How Do You Eat Real Food?

September 18, 2013

Other posts in the Eat Real Food series

What Is Real Food?

The Synergy Of Real Food

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Now that we know the what and why of real food, let’s talk about how to eat real food!

When navigating the grocery store it’s pretty clear that the wall of produce is as wholesome as it gets. But what about everything else on the shelves? There are some people who choose to eat ONLY fresh produce, meats, grains, legumes and 100% pure whole foods, but I would find a diet like that a bit too restricting. I want to be able to use bottled sauces, minimally processed dairy and tofu products, jams, nut butters, crackers and more to season my life and compliment the whole foods I hope fill up the majority of my diet. So how do you choose the best products to buy? Sometimes products might be labeled “natural” (an unregulated term) but you wouldn’t be able to make them without high powered machinery.

Do I consider the following real food?

+Larabar? Yes. The ingredient lists are so simple.

+A Luna Bar containing soy protein isolate? No. Isolates make me nervous. 

+Bread made with flour, yeast, honey, water and salt. Yes. Yum Great Harvest.

+Bread with mono- and diglycerides and soy lecithin? No. That suggests a longer-than-fresh shelf life to me.

+Sauces and jams made with real sugar? Yes. While it’s a bit processed, I consider it natural.

+Sauces and jams made with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners? No. Just too many steps away from real food for me.

The lines blur a bit with ingredients like brown rice syrup. Could you make that at home? You could definitely make a simple syrup with sugar and water. And you probably could figure out a way to make brown rice syrup if you broke down the starches and reduced them over heat. But we are getting away from nature’s proportions when we concentrate like that. They qualify under my “I don’t think they will hurt you, but they aren’t the best choice” category. Don’t necessarily avoid, but use sparingly. Not everything about eating real food is black or white – the grey areas require some gut instinct and moderation.

I remember I used to have such a battle deciding what to use to sweeten my coffee. Should I use caloric real sugar or go with the calorie free Splenda I loved that sweetened perfectly? One day it dawned on me: coffee doesn’t have to be sweetened. I’ve since learned to like unsweet coffee with just a splash of milk, and I actually really dislike it sweet now. (By the way, if I were to sweeten it I would use just a little sugar.)

Ingredient Lists

Not all bars, cereals, breads or soups are created equal. Check out the difference between brands of the same “food”. The ones on the left have much longer and processed ingredient lists than the ones on the right.

Bars

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Cereals {Note these cereals are even within the same brand!}

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Breads {You can always bake your own if you have the time too : ) }

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Soup

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I want to be clear that these are not hard rules nor do I think the ingredients that I don’t consider to be real food are toxic in small quantities or anything extreme like that. While I draw the line at purchasing products that don’t qualify as real food, I don’t go so far as to turn my nose up at them if I’m at a friend’s house or restaurant. That to me would be too restrictive, and what is most important is that I eat real food in my home the majority of the time.

Real Food Examples

I am preaching to the choir, but when I do a presentation on eating real food I always end with some examples of how to do it from KERF. Here they are for fun:

Breakfast Ideas

•Overnight Oats

•Hearty cereal with milk

•Plain Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts

•Smoothies

•Eggs

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Lunch Ideas

•Big salads with protein and a whole grain roll

•Whole grain bread sandwich

•Soup + whole grain toast

•Leftovers (presumably healthy ones!)

Easy Proteins

•Eggs

•Cheese

•Beans

•Canned fish or SARDINES!

•Tempeh

•Yogurt

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Dinner Ideas

•Bean + rice bowls

•Burgers [veggie, grass-fed beef]

•Frozen fish/shrimp with quinoa

•Frittatas

•Whole wheat pasta with veggies and tomato sauce

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Bon appetit!

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{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon September 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thanks for the ingredient comparisons, Kath. I realize I’ve been buying the longer ingredient list Kashi cereal- I will start to pay attention now that you showed this! Didn’t think it was even possible to find a cereal label as short as Cinnamon Harvest- really neat. I always love your meal ideas and your photos make the posts!

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2 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs September 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

Great stuff!
A balance of fresh & minimally processed food makes sense to me! Balance is what it’s all about!

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3 Jeri September 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

Even as a kid, I always wondered what Riboflavin is and why does it have to be in my cereal. I always feel bad when I am making something from scratch (i.e. Hamburger Helper) because I feel like I could be helping a person lose their job because I want to eat healthy. But when I already have everything in my cabinets to make it, why buy it when I can make it healthier?

Also as I research healthy options for myself, I am learning that some of the food we buy from the grocery store sit in coolers for MONTHS before it gets to us. Eggs can be 3 months old by the time we get them. I have been loving my farmers market because of this.

S/N: Hope to be able to stop by sometime before you close Friday as I goon my way to see the Hokies play!

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4 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

Oh fun! I’ll wave at you from a few streets away : )

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5 Allison k September 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Kath, maybe you know this….isn’t riboflavin natural? One of the vitamin b’s? Or is it synthetic vitamin b?

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6 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I actually don’t know the answer to that, but I will look into it

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7 Amy September 19, 2013 at 8:23 am

Oh yeah, and they add it into bread as part of the enrichment process. Ever since we started processing the crap out of wheat to make flour we started having to add back in the nutrients we lost (in nutrition this is called enrichment). Riboflavin is added back in to flour when it is lost during processing. This is an example of why you would always want to choose a product made with “whole wheat flour” as opposed to “enriched wheat flour” – whole wheat flour is less processed.

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8 seana September 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Can you tell me if this is what you classifiy as real food? I can see that there aren’t any preservatives. It’s muesli which I consider granola. I just want to make sure I am reading the label correctly.
Ingredients: whole rolled oats, whole grain wheat flakes, organic dates, unsulphured & unsweetened coconut, organic raisins, unsulphured cranberries, roasted almonds, organic flax seed (cranberries contain unsweetened apple juice and sunflower oil).
I’m a newbie at this and just want to make sure I am not missing something.
I just read your last post, thoughts are with Karen and your family.

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9 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Looks good to me!

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10 Katherine September 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm

It is B2.

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11 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Yes, my “I don’t know” was in response to the question about it being synthetic or not.

Allison, I still haven’t found a solid answer, but based on some reading I would guess that when riboflavin is added to foods it is synthetic.

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12 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh September 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the reminder that reading the ingredients is just as important as the rest of the label!

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13 Elizabeth September 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

Hi Kath,

I live in Alexandria, VA and buy bread from the Great Harvest near my house. Do you know the difference between the high-five fiber and the dakota bread? The GH Alexandria offers a low carb dakota and I would like to know if it is just as healthy as the high-five fiber.
Thank you for the wonderful and helpful post!

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14 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

Based on our recipes, which should be the same, High Five has flax, millet, oat bran and wheat bran for a big dose of fiber. Dakota is whole wheat with pumpkin, sunflower, millet and sesame seeds. Both are great healthy options! I don’t know about the low carb Dakota – that sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to me : ) Maybe it has even more seeds?

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15 Elizabeth September 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

I agree on the oxymoron! ha! Thank you for your help!!! Have a wonderful day!

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16 Jackie September 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

Thanks Kath! I really want to focus more on eating whole foods!

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17 Kinsey September 18, 2013 at 9:20 am

I agree wholeheartedly with this. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of just looking at caloric values and making decisions based on that. I’ve found that by focusing on foods that are higher in calories, yet more natural, like nuts and whole grains, I’m more satisfied throughout the day and my energy levels stay constant. Just because something is a diet food doesn’t mean that it has a place in a healthy lifestyle.

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18 Katie September 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

I love that you should two cereals from the same brand. I think we easily get distracted by brand names. Thanks for a refresher on what’s a good choice!

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19 Amanda September 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

GREAT post!!! Thank you so much for this info.

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20 Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food September 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

Great post! I’ve started looking at the ingredients list for everything I buy and while I still have some items in my house that I probably shouldn’t, I’m always trying to improve my shopping. I shop at Trader Joe’s a lot for this reason as most of their ingredient lists are really simple!

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21 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries September 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m just loving this series! It’s really unfortunate all of the processed/artificial ingredients that go into some foods these days. Thanks for all the “real food” ideas!

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22 Sandi September 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

You hit this one out of the park — way to go girl!

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23 Amy @ The Little Honey Bee September 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

I absolutely love these posts and your outlook on real foods. I was anything but a “real food” eater two years ago, but since I have made changes to my life and become a real, whole food eater. But after reading this post, you got me thinking that I may be too restrictive in my approach. I do turn down foods at restaurants/friends houses because I feel they are “not real” and part of my food philosophy. Sometimes I don’t want them but other times I second guess whether I “should” eat them. A dilemma yet a constant journey.

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24 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

I think my biggest pet peeve is when I’m trying to buy some kind of peanut or nut butter at a grocery store and EVERY option has some “fake” ingredient in it. Even peanut butters that say “All Natural” still have oils added to them. It’s so simple: peanuts. That’s all you need!

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25 lynn @ the actor's diet September 18, 2013 at 9:57 am

The Great Harvest in Paadena (near me in LA) closed. I am mortified!!!

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26 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

Ohhhhh noooo!

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27 Kim September 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

Awesome post Kath! Excuse my ignorance but rice that comes with the spices already in it (Knorr, Near East packaged brands)…is that considered real food?

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28 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

If you recognize all the ingredients as so then yes

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29 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

I seriously love this series on Real Food! When I started reading your blog (years ago!) was when I started paying closer attention to WHAT I’m eating and HOW it makes me FEEL! REAL food gives me more energy, makes my body feel better and honestly, just TASTES so much better!

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30 Colleen September 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been trying to change our family’s lifestyle and this post helps tremendously.

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31 Britta September 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

Awesome post :) I started focusing a lot on labels just over a year ago now. At first I was shocked at all the ingredients that I couldn’t even pronounce! Now, if I turn over the wrapper, box, or whatever and I see a massive list I don’t even read it but just put the item back! I try to eat mostly things that are homemade and don’t come in a wrapper – it’s the easiest way to eat real, fresh, healthy food!

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32 Sara September 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’m so glad you brought up brown rice syrup! Do you know what the difference is between it and corn syrup and HFCS, besides the fact that it comes from rice? I know HFCS has a different ratio of fructose and glucose – does brown rice not have that ratio? I can never seem to find much about it and I just wonder if it isn’t criminalized just because it is made from brown rice, which makes it seem healthier than HFCS, or even regular corn syrup. BTW, I love these posts!

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33 Lauren Paradis September 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

Hey! Great post!!

Are there any other BARS or BREADS that you can by at a grocery store that you would consider REAL food?!

Thanks,

LP

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34 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

Bars yes…Larabar, Pure, KIND. Breads – look for the ones baked in the grocery store and at the ingredient lists first. The ones on the shelves are older, but some still have pretty simple lists.

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35 Lauren Paradis September 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

Good to know! Thanks!

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36 Nicole September 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

Actually, all varieties of KIND bars contain chicory root (inulin), which as you’ve pointed out is a way to artificially pump up the fiber content. Some varieties contain soy lecithin and/or straight glucose (a syrup sweetener generally derived from – yup – corn). No harm in this in moderation, of course, but many commenters seem even more confused about what “REAL” foods are. Are we overthinking this? If it’s packaged and has an ingredient list, it’s a processed food. Plain and simple. Up to the reader to decide if that qualifies as “REAL”.

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37 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

The ones I have seen had simple ingredients but yes, always check the package

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38 Parita @ myinnershakti September 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

I’m really enjoying this series. And like you, while I would never burden anyone with my views on eating real food, I personally think it’s important to keep these “rules” in mind when I’m shopping and cooking for my family.

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39 Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

I always try to stick to the perimeter of grocery stores; I call it the ‘real food’ aisle (for the most part!!)

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40 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! September 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

This post pretty much aligns with my eating philosophy! I can’t understand how people swear off ‘processed or packaged’ foods completely because frankly, a lot of them are very clean and healthy! For example, frozen veggies are considered processed even though all they are are veggies! So it doesn’t make sense to say eating packaged foods can’t be healthy! They are a part of a real food diet for sure!

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41 Katie September 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I try to eat as clean as possible, but also get out of the grocery store as fast as possible. One of the things I constantly forget is to read the back of the food packages. Practice makes perfect :)

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42 Anna @ Fitness à la Anna September 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Probably the best post ever :)

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43 Tracy September 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Well said. Very interesting and noteworthy!

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44 Emily @ Emily Rocks the Road September 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I am really enjoying this series. I’m kind of a new reader, and I like getting all of your food philosophy al in one shot like this. And I need to do more smoothies; I just never think of it. I guess my blender is too noisy in the early morning when I want one; don’t want to wake the kiddo up too early!

I’m terrified of sardines for some reason. I bought a can to try months ago, and they’re still sitting there, daring me to give it a whirl.

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45 Alex @ Kenzie Life September 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I like these posts! I’d love to see one that deals with cravings–because I know for me at least, I’m good about eating real food when everything is peachy, but when I’m stressed or really busy, I start to crave unhealthier options. I’d just like to see your thoughts and ideas for healthy snacks to keep those cravings in check!

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46 Christine @ BookishlyB September 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’d love to see a post with tips for people who work outside the home 40+ hours a week and don’t have a Whole Foods kind of food budget. I think time and budgets are huge roadblocks from moving your diet from “semi-healthy” to “truly healthy.”

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47 Angelica September 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I hate to nitpick, but by your descriptions, Cheerios would fall under “I don’t think they will hurt you, but they aren’t the best choice.” Do you purchase Cheerios on a regular basis? I know you feed them to your son, but I don’t know if that was temporary and simply because they sponsored you. (I don’t normally eat Cheerios, but my husband does, along with Count Chocula. ;-))

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48 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Yes, not the best but not bad either. We continue to buy them.

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49 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves September 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

This is an awesome post! Thank you for the side-by-side views of the ingredient lists. It really is amazing how a single brand can make products with great ingredient lists and others with some scary ingredient lists. I also love that you are not insanely strict on eating real food 100% of the time. After reading your blog for a while now, I have focused more on real foods, and my body certainly appreciates it :)

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50 Elyse September 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Love this post, as I have all in the series! This is how I live my life and it’s so refreshing to see someone else doing it too. It’s why I’ve always loved your blog so much!

I too used to love sweet coffee/tea and now only like it with a small splash of milk. You can train your tastebuds to love anything if you try!

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51 Liza September 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

These are great rules to follow for someone who doesn’t have dietary restrictions…but being gluten free makes it much harder to find things without additives. I know I could make my own gluten free bread but I work full time and have a family so it’s just no feasible for me to do so. Many other gluten free items have additives as well. Such a bummer.

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52 Mary September 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I hear you, Liza. I’ve tried to move away from the “replacement” products. (They’re so expensive, too!) So I’ll try to have a salad with bacon and tomatoes instead of a BLT, or whatever.

But that’s not always possible, especially if you work so much and have a family to feed. And sometimes you just really want to eat graham crackers like a normal person again.

I highly recommend seeing a nutritionist, if possible (my insurance covered my visit, but I know that’s not the case for everyone, sadly). Also, have you ever checked out Foodily? You can search for GF recipes. Gluten-Free on a Shoestring is also a good resource.

Best wishes. Having an autoimmune disorder or an intolerance sucks, and the blowback from people who think it’s just a trend sucks too. But more people are getting diagnosed all the time, and the options and public understanding/compassion will only improve!

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53 Ali September 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

Thank you for speaking about the “blowback” from people who think gluten-free is just a trend. I have had so many people who say, “So, how long is that going to last?” when I tell them I’m GF. I have Celiac, it will last the rest of my life. They just don’t get that I can’t just eat a piece of bread and be fine or eat something that may be contaminated and not be sick for months. Because they see other GF people not be as strict, they think I can too and then I get the annoyed looks form them…

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54 Nicole September 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

I think these rules can still apply! I’ve found that many gluten-free packaged convenience items have *less* ingredients than their wheat-based counterparts – especially mixes for brownies, cake, cookies, etc. I agree with Mary that it’s tedious to hear people claim gluten-free eating is a “trend” that will fade away like any other fad diet when it’s an absolute requirement for so many (but I thank that trend for making GF shopping and dining so much easier than it was even 5 years ago). I truly feel that the fact so many people are diagnosed with Celiac disease or otherwise have gluten intolerance is indicative of something fishy about a grain-based diet. Ultimately it’s almost easier to eat a healthy diet when gluten-free, because so much junk is off limits! If you are an Amazon Prime member, lots of GF products are available with free shipping. We also avoid replacement products as much as possible but with kids there are times you need to make sweets or sandwiches for sure.

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55 Liza September 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for all of these suggestions! I have Lupus and am gluten intolerant so will probably have to be gluten free forever. I do have amazon prime…what are your favorite brands of gluten free items? Or even favorite specific things that you guys get? I am always on the look out for other options!

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56 Erika @ fortheloveofpeanutbutter September 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Lovin’ this real foods series :) My most recent fave cereal is by Nature’s Path and it’s called Optimum Slim Vanilla. Super short ingredients list, and there’s 3 different kinds of cereals in it, so there’s so much crunch! Plus, very low in sugar :) I usually get my bread from Great Harvest, but it’s somewhat of a drive and here in Oregon, we’re lucky enough to have Dave’s Killer Bread at most grocery stores :)

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57 Mary September 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Dave’s Killer Bread is so amazing, I’m glad I don’t live in that part of the country any longer, since I have to be GF on doctors’ orders now. I would do anything to be able to eat a Sin Dawg again. ANYTHING. (Not so low in sugar, but whatever)

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58 David September 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

It’s incredible to think that eating real food is so far outside of the normal diet for a lot of people these days, what has the world come too! Considering how precious life is, I’ve made sure my children have adopted healthy eating habits from day 1, although I do allow them 1 cheat day per week. It’s been necessary only since they started going to school and learned how delicious the disgusting food their peers are allowed to eat.

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59 Jen and Emily @ Layers of Happiness September 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

LOVED the post! I’ve been wondering what exactly you mean by “real food” lately and you read my mind answered my question! Haha! I have recently started paying more attention to the ingredients on the food label rather than just the calories and I have been shocked by quite a few of my favorite products at how many bad ingredients there are.

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60 Allison k September 18, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I love pacific soups, and they are leagues better than traditional canned of course, but I always take pause when a label says “natural flavors” those words are essentially meaningless to me. Did you lean anything in your RD schooling that could shed some light on that? I know the FDA doesn’t regulate the word “natural”…

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61 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Usually they are the last part of the ingredients list which means they are in very small amounts. I would give them the benefit of the doubt. I think if there were seriously fake things in there people would be up in arms like they are about HFCS

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62 liza September 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

Natural flavors normally means MSG.

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63 carrie September 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Love love love this post. I have been reading your blog for several years now although I don’t recall ever leaving a comment. Your blog is the only blog that I check daily. Your writing and photography are amazing. You and your family are such an inspiration!!

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64 Anna September 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I think my previous post got eaten. Anyways, I know this if a little off topic but I was curious about whether freezing Great Harvest bread affects the taste? I know it has simpler ingredients and I wondered if that affected that at all.

Thanks!

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65 KathEats September 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Yes you can definitely freeze it. Just be sure to double bag and thaw on your countertop

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66 Anna September 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Perfect! Thanks for the info!

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67 Amelia September 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Loving these posts. Crazy, but even when I’m not hungry, you have a way of making me! Good news is, I needed some ideas for packing my lunch tomorrow and thanks to all the pretty pics in this post, I’m all set to go! Thanks :)

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68 Mary September 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm

What are your thoughts on Carrageenan?

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69 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

It’s kind of like inulin – a “natural” part of a food is extracted and then pumped into something else. It’s not exactly as nature intended. It’s in the gray areas – I don’t think a little will do anything harmful. But say you’re a dairy-free person who drinks a ton of soy milk or almond milk made with it… I might choose a brand that doesn’t have it.

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70 bridget S. September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Perhaps this is forthcoming, but is there any way to see a list of some staples you purchase or brands that are notable? I would love go make my own bars & crackers, but it’s not always reasonable time wise. Also, how do you feel about pastas? They seem to be “real food,” but can also be heavily processed. Thanks for the suggestions. Great series here!

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71 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 10:54 am

I could think about doing a post like this. I don’t really eat a lot of bars, but Larabar, Pure bar and the Health Warrior chia bars are all good. Pasta I think is pretty minimally processed. I usually buy store brand whole wheat.

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72 Pam September 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Excellent article, but of course it is! KERF is great because Kath shares her passion. Thank you! I will look at labels differently from now on.

Pam

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73 Connie September 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Great post, Kath. I am really appreciating all of your insights about real foods! I have a son a little younger than Mazen and your blog has helped us eat healthy as a family.

I was at a my farmer’s market recently and picked up some Great Harvest bread, which I learned about through your blog. While I love the bread (cheddar garlic!), when I got home, I noticed that one of the ingredients was high fructose corn syrup, which I try to avoid. Is this something all Great Harvests use?

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74 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 10:54 am

When HFCS first became popular some Great Harvest started using it in place of honey because it was cheaper. Since the backlack against it, most stores are now back on honey (ours is) but some are still using HFCS. I would see if maybe another bread they make is made with honey, or at the least let them know HFCS is a concern for you.

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75 Lindsey the veganator September 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Kath,
You mentioned that isolates make you nervous. May I ask why? As a vegan (and like many people) I want to make sure I get enough protein in my diet. Occasionally I use a soy isolate protein powder in my smoothies, should I refrain from doing this? Thanks!

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76 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

I came across some reading during my internship that raised a red flag for me about the way they react in the body. I just spent some time looking for it, but I can’t seem to find anything thus far. I wouldn’t recommend them because they have been processed, but a good vegan option would be the protein powders that are made from whole plants – dehydrated pea proteins and the like. Check Vega’s line. Or just using whole soy milk as your protein source instead of a powder. Perhaps some soft tofu.

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77 Lindsey the chocolate cake vegan September 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

Great reccomendation, thanks for the help!

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78 Jillian September 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Isolated proteins are actually chemically extracted- that was my reason for giving them up ;)

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79 Heather @ Fit Mama Real Food September 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Kath I love this post, and it reminded me about sardines again! It’s been way too long since I’ve had them and I think Hunter’s never tried them. you make eating real food so simple. Keep it up :)

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80 Lisa @bitesforbabies September 19, 2013 at 12:32 am

What a GREAT post! I try to make healthy meals every day…although, like you said, the lines get crossed with ingredients such as agave syrup, brown rice syrup, etc. It is frustrating to say the least…you THINK you are making the healthiest choices and do your research but then something always comes up, “proving” that the “healthy” stuff isn’t so healthy at all! My motto is, everything in moderation (otherwise you can go crazy trying to monitor every ingredients that goes in your mouth!).

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81 Dina September 19, 2013 at 3:49 am

I have to admit that I do have packaged and processed foods but I always check to see what they ingredient they contain. There really are some healthy options out there.

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82 Cait's Plate September 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

Loved this post! Well thought out, explained and executed! :)

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83 Tina B September 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

This helps so much. I have to stop getting my foods from a box or can!!! Thank you!

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84 Anna @ Fitness à la Anna September 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I just read this post again. I love how you compared the healthy vs. not-so-healthy versions of certain goods, it becomes so clear which are the ‘real’ foods! It can be a bit overwhelming when you are at the grocery store, but label-reading is the most important thing to do! Thanks again for posting this :)

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85 sarah September 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I’m loving this series, Kath!

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86 Lexi September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Can you (or anyone else reading!) recommend some budget-friendly ways to buy/prepare real food? I recently decided to make a trip to Whole Foods for my weekly groceries and I still have sticker shock! Eating well is becoming more important to me now that I am a mommy, but we are currently a one income family and our budget is tight. I would LOVE to get some tips! THANKS!

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87 KathEats September 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Sounds like a good blog post : )

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88 kathy v September 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I agree! I hope you do a blog post.

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89 Lexi September 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I would love that!!!

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90 Anne September 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

Loving these posts!

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91 Molly September 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

You might find the series: “Health Lessons from International Cuisine” quite interesting:
http://chriskresser.com/category/food-nutrition

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92 Ttrockwood September 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Great post!!!
I have a friend who is always buying 100calorie sandwich thins, those fiber one snack bars, the “now more protein added” cereals and such.
Would you ever consider a post showing a similar yet less processed alternative for so many of the enhanced fake foods out there? She is convinced all the added fiber/whatever is keeping her full but i think she is just wasting her $…… And snacking on science experiments.

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93 Debbie @ Deb Runs September 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I love this series! Thanks for the real food breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas!

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94 Patent lawyer September 23, 2013 at 4:36 am

I really admire your focus on fresh, not too processed food. But also the fact that you’re not overly, painfully restrictive, like by disallowing sugar. That’s the balanced view! I’ve always found it interesting how much of a debate there ends up being around terms like “real” and “raw” and “paleo” when it comes to food, everyone has their own fixed, determined stance.

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95 Liesl @ Fitnessinthekitchen September 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

This post is fantastic and simple, you truly hit it out of the park!
I am trying my best to be more mindful of labels and such, keeping my pantry staples as real as can be. I have a question though? I’ve been looking everywhere for a powdered milk option without soy lecithin and can’t find a thing? Do you know of one, or can you recommend something? I live out in the middle of nowhere, literally, 6 hours from the store and so I make my own yogurt with powdered milk because we only go to the city about every 3-4 months. I’ve tried making it with a more “real” powdered coconut milk which is delicious in other things, but it just doesn’t work to make yogurt. Any suggestions you have would be helpful…and I know it’s a little thing, but I’m just trying my best.

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