that.
loved your blog post and pictures, can’t wait to see what’s for lunch!
Thanks! I am familiar with The China Study and we watched the movie that features the author called Forks over Knives. We are already conscious of keeping our overall meat consumption down, but we have zero plans to cut it out completely or stop eating animal products all together.
Gotcha. Thanks for the personal reply! I’m brimming with questions but I don’t want to “hog” your time…you’ve got 80,000 other fans to attend to. I’ll keep reading and enjoying myself. Have a great night.
Thanks for sharing your awesome example!
1. It shocks me that you’d even need to put a disclaimer like that on there. Actually, no, it doesn’t. It just disturbs me. No judgment here!
2. I’m craving granola like a maniac right now because of this post. Gonna have to make some tomorrow night!
Thanks so much for writing this! I am such a slacker at breakfast time – I feed the kids the exact same thing (plain oatmeal made with milk and topped with honey). It’s so nice to get some delicious looking new ideas – especially some lighter fruity foods going in to summer.