What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Let’s talk about real life. The real life my family lives out every single day.

Now, please don’t take that the wrong way. Live Simply is 100% authentic and genuine. In fact, every single recipe and tip that’s been shared on the blog, from skincare to cleaning to food recipes and tips, have all been created due to a need within my own home. With so many recipes, tips, and DIYs on the blog, it’s easy to look at everything shared and feel overwhelmed, “Do I need to create every recipe Kristin shares to live a healthy lifestyle? Will this lifestyle require standing in my kitchen all day and night, and perfectly plating my food around a beautiful table with veggie-loving kids?”

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Friend, to help answer these questions, I want to show you exactly what a real food lifestyle looks like for my family in real life. You know, the real life that starts at 6:30am when the alarm clock rings over and over again (I have a long-term relationship with the snooze button), the real life that requires sitting patiently in a carline with coffee in my hand, and the real life that looks like hungry kids and a husband at 5pm each night. That’s the real life I want to show you today. Because real food is about a lifestyle. A lifestyle that must work with carlines, work, hungry and sometimes picky kids, laundry, and Instagram ;).

Let’s take a look…

My Real Food, Real Family, Real Life Journal


Mornings generally start around 6:30am for our family. Okay, actually the alarm usually goes off at 6:30am, but after hitting the snooze button four or five times, I finally wake up by 7am. Upon waking, I come downstairs and turn on the coffee maker (which is always set up the night before…coffee priorities) and heat up a mug of water with a fresh lemon and a pinch of sea salt. At that time, I start preparing breakfast and Piper’s lunch.

Breakfast is kept super simple during the week, and I try to prep weekly breakfast foods in advance. On the day I was documenting this “in real life” post, our breakfast included homemade banana bread made with honey, butter, 4 super ripe bananas, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and walnuts (of course, baking powder and baking soda, too). The bread was made in the blender the night before, and baked in the oven while I finished up dinner dishes. The banana bread was served with butter, hardboiled eggs (made that morning while the coffee brewed), blueberries, and a glass of local orange juice (we live in Florida…fresh citrus abounds everywhere!).

After preparing breakfast and Piper’s lunch (we’ll talk about lunch in the next section), the rest of the family wakes up with some assistance from Mom. Showering, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and making beds (if we’re having a good morning) proceed the big yawns and early morning stretches. Breakfast is usually an on-the-go meal, or we sit around our kitchen bar for a few minutes before heading off to school and work responsibilities.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Regularly rotated breakfast meals in our home:

Our breakfast usually includes a seasonal fruit as a side. And of course, coffee is always served with homemade coffee creamer, almond milk, or raw milk.


I send lunch with Piper every day except Wednesday, which is pizza day at school and amazingly made with decent ingredients. Piper is a healthy eater, but a lover of routine and consistency, so he enjoys the same foods in his lunchbox nearly every single day: a sandwich (usually jam and a seed butter), a seasonal fruit, veggie sticks (cucumber, carrots, or celery), raisins or crackers, and sometimes natural applesauce or honey-swirled plain yogurt. When we have leftovers from the night before, I usually include the leftover food versus a sandwich.

Dustin takes leftovers from dinner for lunch. Other times he will take a chicken or tuna salad sandwich, soup from the freezer, or go out to a local cafe with co-workers.

Londyn and I usually enjoy leftovers from dinner, soup from the freezer, a sandwich, salad, or a meal that I just prepared and photographed for the blog or a freelance project.

Our lunches are kept very basic and simple in our home. Real food doesn’t have to be lavish or complicated to be good for you!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Regularly rotated lunch meals in our home:

  • chicken salad or tuna salad
  • salad and a leftover protein (if possible from prepping or a dinner meal) with a simple three ingredient olive oil, lemon juice, and dried or fresh herb dressing
  • sandwiches with a cleaner lunchmeat (or leftover meat from prepping or a dinner meal) or nut butter and jam
  • leftovers

Lunches usually include chopped veggie from the fridge and a fruit or dried nuts, if sides are needed.


Piper is picked up from school in the late afternoon and usually his first words upon entering my car consist of something like this, “Hi, Mom. Hi, Londyn. I’m hungry! Did you bring me something to eat?”  I promise, he’s fed very well at school. To satisfy his growing-boy-hunger-cravings I usually pack a snack for the car. On the day this post was documented, I offered him a smoothie made with homemade almond milk (made during my prep time earlier in the week), ground cinnamon, strawberries, blueberries, 1/2 an avocado (the avocado adds zero flavor, just lots of healthy fat), and a banana. Of course, snack-time is a whole family activity.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Regularly rotated snacks in our home:

  • seasonal fruit
  • banana or apple slices with a nut butter
  • cut veggies with homemade ranch dip
  • smoothies
  • “cleaner” crackers and cheese slices
  • homemade granola bars or snack bites: An occasional “home-cooked” snack, if I’m prepared in advance.


I’m a huge fan of meal planning, especially when it comes to dinner. Without a plan, I would be a royal mess every night, standing in the front of my fridge and scratching my head about what to feed my family. I keep a list of 20 recipes that my family loves, which are regularly rotated in my weekly meal plans. These meals are then plugged into my weekly calendar according to a nightly theme, for example:

Sunday: waffles / “bar” style (salad bar, potato bar, chili bar, pasta bar, etc.)
Monday: omelet or omelet cups / Mexican
Tuesday: breakfast burritos and smoothies / casserole
Wednesday: oatmeal / easy or crock-pot
Thursday: eggs and toast / Italian
Friday: muffins and smoothies / pizza
Saturday: potatoes and eggs (hash, country-style potatoes, etc.) / soup

On the night this post was documented, we had grass-fed ribeye steak (for Dustin’s 34th birthday!), roasted green beans and carrots, and sautéed mushrooms. And a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut with the steak.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Easy Weeknight Salad with 3 Ingredient Homemade Dressing

Regularly rotated dinner meals in our home:

Sides are always kept simple on the weekdays: roasted veggies, an easy weeknight salad, sautéed greens, or even raw veggie sticks or fruit salad. On weekends, I’ll occasionally make crusty homemade bread.

My kids don’t like everything I serve for dinner. I try to make a variety of meals and sides throughout the week so that I know they are exposed to a variety of food. If I know the kids haven’t enjoyed a particular meal or side dish in the past, I try to pair the meal/side with something I know they will eat (for example: they love roasted broccoli, but don’t care much for casseroles). We usually have hardboiled eggs in the fridge, which are always an option when a child passes on a meal.


I have a sweet tooth, which means there are many nights when I crave something sweet.  I usually satisfy my post-dinner sweet tooth by eating a date (or two), enjoying a handful of “cleaner” chocolate chips and some nuts, or enjoying a bowl of berries or a chocolate-peanut butter smoothie (blended with ice, almond milk, cocoa powder, peanut or almond butter, a banana, and sometimes 1/2 an avocado). Occasionally, as a family we’ll make homemade chocolate chip cookies or even ice cream, but most of the time our life doesn’t allow time for such activities on weeknights. Baking with the kids is usually reserved for the weekends.

The kids are generally hungry (again!) after bath and playtime, so before bed they enjoy a banana or apple with a bit of water. The kids know the kitchen is technically “closed” after dinner and dishes, so a simple before-bed snack is the only option.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!


Finally, let’s chat about drinks. Water is the drink of choice in our home. My kids love juice, but we simply don’t buy juice from the store very often with the exception of orange juice (Florida grows the best citrus). Two days a week I try to make fresh vegetable juice in our juicer. I love kombucha and purchase a growler to enjoy throughout the week from our local health food store. On very special occasions, our kids enjoy picking up a lemonade from a chain that serves “made with real sugar” lemonade and, of course, an organic/less-processed juice box.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Meal planning and shopping are done over the weekend in our home. This allows us to be prepared for the week ahead without making costly trips to the store throughout the week. Keeping a stocked pantry (oats, Simply Organic’s dried spices, nuts/seeds, flour, pasta, canned tomatoes, etc.), fridge (fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, milk, eggs, etc.), and freezer (frozen fruit and veggies, pastured meats, bread, home-cooked meals, etc.) have also been an important part of living out a real food lifestyle for our family.

What a real food family really eats every single day: So practical!

Real food looks different for every family. I’d love to hear what real food looks like in real life for your family.


  1. Okay, I’m officially hooked on your website. (As soon as I finish this comment, I’m going to find a place to subscribe!) I’m a gluten-free, sugar-free whole foodie with a major meal planning problem. I struggle to know WHAT to make, especially things that my husband will also eat, and so we eat a ton of processed “health” foods. Your daily meal planning is basic items centered around whole food, and sounds totally doable. I’m excited to read more!

  2. Hi Kristin!

    This post is incredibly helpful! I’m juggling 2 little ones and most days feel overwhelmed, especially with meal prep, which I tend to over complicate! Your true-to-life blog post encourages me that I can do this too, especially using your ideas and those of other readers! Thank you so much!

    1. Hey Sarah, I totally understand. I think it’s so easy to over complicate real food, especially with all the perfect Instagram photos and Pinterest ;). I’m so glad the post and comments were helpful! Keep up the amazing work!

  3. Love this post — such a great way to break down how you make a real food lifestyle achievable 🙂
    I HAVE to ask — where did you get your meal planner?! Did you make it, or purchase it somewhere? It’s super cute!!

    Thanks again for all the awesome information. Your site has been invaluable to me. Whenever I need an answer or a recipe that’s easy to understand, healthy, and delicious, your site is always my first stop!


  4. I am a single mom with a very busy life. I work an hour away from home and that is not with heavy traffic. I live in northern MN. I have a 15 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. I eat whole foods. Getting my teen and pre-teen to do the same is quite difficult. They split time between my house and their dad’s and we have quite different lifestyles. I do the best I can by providing fresh, organic, grass-fed, etc while they are with me. Most of the time they both choose not to eat breakfast- and I never miss breakfast. We do make our own lunches. I also make dinner- which is typically late because I don’t get home until 6/7pm. Anyway, my ideal would be that they eat this way all the time but I know that is not going to happen. I love your newsletter. It is inspirational to me. Thank you.

    1. Hey Sarah, You’re doing such an amazing job! Thank you for sharing your story. Real food, when applied to real life, looks different for everyone, and I love how you’re incorporating real food into your daily life. You’re an inspiration.

  5. We have recently began to change to clean eating and are slowly getting there. I have 5 adopted children, the oldest is 10. Of course there is no medical history and we recently have been finding a multitude of health issues with our 10 year old. She has allergies, asthma, fatty liver and is pre diabetic. She has significant liver damage and all testing has not determined the cause so we are possibly looking at a liver biopsy. Her doctor has taken her off all sweet drinks to start with and we have taken all boxed cereal out of the house. I canned 330 jars this past summer. We buy our milk raw and are beginning to raise our own meats. I have started making all our breads. Although we have made some significant changes we still have a loooong way to go. My biggest issue is my meat and potato husband that frowns on fruits and veggies. Not sure he will ever change, lol. Thanks so much for your site. You are a true inspiration.

    1. Hey Jerry, You’re such an inspiration!! What amazing changes you’ve made toward real food: bread, raw milk, canning, etc. Sometimes it can take a bit longer to “convert” a meat-and-potatoes-only foodie, but with grace and time, and presenting deliciously prepared veggies and fruit on the side of well-loved classics, I truly believe it’s possible. I’ll be praying for your family and your sweet 10 year-old during this time.

  6. Love this meal by meal detailed description of your family’s meal plans. We are a whole foods family and can relate to your eating plan. Could you share more details about what bread you use for your family? Thanks in advance!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the breakdown :). It was fun for me to really think about what we actually we eat each day–a bit eye-opening at how far we’ve come since our processed food days! I use a few different bread options: 1/ bread from a local health food store. 2/ Silver Hills brand (found in health food stores and even Target) 3/ make my own bread and freeze multiple halved loaves(https://livesimply.me/2016/01/20/homemade-whole-grain-hamburger-buns/ or https://livesimply.me/2014/02/05/soaked-whole-wheat-cinnamon-raisin-bread/).

  7. Hi Kristin, I loved this post! My two year old is a terribly picky eater who eats just a handful of foods. its awful, but we are working to improve things. The one thing that I can get him to eat is a PB +J sandwich. My husband and I like a good sandwich too, but trying to find a healthy tasty sandwich bread is a struggle. What kind of bread do you use in your sandwiches? Also, I love the idea of having a theme each night. I remember a previous post about that and must start trying it. Breakfast is something my 2 year old eats pretty well, so doing breakfast for dinner and every now and again is a great idea

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Shannon! I use a few different bread options: 1/ bread from a local health food store. 2/ Silver Hills brand (found in health food stores and even Target) 3/ make my own bread and freeze multiple halved loaves(https://livesimply.me/2016/01/20/homemade-whole-grain-hamburger-buns/ or https://livesimply.me/2014/02/05/soaked-whole-wheat-cinnamon-raisin-bread/). I would love to hear how the theme nights go for you!

  8. Hi, thank you for sharing! We have been eating real food since my 13 year old daughter was 2, so our whole family is quite used to it. I homeschool her, and since I’m NOT a morning person, breakfast is usually oatmeal overnight in the crockpot- I have a very small one I use just for this. Coconut oil, Kerry gold, plus chia seeds, hemp, nuts, and some type of fruit plus raw milk is added to it. Occasionally I’ll make eggs for breakfast, and I try to do bigger breakfasts on the weekend. Lunch is usually either leftovers, soup, egg salad sandwiches or chicken sandwiches, or a little bit of everything- like a hunk of cheese, fermented pickle, veggies, some fruit, some type of meat, avocado, and Mary’s gone crackers. Snacks are nuts and veggies mostly, sometimes smoothies. Sometimes a muffin made with coconut oil, and almond flour, and other nutritionally dense food. I also make beet, Apple and carrot juice often, and we like to drink kombucha and herbal tea. Dinners I’m afraid I’m not a planner and I really don’t enjoy cooking! I keep a well stocked pantry and fridge though so whatever I’m in the mood for I am able to make. But I try to focus on simple meals….we like stir frys, Indian food, (homemade sauces) lots of Mexican, roasts, baked chicken, and everything always with heavy veggies and few grains- which I’m not against but we try not to eat too much of, and a fermented good. I try to use my crockpot as much as possible, because I’m so busy with my daughter and her activities. My whole family enjoys eating like this, although we do go out to eat a couple times a week- (not fast food) and I try not to worry about the food as much then. We drink a lot of herbal teas, and although I LOVE sweets, I don’t make many because I would eat it all day long!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Erica! Wow, you all have been on your real food journey for a while…that’s awesome!! I love that your daughter has grown up in a real food lifestyle, what a blessing. I need to use my crock-pot more for breakfast…great idea!!

      And I’m with on the sweets, lol…I could eat sweets all day long ;).

  9. Long story short, we are super busy We are a family of four mom, dad, 15 yr. old son and 11 yr. old daughter! This is our choice and we prefer it this way it has been important to us to have active children and well, they just love their sports. Our typical year consists of soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, and basketball with some flute thrown in for good measure 🙂 Our schedules change with the sports season but now a typical day starts at about 4 for my son and husband, 5 for me, and six for my sweet pre-teen. Our day usually ends between 5 and 8 depending on if there was a game. I work part time for the local school district and my husband works full time about 30 minutes from home.
    We live in a small town in Southern California where the nearest “big city” is about 45 miles away. We spend so much time traveling to and from games and practices (my favorite family time) that our eating habits have fallen by the way side. Shopping is usually an all-day event since it takes place so far from home we often have to fit everything into those trips. I would like to get our eating on track. I have started by purchasing organic when I can, ditching the margarine, and using the crock pot a lot more in an effort to eliminate more of the processed convenience foods that are so tempting on a busy night. I have to admit we are not big fruit or veggie fans either.
    I am trying to build from the food that I know they do enjoy like eggs, nuts (no shortage of quality here in California) yogurt, cheese, beef, chicken, cucumbers, carrots, oranges (again, plenty here in Cali) apples, corn, potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers. I’m happy I came across this blog it has been amazing. I have already been making my own household cleaners (how I came across this blog), shampoo, deodorant, lotion, and just about every other beauty product for over a year now and so now it’s time to clean up our food act too!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Dawn! I’ve heard so many amazing things about the food in Southern California!! I love how you’re making real food and natural living work in your daily life! Keep up the great work! It’s so encouraging to watch families, living out daily busy schedules, make real food work.

      PS- I’m so glad you’re enjoying Live Simply.

  10. I like to make and freeze whole wheat sourdough pancakes, your overnight oat Flour waffles, or some whole wheat soaked or soured muffins on an afternoon so we can toast them for breakfast during the week. I like to add a preciously made orange granola to the pancakes while they cook and I serve frozen blueberries on the side (little man loves them) and a glass of raw milk with added Raw Probiotic powder. Or we have scrambled eggs and toast with lots of Kerrigold Butter, or a probiotic smoothie with a side of nuts. Little man doesn’t enjoy yogurt anymore (I blame terrible twos) but loves your soaked Oatmeal recipe.
    For lunch we have leftovers or einkorn pasta with cheese and butter, peas and corn. Or we have sandwiches, or Trader Joes Hotdogs with sauerkraut and mustard. My son usually likes a snack in-between which may be crackers, Banana, apple or cheese. My husband either takes a banana for breakfast or doesn’t want anything at all and he prefers to eat out for lunch now, but when we move closer to his work he will come home to eat and relax and I will have my work cut out for me to try and stay out of the freezer section since ready-made is his definition of real food.
    For dinners I try to plan, but don’t always succeed. Sundays are Pizza night since that is easy for me to throw together, I keep homemade pizza sauce in the freezer in small jars, pre-shredded cheese and Diced mozzarella, divided Applegate Pepperoni frozen so all I have to do is take out my fixin’s to thaw the night before, mix up my easy dough assemble and bake. (I love this system I’ve developed ;-)) Mondays are rice nights we still eat white rice since its what my man likes and I haven’t gotten to the point of premaking brown rice for the little man and myself. We have baked chicken tenders and Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce or Coconut Aminos and a Roasted Vegetable on the side, or we like Pepper Rice, which used to be stuffed peppers until we decided to chop them up and cook them with the filling, since neither of us were all that fond of the boiled peppers. Or,we really like your Beef Stir-fry which I use Ume Plum Vinegar instead of soy sauce. Tuesday is Soup or Sandwich Night in which we have have one or the other or both. Sometimes this means Indian Fry Bread with all the fixens, Loaded Hamburgers, or Hotdogs. Wednesday is Salad night and I try new recipes frequently since I have never been very good at whipping up a salad. Thursdays are Potato night in which I make Mashed Potatoes (which we love) and pair it with a Roast, Pork Chops, Meatloaf, and a Roasted or Steamed Vegetable. Fridays are Pasta night since I love pasta I make Scratch Spaghetti or Chicken Alfredo, sometimes a Pasta Salad, or Lasagna Roasted Broccoli, or whatever is in season, and sometimes Garlic toast. Saturday is my night off in which we eat leftovers, cereal, or go out to eat. One day it will be the little man’s night to make dinner. We frequently have dessert since I love baked goods and the process. We usually have some better homemade cookies or a pie or something around. I too keep some boxed snacks for my little bottomless pit. He is very picky right now, but I do have some einkorn sourdough crackers for him, and he loves the Pretzel thins from Trader Joes, and the Fruit Rope by Cliff, I need to get better at making fruit leather in my oven, I burned my last two batches. So sad. He loves eggs, but not so much hard boiled eggs, I’ve been meaning to try making your breakfast Egg Bacon and cheese Biscuits on him. I think it would be easy to keep little cheesy Egg wafers for him to eat with his apple slices or Roasted Broccoli. We’ll see.
    I love this post; it’s very illuminating to write down what my family is eating on a regular basis, exposing our diet really. Makes me feel more motivated to eat more vegetables! Ha-ha. Silly question, but how do you get your carrots so purty?

    1. Hey Bethany, Thank you for sharing! I loved reading about your daily real food routine. It’s so encouraging to peek inside the day-to-day of a real food lifestyle. I love how every real food lifestyle looks different, too! I felt the same way–writing down exactly what a real food day looks like for my family made me realize the areas I’d like to improve (like consuming more probiotic foods).

      I’m a huge fan of the carrots with tops (sold in most stores). For some reason, these carrots are much sweeter tasting than the big juicing carrots sold in bags (which I purchase for soups, etc.). But for snacking, the carrots with tops are beautiful and so sweet!

  11. Hi Kristin! Great post!
    Our house is not completely real food yet-we are in process and after years of processed foods, my kids don’t like the real stuff and I don’t want to battle with them every meal so I make baby step changes. Breakfast has always been routine. Mondays and Fridays are muffins, Tuesdays are homemade waffles/pancakes that I make on the weekend and freeze then toaster them up in the morning with strawberries on top, Wednesdays are smoothies and toast, Thursdays are scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast. My kids don’t drink much milk so they have yogurt or cottage cheese with their breakfasts. The weekends are free choice with bagels, oatmeal and the occasional boxed cereal as other options. I may change it all soon and let them get their own breakfasts every morning as they get older. Lunches are routine also with sandwiches, chips and a fruit on Tue and Thu, hotdogs, cheese and applesauce on Wed, quesadillas, applesauce and either trail mix, a meat or a hard boiled egg on Mondays, and Fridays are free choice where I will indulge them with what the other kids get at hot lunch if they want-chicken nuggets, corndogs and such with applesauce. They also like pizza quesadillas. Dinner is planned like you do-weekly, with a theme a night (thank you for that idea!). My husband is on his own for breakfast since he’s gone by 5am and takes leftovers for lunch. I have many food restrictions including no grains and eggs so I have to do my own thing for breakfast. Smoothies 3-4 times a week, buckwheat pancakes on waffle day, bacon or sausage with your homemade yogurt and plantain chips on egg day and a potato hash or double one of those on the weekends. I eat either leftovers for lunch or hotdogs with sauerkraut in a lettuce bun and Trader Joes chips or just a salad for lunches. For snacks I am still stuck in the boxed snack trap. I have made the switch to Annies and organic boxed snacks with success but our snack problem is a serious work in progress.
    I need to get more fruit and veggies in to my family too. I have rid my kids of 75% of their juice addiction and water is now the first thing they drink at every meal.
    Did you really want to know all of that? 😉
    I want to note-I found in a comment on another post, how you get your kids to take cod liver oil and I want to say THANK YOU a million times over because it works! My kids love it!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Brandi! It’s so encouraging to read how other families live out a real food lifestyle! You’re doing an amazing job–keep it up!

      I’m so glad the cod liver oil tip was helpful!!

  12. hi Kristin, your real food looks tasty!
    here is how we function in our family ( we ‘re french)
    morning starts at 6h30, my daughter usually do not eat when whe wakes up, so I fill her lunchbox with fruit, hazelnut milk and toasts to eat before school, as she stays 1h at the school daycare before class opens. My son drinks his bottle of rice milk and eats toasts or anything he’d like. I usually go for eggs, coffee and toasts.
    At noon, the kids eat at their grandparents as I am at work. They have healthy food so I am not worried. I usually take my box with leftovers.
    After school, granny is giving the kids their snack, my daughter loves verbena herbal tea, so she practically drinks it all the time! + fruit, or biscuits.
    when I come back from work, I prepare dinner following the menu I establish each week, vegetarian.
    on weekend I often cook cakes or specials with the kids.
    after dinner we do not eat anymore, my daughter is having another herbal tea before bed:)

    1. Hey prettyarty, Thank you so much for sharing! What a fantastic real food routine/lifestyle! Keep up the great work!
      What kind of herbal tea do you offer your daughter? I would love to introduce my kids to an herbal tea at bedtime.

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