REAL FOOD

10 Days of Real Food Challenge

Here is a rundown of the food my family ate during our 10 day “real food” pledge. All items in a box/can/jar are organic versions with no sugar added. I will be updating and adding new recipes to my Fabulous Foods blog so be sure to check back. Next post will have some tips on making the switch to more real foods!

Day 1

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, honey, cinnamon and pecans

Lunch: Peanut butter jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread with carrots and cherry tomatoes

Dinner: Garden salad with oven roasted chicken, cherry tomatoes, fresh green beans, golden raisins, raw sunflower seeds, feta cheese and organic litehouse ranch dressing

Snacks: dried apricots, cherry tomatoes and carrots

Day 2
Breakfast: Organic breakfast cereal with milk
Lunch: Apple sandwiches with peanut butter, raisins and unsweetened coconut and veggies
Snacks: fresh fruits and veggies
Day 3

Breakfast: Whole grain waffles with strawberries & blueberries
Lunch: Garden salad for me, whole wheat banana, honey and raisin sandwiches for the kids with fresh green beans and strawberries
Dinner: Stir fry with pineapple and peppers on brown rice
Snacks: bananas, cutie oranges, grapes and cherry tomatoes

Day 4

Breakfast: “Jesus” breakfast (the boys wanted to eat foods Jesus might have eaten) dates, apricots, raisins, grapes and nuts and popovers (not what Jesus ate, but just to add something filling- used whole wheat flour and green onions and orange peppers in place of bacon)

Lunch: Peanut butter honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread with veggies
Dinner: Leftovers
Snacks: assorted veggies and fruit
Day 5
Breakfast: Plain yogurt with fruit and honey
Lunch: Peanut butter honey and dried apricot sandwiches on whole wheat bread
Snack: Puffed brown rice, fruit, larabars and veggies
Day 6
Breakfast: Puffed brown rice with blueberries and bananas

Lunch: Southwestern chicken salad with lime juice for dressing
Dinner: breakfast: scrambled eggs, potatoes and onions
Snack: brown rice krispy treats, lara bars

Day 7
Breakfast: plain yogurt with honey and blueberries, scrambled eggs and bacon (yes, we love our eggs)
Lunch: peanut butter honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and salad
Dinner: whole wheat cheese pizza with bacon and green onions
Snack: lara bars, apples
Day 8
Breakfast: oatmeal with honey, blueberries, cinnamon and walnuts
Lunch: peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread
Dinner: Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans
Snacks: Brown rice crispy treats, apples
Day 9
Breakfast: Quinoa, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi
Dinner: Whole wheat bowtie pasta with garden vegetable sauce (made by adding a ton of veggies- zucchini, pepper, onion, carrots and tomatoes into a food processor) and veggie chips (chard leaves baked with olive oil & sea salt)
Snackslarabars, fresh vegetables and apples
Day 10
Breakfast: Whole wheat blueberry muffins and fresh fruit
Lunch: Quinoa black bean salad leftovers
Dinner: Spinach salad with oranges, walnuts and raisins with squeezed orange juice for dressing and whole wheat bread
Snacks: fresh fruits & veggies

What I learned:

Shopping was more difficult that I expected. It was kind of overwhelming trying to make sense of what was really natural and what wasn’t. I always read the labels when I shop but I’m typically looking for things like sugar and fiber, not the actual ingredients. I kind of assumed that a health food store would offer the healthiest choices, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. I wish I had read more closely on some of the other websites about what to look for. Like pepperoni- totally processed right? But is there a healthy alternative for my Friday night pizza? I found some boars head turkey bacon pepperoni but just the smell is enough to gag a person, I don’t even dare taste it.

Eating real foods was easier than I expected it to be. My kids were fully on board with munching on fruits and veggies all day- in fact they’d rather eat that than an actual meal- and they loved the larabars and rice krispy treat snacks.

The challenges came when we came home at 4:15 pm and they were starving and I had 45 minutes to whip something up from scratch. The other challenge is our love for Ikea and the temptation to swing by for their free Tuesday kids meals. Granted, the vegetables are healthy, but I have no idea what’s in the mac & cheese.

I was truly surprised that my sugar cravings went completely away and have not resurfaced (even though I have two Ikea dark chocolate bars in my cupboard- they’re no longer screaming my name).

What I have in my cupboard: 

Below is a list of my intial real foods purchases to stock my cupboards, I spent $250 which is a lot less than I expected- most of these things will last me for a month or more (aside from the fresh produce). If you’re lucky enough to have a program like Bountiful Baskets near you, take advantage of it! It’s the cheapest way to get healthy produce (only $15 for what usually lasts a week) and it’s fun to learn how to cook with new vegetables.

I am lucky enough to have live where there is a farm delivery program- Winder Dairy. I signed up for a weekly milk, egg and cheese order $15.00, and can order meat and other dairy products upon request (around $30-40 per month depending on how much meat I want), a weekly bountiful basket $15.00 and then I can shop for anything that I still need (I’m planning on an additional $50 or so per week). So, if my calculations are correct, I should actually be saving money eating this way (assuming I limit meat- that’s where the real expense comes in).

Things I already had on hand:
White wheat
Oats
Barley
Brown Rice
Black beans, dried
Pinto beans, dried
White beans, dried
Lentils
Split peas
Pecans

Olive oil
Baking goods (baking powder, soda) and spices

Things I purchased for a total of $250 at Sunflower Market

Cashews, raw
Sunflower seeds, raw
Walnut halves
Yellow popcorn
Sesame seeds

Coconut, unsweetened shredded
Apricots, turkish dried
Whole dates
Golden raisins

Quinoa
Wild rice
Puffed brown rice
Puffed millet
Breakfast cereal, organic

Spaghetti sauce, organic
Whole wheat pasta

Coarse ground pepper
Sea salt
Raw sugar
Real vanilla
Honey

Avocados
Cilantro
Green onions
Green beans
Red & Yellow bell peppers
Tomatoes
Bananas
Cherry tomatoes
Strawberries
Cucumbers
Carrots
Red potatoes
Blueberries
Grapes
Kiwi
Ginger root
Garlic

Ranch dressing, organic
Ketchup, organic
Maple syrup
Coconut oil

Milk
Yogurt, plain
Feta
Monterey Jack cheese
Butter
Sour cream
Parmesean, shredded
Mozzarella cheese

Whole chicken
Beef round steak

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5 thoughts on “10 Days of Real Food Challenge”

  1. I love that you shared the whole 10 Day Menu you used! {Do you mind if it pin it?} We eat pretty natural around here. It's hard not to on a farm! The cashier's at the grocery store are amazed by all the fruits and veggies we load out cart down with. It is more expensive to buy fresh, whole food but the health benefits off set that cost in the long run.

    The photos of the food you took are beautiful! Seriously one could print those out to hang in their kitchen for some inspiration to eat healthier.

  2. Thank you for posting all these great menu ideas! Love it. I need to make a list of healthy meal ideas I can use for reference when I am planning my meals. Your ideas will be helpful.

  3. Those pictures belong in a magazine! I aspire to your level… someday. For now, I'll just take it one step at a time.

    P.S. I just printed out a ton of your recipes. Can't wait to try them.

  4. I am so excited for your new adventure! (I also read the sugar craving one.) Impressive! I recently bought my first bag of granulated stevia– I can't believe it's taken me this many years to get any. It is fantastic! It does a flavor of its own, so you have to be careful with it. Not that I'm encouraging you to pick back up with the baking, but here are a few low-sugar tips I have figured out over the years: As a general rule of thumb, when I bake anything (cookies, muffins, cake, etc.) I always reduce the sugar by 1/3. Oncw your tastebuds and sugar cravings have stopped, this amount is plenty. If I am subbing honey for sugar instead, I use 1/2 of amount, since honey is sweeter and denser. If I use stevia, I use 1/3 the amount as sugar (brown or white or honey) and 1/4 the amount as stevia. There are few things I use only stevia for, since it is so distinct and alters the flavor by itself. But in combination with sugar or honey (with the sugar or honey in a greater proportion to the stevia) it sweetens things nicely, and you feel that much better about the sugar intake, since stevia is 0 grams sugar! Good luck on your new food adventure– I look forward to seeing some of your new exciting recipes!

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