31 Real Food Baby Steps |

31 Real Food Baby Steps

Erin November 12, 2011

by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

Today is my 31st birthday. I have NOT been eating real food for 31 years. In fact, I very much still consider myself a real food newbie—just like many of you.

A newlywed friend recently asked me about some simple steps she could take to start eating better. I went back to my newlywed days—almost 7 years ago—to remember how we ate then compared to how we eat now.

And I came up with 31 baby steps to give to the newest of real foodies! I hope this helps those readers just starting out! And if you’re an old pro, feel free to pass this list along to your newbie friends and family.

1.     Switch from white rice to brown.

2.     Switch from boxed mac ‘n cheese to making your own. It’s not hard—and it tastes so.much.better!

3.     Switch from instant to homemade mashed potatoes. Again, it’s not hard, and any extra time it tastes will be well worth the much improved taste! I’ve tried some fancy versions, but my hubby’s favorite is still the simple potatoes+milk+butter+salt version.

4.     Switch from canned to frozen fruit and veggies. Feeling extra daring? Switch to fresh, in-season produce! (You’ll get bonus points if it’s local and organic!)

5.     Switch from white sugar to a healthier sweetener, like sucanat, honey or real maple syrup.

6.     Switch from white flour to whole wheat flour. (Later, try out other flours like spelt, almond, coconut or even try grinding your own and sprouting your flour!)

7.     Switch from processed meats to unprocessed meats.

8.     Switch from enriched pasta to whole wheat or brown rice pasta.

9.     Start reading ingredient labels! Avoid any ingredients you can’t pronounce or understand. If you can’t picture the ingredient itself, that’s a bad sign.

10.   Avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. It’s BAD. See #5 for alternate sweeteners.

11.    Avoid soy. It’s a hormone disruptor. Here’s how I avoid soy.

12.   Make your own pasta sauce.

13.   And your own pizza sauce.

14.   Switch from margarine to butter. Feeling extra daring? Try coconut oil! You can get it here or here if you can’t find it in your local supermarket.

15.   Stop drinking all sodas and processed beverages. Drink water instead! Hey—it’s free!

16.   Switch from skim to whole milk. Get bonus points if it’s organic—and even better if it’s raw!

17.   Start avoiding GMO foods, like corn, canola, soy, cottonseed oils, etc.

18.   Miss using canned creamed soups in your favorite casserole dishes? Just make your own!

19.   Make your own spice blends.

20.   Make your own baking mixes.

21.   Start buying cage-free eggs. (Even better? Buy them from a local farmer!)

22.   Start using in-season produce, so you don’t have to rely on canned or frozen selections.

23.   Make homemade applesauce. Most store-bought versions contain HFCS (and you want to avoid that like the plague, remember?). I make my own in the crock pot. Easy peasy!

24.   Make your own peanut butter.

25.  Thanksgiving’s coming up. Why not try making your own pumpkin puree—using your crock pot!

26.  Switch to plain yogurt. You can sweeten it yourself with fresh or frozen fruit or honey. Feeling extra daring? Make your own.

27.  Make your own chicken stock—from a whole chicken you’ve cooked yourself! Or, just make your own vegetable stock.

28.  Cut back on desserts. Have a sweet tooth? At least try making healthier versions from Kate’s Treat Yourself eBook—or Katie of Kitchen Stewardship’s upcoming Smart Sweets.

29.  Read Kate’s Real Food Basics—and start implementing her tips!

30.  Read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s got a TON of info. (not all of which I implement), but it’s worth the read.

31.  Read Healthy Homemaking by Keeper of the Home’s Stephanie Langford.

I hope these baby steps will help get you started!

Do you have any baby steps of your own to share?

This is the writings of:

Erin is a believer in Jesus Christ and stay-at-home wife and mom of two little redheaded girls. She is passionate about Jesus, mission work, her family and researching how to live a healthier lifestyle. She writes for several print and online publications, blogs about natural living and homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker and also edits eBooks. She is author of Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.


  1. Really great post Erin! Tips we can all live by. 🙂 I'm working on cutting out the soy….and if we do eat it, I try to make sure it's organic.

    Happy Birthday Sweetness!


  2. Wonderful tips, Erin! There are so many easy switches that people can make the next time they are at the store. I'm going to go back through and check out the links to your recipes (especially that crockpot applesauce one!).


  3. Happy Birthday! Thanks for another great post! I love this list and will pass it along to some friends, and well as try some more daring things like making my own peanut butter, soup stock, etc. Time is my biggest enemy with those now, but if I think about it, it might save me time in end, and my family is worth the effort anyway! happy cooking! 🙂


  4. Justyn, Erin's crockpot applesauce ROCKS!


  5. We got a seltzer maker and LOVE it. It makes us drink more water instead of soda or other sugary beverages. It also reduces our plastic use as well since we would go through multiple liters a week.


  6. […] Here are 31 real food baby steps if you need more ideas! […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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