Real food simplified for the busy, stressed, or overwhelmed

Real food simplified for the busy, stressed, or overwhelmed

Life is busy. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about, right? (yeah, right). Whether you are married, single, have children, retired, or simply breathing… chances are you are busy. That’s okay. It’s part of life. But being busy can make healthy living harder. Not impossible, but harder.

Even as a stay-at-home mom I sometimes wonder how I’m going to find time to cook another meal… even though that’s supposedly one of the reasons why I gave up my job… to have time to do those kind of things.

And even if time isn’t a factor, switching over to real-food may seem overwhelming at first, or completely unrealistic. Again, I get it.

And that’s why I’m here today: To give you some simple ideas to get on the right path. Even if you don’t have time to meal plan, cook everything from scratch, make your own toxic-free products, or train for a half marathon, there are things you can do to move away from the garbage that is slowly sucking your life away. Today let’s talk about real food simplified.

Real food simplified for the busy, stressed, or overwhelmed

1. Know your real food basics

Don’t let diet dogma overwhelm you. You don’t have to have a degree in nutrition or read every book out there to improve your food. But knowing the basics between real and processed food will save you time in the long run. If something says “low fat” that naturally has fat… don’t eat it. It’s not real. Avoid rancid vegetable oils like canola, soy, and the like. Eat locally and in season. Eat a variety of plants, whole and sprouted grains, and humanely raised animal products. Need further help? Check out my Real Food Basic posts. Want it even more simplified? I love this chart by Summer Tomato:

How to find real food chart by Summer Tomato

2. Utilize your freezer

Whether you cook everything from scratch or buy quality pre-made products, you’ll get more bang for your buck and “yippee” for your time if you use your freezer wisely. Buying grass-fed beef, for instance, is a whole lot cheaper if you buy in bulk. (I’m just waiting for my second freezer and then I’m purchasing half a cow!) And you’ll save oodles of time if you make twice as much (or more) of whatever you’re eating and freeze the rest for quick-but-healthy meals later. Work smarter, not harder. Let your freezer help you.

3. Shop wisely

Contrary to what some people think you don’t have to make everything from scratch to implement a real foods diet. But you do need to shop very carefully. Read labels. On everything. You may be surprised to find that the most “simple” things like salad dressing and store bought “healthy” bread are the very things with the most mystery ingredients in them. Find a good butcher, a quality bakery, or a local restaurant who meets your standards. Build relationships, learn where your food is coming from.

Find quality real food products at the Village Green marketplace.

I’m so excited to let you guys know about the new Village Green Marketplace! There are oodles of reliable vendors who are committed to organic, green, and sustainable products. You’ve got to check them out. If you are like me, you may get lost for an hour while you view all the good stuff. Stuff that can make your life easier without compromising your health. Perfect for the easily stressed, busy, or overwhelmed.

4. Use the buddy system

Sometimes we look back at civilizations of the past and wonder how they did it all. But we often forget that more often than not, they did it all because they did it together. We tend to get so isolated in our homes that we forget the power of working together. Find some like-minded people in your area (or educate them so they are like minded) and help each other out.

  • Split the cost of high quality food purchases.
  • Have a communal dinner where everybody brings one dish.
  • Take turns prepping larger amounts of a meal and sharing with everyone else.

The possibilities are endless. Not only can you get more done, but you’ll be building relationships to boot.

Real food doesn't have to be complicated... no matter how busy, stressed, or overwhelmed you are.

5. Keep it simple

Food doesn’t have to be complicated, neither do your recipes. Don’t let Pinterest fool you into thinking every meal needs to be a twelve course extravaganza. Sometimes the best meals are the most simple. Especially if they keep the stress level down.

Some of my favorite quick meals:

Breakfast: Two pastured eggs fried in coconut oil with some sprouted toast slathered in raw butter. And a glass of raw milk. Bam! Simple.

Lunch: “Everything” salad with some fresh greens, lots of veggies, cheese, bacon or whatever else I have on hand ready to go. Top it with either homemade dressing or a quality store-bought dressing (look carefully!) and you have a winner meal.

Dinner: Roast chicken with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. It’s a one dish wonder that will leave you super satisfied.

I also asked my facebook readers what their easy “go to” meals are. Check out all the great suggestions here.

What would you add to this list? What helped you stay on the path without going crazy?

NOTE: Due to an never-ending cesspool of spam, I have made the tough decision to close comments 14 days after the original posting of all posts. If you have a burning question or are looking for support in your journey to healthy living, please join the Thank Your Body Friends facebook page here.

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Thank Your Body's ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


  1. Katie

    Fantastic tips! When life gets hectic, it can get tough to stay focused but with plans like these – you’ll be set for whatever comes your way! Love the flow chart and I split lots of bulk orders with one of my good friends.

    Thanks for such an excellent blog, I found you not too long ago and all your information has been an excellent resource for me!


  2. Briana

    haha, love that flow chart. :)

    so i have a question for you. i was reading some of the links to your “real food basics” posts and i read a post talking about “rancid vegetable oils”, like canola, soybean, etc. i’ve been all on board with the nastiness of soybean oil and such. we use quality EVOO and coconut oil and such as much as possible. but i still keep a bottle of canola oil in the cupboard for occasional use. like last night, we made a salad dressing (we were making mock cafe rio salads – rice, beans, pico de gallo, avocado, lettuce, etc. And we were making the cilantro lime vinaigrette to go on top.) and it called for a little vinegar, lime juice, garlic, spices, and canola oil. i’m patting myself on the back at the end of the night because we’re eating all this good food that we made from scratch. and my question is this – what do you use instead of a canola oil (rancid vegetable oil category) in this type of a salad dressing situation. i feel like another type of more acceptable oil – like EVOO, for instance, would taste awful in a dressing with those flavors, you know? what would you use? i love coconut oil and EVOO, etc. but i feel like they have really distinctive flavors that don’t work for everything. i just have always thought of vegetable oils as being kind of neutral and sometimes you need that neutral oil “flavor” for certain dressings. so, help please! :)


    1. Post author

      Hi Briana,

      I totally hear you. I personally only use EVOO and Coconut Oil for the most part. You can use expellar pressed coconut oil and it has no flavor whatsoever. If you are using the oils just for dressing (and not heating it), you can use other oils that have been cold pressed (like avocado oil, or something similar). Cold pressed means it wasn’t ruined in a heating process. Canola oil comes from rapeseeds and there’s just no good way to get that oil out… so you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s been damaged in the process of extraction. Choose oils that come from vegetables that you can picture actually getting oil from through a pressed process. Also, most canola is GMO… so it’s another reason I don’t keep any in my pantry.

      I hope that helps. I know it can be confusing, but ultimately, if the oil didn’t exist 100 years ago, there’s probably a good reason for it (they couldn’t extract it without unnatural processes).

      1. Briana

        Ok, this helps. I’ll do some more investigating and trying things out and see what I can come up with. Thanks so much!

  3. Amy U

    We just don’t buy anything in a box. So I have to think outside of them. Heh.

    I just make very, very simple meals. Our food bill is waaaaay smaller and that relieves a lot of stress. My kids are way happier too and that helps tremendously. I plan ahead, so I no longer tear my hair out at 4 pm, praying for something to just appear. And I’m really a poor planner by nature, so if I can do this ANYone can.

  4. Victoria

    Thank-you for this post. I’m 15 and it’s going to be hard to convince my mom into eating real food because she doesn’t understand or thinks that I’m just making stuff up. So far I’ve convinced her to stop buying margarine and I’m slowly talking her into buying grass-fed meat. I hope one day we’ll be able to eat real food free of GMOs.

    1. Post author

      Victoria, I love that you are 15 and already making such strides. You give me hope for the future. I can definitely say that I was not as aware as you at that age. Kudos.

  5. Rebecca

    I have to say I am proud of myself!! Since I switched to sprouted bread, my breakfast is EXACTLY like your recommended sample breakfast — 2 eggs scrambled, cooked in coconut oil (I add sea salt, chives and pepper to mine), and 2 pieces of Ezekial bread, with real butter on them. However, I usually drink raw milk kefir, sweetened with Stevia.

    I am proud of myself!!! That is what I had for breakfast yesterday and I haven’t eaten today yet.

    And my eggs are from a neighbor who raises chickens. :) Woohoo!! Score one for me today :)

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