Meal Plans from “100 Days of Real Food”

The Leake family photographed by: www.shannancasper.com

Written by Lisa Leake, Guest Writer

At the beginning of last year our eating habits were just like those of any other average family. We thought we were making fairly healthy food choices, although we certainly didn’t mind the occasional fast food meal or bag of chips. Then came a series of events, including an Oprah show, a book by Michael Pollan, and the documentary Food Inc., which forever changed the way we looked at food.

As it turned out, a lot of what we thought were “healthy” food choices were actually highly processed and not the best choices at all. I felt compelled to make some immediate and drastic changes to our diet, but I honestly didn’t know where to begin. I lost a lot of sleep over what I would feed my family if I could no longer rely on Goldfish, Suckers, Whitewheat Bread, and Fruit Snacks.

So, after some extensive research and a lot of label reading, my “all or nothing” personality decided to take my entire family, including my husband and our three- and five-year-old daughters, on the journey of our lives.

100 Days of Real Food

Beginning in May 2010, our family started a blog called “100 Days of Real Food” where we promised to go 100 long days without eating a single ounce of highly processed food or refined ingredients. We devised some basic rules to live by including no white flour, no sugar, and nothing out of a package with more than 5 ingredients. I started blogging about the highs and lows of our journey online in the hopes that we could inspire others to follow along.

The response from both readers and the media was amazing, but there was one piece of feedback we could not ignore. While everyone thought real, local, organic food sounded great they also thought it sounded too expensive. So once we completed our initial real food pledge we decided to take another 100-day pledge except this time we did it on a “food stamp” budget. For $125 a week our family of four survived on real food and real food only.

While our experience was of course difficult at times I just had to prove this could be done. What I did not expect were the amazing changes to our health or the profound and surprisingly permanent impact on our eating habits. After focusing on foods that are more the product of nature rather than, as Pollan says, “the product of industry” this new way of life has finally become our new normal.

I know there are many other families out there that want to transition from highly processed to real, wholesome, local, organic, fresh food as well, which is why I created three extremely detailed meal plans to help them get started.

Here’s what you can expect from these FREE 100 Days of Real Food Meal Plans:

  • Three 7-day practical “real food” menu plans designed for busy families
  • Complete meals listed each day for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner
  • Food quantities calculated for a family of four
  • Corresponding grocery lists showing what to buy (in order of the store) and total cost for each item
  • Budget-friendly prices compatible with what a family of four would receive on full food stamp (SNAP) benefits – $167/week – with additional cost saving opportunities because:
    • Coupons were not used
    • Sales prices were not used
    • Prices for organic items were used in most cases
  • All underlined recipes are available on 100DaysofRealFood.com – check out the Recipes & Resources Page for a full list
  • All recipes are working mom/dad-friendly, including tips on what to make in advance over the weekend
  • Almost every item listed follows our strict “real food” rules (including no white flour or refined sugar!), with just a few minor exceptions to keep the plan realistic for those busy working parents

Here’s the scoop on how to download these three FREE meal plans:

  1. Go to the “Meal Plans” link on the 100 Days of Real Food Facebook Page
  2. Click “like” if you are not already a fan
  3. Click on the image you would like to download. The top image is “Meal Plan 1,” the middle image is “Meal Plan 2,” and the bottom image is “Meal Plan 3”

Are there others out there who have also recently jumped into a “real food” lifestyle? What did the transition look like for you?

About Lisa

Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on 100DaysofRealFood.com as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Their projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients, another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget, and 100 days of real food “mini-pledges” where readers are challenged to cut out processed food one week at a time. Their award-winning blog is receiving national attention and was recently turned into a weekly syndicated newspaper column.

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Comments

  1. BlessedCP says:

    I realize your post is older, but I gotta tell you THANK YOU! Your plans, ideas and recipes have saved me so many times. thank you for sharing your experiences and what you have learned.

  2. I got tired of looking at labels and finding out how many chemicals are in food. My diet, The All-Food Diet, simply recommends buying foods with one ingredient. Bingo, it’s real food.

  3. You have a very nice photo.. You look so happy together.. Hope to hear from you again..

  4. Britney says:

    I would love to download these meal plans for my family of four but we don’t participate with Facebook. Is there any other way to get these?

  5. Any resolution for non-face bookers? I checked out the blog and the link from the sidebar gives the facebook directions for downloading the meal plans. And the comments were full of people without fb accounts…

  6. Thanks for another great post, and the free menu plans!

  7. I do not have a facebook account, is there any way I can still get this?

  8. $167 a week? Or even $125 a week? My current budget for our family of four is $50 a week! Granted we don’t eat as healthy, but wow! I should get food stamps-lol! Seriously, someone needs to teach food stamp recipients how to shop and cook. But I guess that’s another topic.
    Neat challenge, though. It would be even better if someone made the same challenge on a lower budget. Maybe I should challenge myself. :-) I will check out the meal plans to gain ideas for healthful meals!

    • @alyssa, I also thought the amount was high. It’s higher than our budget, which I certainly wouldn’t consider a poverty or bare bones budget, although we try to keep it as low as we can.
      I would imagine that the amount really depends on where you live. I’m not sure where Lisa and her family are, but it may be that the live in a higher cost area and that in other parts of the country, food stamps would amount to less than that? Perhaps someone else knows?

  9. Love the idea of your blog. I’ve never been to it, but will be reading it regularly now. And I must say that I love love love the family picture with the raised garden as the background. So simple and rustic without that fake artistic feeling.

  10. Great job and thanks for all the information. However, I won’t be joining you as this isn’t the right season of life for me to participate. Dave, my husband, has terminal cancer and he is eating processed food; that’s okay with me as he needs to gain weight…more than twenty pounds of the thirty he initially lost. I don’t think processed food as nutritious but at this stage of the game, it’s calories he needs. I’m still cooking from scratch, it’s a learned habit and have been doing it for more than 45 years -smile- and he gets three squares a day but when he wants junk food, I cheerfully accommodate him.
    Thank you for teaching young women how to cook, plan meals, etc. I learned at my mother’s knee and she at her mother’s knee and so forth. When I was going to high school, we had home economics and loved it then and love it now. Life is made up of cooking, cleaning, sewing, home repairs, etc. and those who have the basics at hand, have an easier time in life. This I do believe.

  11. This is great! And thanks so much for making it free :0) I am hosting a “One step up” challenge on my blog, for those who want to eat healthier, but don’t know where to start, and don’t want to go cold turkey. I saw the movie Food, inc too, and since then, I make sure to buy free range eggs (because I learned that just Organic isn’t good enough), I buy organic milk from cows that have been grass fed, and am considering buying a cow! Wasn’t that an amazing film? I am going to link to you and download your printables. I started a few months ago buying healthy food, mostly organic, and when you have that mentality, it’s great how easy it is so skip the cracker aisle at the store. If you stop buying the junk snacks, you make room in your budget for the healthy berries :0) I make my own snacks, or we have bananas instead, and the kids have no problems with that.

  12. I’m so glad you highlighted Lisa! She’s doing such an amazing job encouraging others to make changes.

  13. Yay! It made me so happy to read this. So many people I talk to think it’s too expensive to eat organic/real/whole foods and so they don’t pursue it. But it’s just not, and I really want to help others see that. I was also quite surprised, frankly, to see that for a family of four, the food stamp allotment is $167 per week. Wow. We have always had a food budget much lower than that, and currently as a family of four (plus a newborn) we only spend $105 a week, and I feel like that’s quite comfortable, but I do stay at home which does allow for more flexibility than if I was working. Anyways, loved Lisa’s post and her blog!

  14. This is a very inspirational story, and I would like to see the meal plans, but the FB page appears to be a pledge page, and I feel like I can’t click “like” without also taking the pledge to eat only real food for 10 days. That would take some preparation and I don’t want to feel like a liar by clicking it anyway just to get the plans. Am I on the wrong FB page?

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