Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught Seafood – Fishing for Facts

Now that we’re eating real food, I’ve also been trying to swap out meat for fish more often.  But, to tell you the truth, this has been a slow change for us mostly because of two reasons:  1) the kids aren’t always big fans of fish, and 2) I was never really sure what to buy — farm raised (less expensive) or wild caught (more expensive, but possible environmental concerns).  After spending a little time researching (and a little time in the kitchen), I think I’ve found the answer to both issues – how to choose our fish and how to make it taste great!PicMonkey Collage2

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Buy This, Not That! 3 items to change today

The idea for this post is inspired by my sister who’s a busy mom of 3 and wants to eat healthy, but doesn’t always have time to read up on the choices.  As a result, she’ll text me, “I’m at the store.  What bread should I buy?” (insert any food item for bread).  And, because when I’m at the store I love reading ingredient labels and taking pictures of the “good” and the “bad” (I know – weird -and apparently very embarrassing for my kids), I usually have a handy picture on my phone that I can text back to her showing which item she should buy.

So, here are 3 easy switches to make next time you’re at the supermarket. (My kids love cereal for breakfast and pb&j’s for lunch, so these are biggies in our house.)


final cereal

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Do you know a good egg when you see one?

We go through a lot of eggs in our family.  From breakfast to baking they’re in our diet every day, so when I started paying attention to what was in our food it was really important to me to choose the right ones.  The problem was when I stopped blindly reaching for the cheapest egg carton and opened my eyes to all the different ones available I became kind of paralyzed by all the choices.  Natural, Organic, Free Range, Cage Free,Vegetarian Fed,  No Hormones, No Antibiotics, Pastured, Certified Humane, etc.  the choices can be overwhelming!  To help unscramble the options (:-)) I’ve done some research to figure out what exactly these terms mean and what’s important when buying eggs.  It comes down to 3 things:

1.  The diet the chickens were fed.

2. How the chickens were raised.

3. How fresh the eggs are.

How do these translate to the terms on packages? For an easy cheat sheet here’s what you should look for in order of importance. Continue reading

Top 5 (Store Bought) Snacks –all Real Food, all Real Convenient

With four little boys in my house things can go from calm to crazy very quickly when they get hungry. Although I do love cooking and baking for them, every mama needs a break sometimes!   It’s nice to have some Real Food snacks that I can quickly give them when hunger strikes.  Below are my current top 5 faves.

popcorn.smallest1.  Trader Joe’s Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil.  $1.99/bag (about 5, 2 cup servings).

I was so glad to discover this popcorn.  To me it takes pretty close to movie theater popcorn (and much better than the plain, air-popped popcorn I used to make).  My biggest boy, my husband Nick, devours it.  Only three ingredients: organic popcorn, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt

triscuit.small2.  Original Triscuits.  $2.50/box (about 9 servings).

Before we started eating real food I think the last time I had a Triscuit was when my mother would serve them to her bridge club when I was little.  I was so glad to re-discover these little treats!  They’re perfectly sized and sturdy enough to top with all kinds of yummy things.  And only 3 ingredients:  whole grain, wheat, soybean oil, sea salt.

grandyoats.small3. GrandyOats granola $19.50/3 lbs (about 25 servings) or buy smaller amounts at whole foods and other stores

If you’ve ever read the ingredients label on most granola you’ve noticed that it’s really hard to find one that’s made without sugar.  Thank goodness for GrandyOats granola!  They bake this delicious, crunchy, lightly sweetened snack using natural (like honey and maple syrup) and organic ingredients in their bakery in Maine.  My kids love  it as a cereal in the morning or to add a sweet crunch to yogurt. You can also make cookies with it!  I love the taste and also that they’ll deliver it to my door when I order it through their website,

larabars.small4. Larabars.  Prices vary, but about $1.25/bar

When we first started eating Real Food I discovered the amazing ingredient of dates.  I had actually never even eaten one before, but now love how they make it possible to have naturally sweet snacks and desserts.  Larabar uses these perfect little fruits to create their delicious bars.  By combining them with just a few other ingredients (like fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.) they’ve come up with a variety of flavors.  My kids think they’re getting a “special treat” when I give them one of these.

kettle bakes.small5. Kettle Brand Bakes Potato Chips (a little over $3 for a 4 serving bag)

Last on the list, but my first choice for a snack!  I could not believe I was eating a baked chip when I bit into these.  They taste just like traditional chips but are “toasted” instead of fried.  Absolutely delicious and only 3 ingredients:  potatoes, sunflower oil and sea salt.  I am so excited that potato chips can now be a part of our real food diet!

I’m always on the hunt at the store for more Real Food snacks.  Please let me know if you find any more!