Real Food Made Quick

There is nothing more frustrating then being stuck in the kitchen all..day..long. You know you have had those days if “real food” is part of your daily vocabulary! Let me introduce you to Melissa from RealFoodEater.com. She has some awesome tips!



As much as I love feeding my family Real Food, a big challenge of eating Real Food is figuring out how to NOT be in the kitchen all day preparing it. I get asked lots of questions about Real Food and the top two are probably 1) Where to do start? and 2) How can I make it quicker?

Honestly, I think Real Food often takes longer to prepare. Not because it’s harder to make, but because if you are choosing to eat unprocessed, whole, nourishing foods, you are going to have to make them yourself. No more ripping open a cardboard box, heating up part of it, mixing in the other part and calling it dinner. Instead, you will be baking it slow in the oven or crockpot, peeling, dicing, sauteing, roasting, drizzling, mixing and seasoning. And you know what? It’s going to taste SO MUCH BETTER. I can almost guarantee that it’s also going to be more enjoyable to eat, too. Why? Because things that take time cause us to appreciate them more, savoring every bite.

I LOVE this quote from Joel Salatin in his book “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” as he talks about store-bought, processed food versus Real Food:

“Processing in modern America seems devoted to making food life-less. Taking out nutrients and then adding synthetics creates what is euphemistically called shelf life. Not much life about it, More like embalming a cadaver and calling it body extension. If we’re going to stay true to digestive bacteria, we need to eat things that will perish. In order to perish, they need to be living. If they aren’t living, they can’t perish. If they can’t perish, they can’t give life. Contrary to most popular thinking, perishability is really a good thing, not a bad thing. The next time you buy any food, just put it out on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. If it doesn’t significantly change in appearance, taste, odor, or texture, you just wasted your money on dead stuff. Except for when it’s dehydrated, living food at ambient temperature has a relatively short existence. Living food is normal food.”

And folks, living food takes time to prepare!

But don’t despair, there ARE a few things you can do to help make things not quite so time-consuming. Here are a few that I incorporate on a daily basis that help me survive and still make it possible to feed my family of 6 healthful, Real Food meals:

1. Meal Planning.

This is the single most important thing you can do to save time. If you aren’t willing to do this or flat out refuse, you might as well stop reading this now. It just WILL NOT work without meal planning. Not only will you be scrambling around trying to figure out dinner each night, but I bet you a $100 that you will spend at least that much more on your groceries because of it. Read more about how I plan my meals at 30 Days of Dinners.

Seriously, it is so much easier to take an hour once a month to plan out your dinners for the next 30 days than to fret, stress and try to make stuff up as you go. You will just get frustrated and will end up compromising. Been there. Done that. Just take my word for it!

2. A Buying Club.

Find one and join one. This is how I got started in my Real Food journey. I hooked up with a local buying club and it took the guesswork out of where to shop and what to shop for. Plus, it saves time since you’ll be getting MOST of your groceries and food staples in one place. No more running around to different stores and trying to figure out the best prices on Real Food. Read more about why you’d want to Join a Buying Club.

3. Make Double and Freeze Half.

For example, if you are already making a big 9×13 pan of something (or a big pot of soup), its JUST as easy to make a double batch and freeze half of it for another meal! Then, on those busy nights you have something easy to throw in the oven or on the stovetop for lunch/dinner.

4. Buy (and cook) Whole Chickens.

I love the frugality of cooking up a whole chicken. Not only do you get the initial meal of a juicy, healthful (hopefully organic and pastured!) roast chicken, but you can turn the bones into chicken stock to use for future meals and use the leftover chicken in soups or casseroles later in the week.

5. Prep as Much as You Can at Once.

If you are already chopping up carrots, onions and other veggies for a meal, why not just chop up the rest of what you’ll need for other meals that week? Store them in airtight containers in the fridge, cutting down your prep time for other meals. This is another reason why meal planning can come in handy – you’ll already know how much chopping you’ll need to do!

6. Give Yourself a Little Grace.

Unless you have the unlikely benefit of being able to stay home ALL the time and not having anything else to do (and no little people to try to keep alive), it is very difficult to eat Real Food 100% of the time. It can be done, but for most of us it is just not realistic. Give yourself a little grace. If you have to buy tortillas (gasp!) instead of making your own once in a while, so be it. No one is going to die over it and quite frankly, it’s not worth stressing about. That’s why we follow The 80/20 Rule of Healthy Eating at our house!

7. Have a Few, Quick Favorites…

to incorporate into your meals. Don’t be fooled that Real Food = complicated. It can be easy to change up some of your family favorites into healthier, real food options. One of our favorites is the Beef & Bean Casserole. And homemade soups are always a good quick option, too. Just substitute whole, real ingredients for those fake ones! The best part will be the satisfaction that you will have from knowing you are feeding yourself and your family Real Food.


How about you? What are your favorite quick, Real Food Recipes?



Melissa blogs over at RealFoodEater.com. She lives in West Michigan with her pastor-husband and 4 kids. She works as an RN one day a week, plays piano, loves cooking (and eating!), runs her local buying club and is on the board of her their local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.




~Stay Gutsy, Caroline

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  1. i love this post! it’s been new to me, not having the time i once did to cook real, whole meals. we’ve been eating the same 3 things generally for the past 3 months on weeknights because i need to get myself organized. we’re certainly eating more processed stuff than we used to. and i hate that. your suggestions are very helpful 🙂

    thank you for sharing your post with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! i look forward to seeing what other seasonal & whole/real food posts you have for us this week! xo, kristy


  1. […] read the rest (and 7 of my time-saving tips!) head over to my GUEST POST over at  GUTSY.COM! Tweet Related PostsReal Food Testimonies: Anya @ My Garden […]

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