Monday, January 13, 2014

What is the 21 Day Real Food Challenge?

The 21 Day Real Food Challenge is a program created  by Holly Larson, Registered Dietitian. It is a pledge to celebrate delicious real food and to take a break from refined grains, artificial colors and flavors and foods that are out of season. We focus on getting back to the basics, minimizing processing and packaging and savoring the flavors of new foods and recipes. 

"This has been a really eye opening experience" -Challenge Participant

The challenge is conducted through a closed facebook group. Once in the group, you will have access to the program guide, a 30 page booklet that is chock-full of information about nutrition basics, how to know if food is "real" or not, example menus, many recipes and resources for further reading. It also includes tips and tricks for eating on campus, aimed at our student challenge participants as well as information for families about getting kiddos on board with real food.

To empower you to feel like a shopping super hero, we do a few virtual shopping tours, where we have a collection of photos of foods and their packaging to navigate what all of those buzz words mean. Is your usual pasta is a good choice? Or your peanut butter? You'll find out during the tour!

Will you have to cook? Yes. But we keep in mind that folks are busy - many meals and recipes can be made ahead or popped into a crock pot.

Throughout the challenge, we will be posting tips, tricks, words of encouragement and answering your questions. Don't know what tahini is? Just ask! Seeking a recipe for salad dressing without added sugar? We're here for you!

One benefit of the online format is that folks can participate from anywhere there's wifi. Team up with friends and family around the globe! 

"I really felt like we were discovering things together, as a group" -Challenge Participant

And for those of you participating locally, we host a Real Food Potluck each month. If you're not local, I encourage you to host your own.

Register now for the next 21 Day Real Food Challenge.


  1. To feel your best by nourishing your body with awesome, minimally processed foods.
  2. To navigate our food system with confidence.
  3. To purchase and cook real and whole foods, skipping chemical additives, colors or preservatives.
  4. To support local agriculture and business.
  5. To minimize trash and packaging.
  6. To embrace a fun challenge, try new foods and learn to cook new delicious recipes. 


I am vegetarian/vegan - can I participate?
Absolutely! A well planned vegetarian or vegan diet can be a wonderfully nutrient dense meal plan. 

Do I have to be vegetarian or vegan to participate?

I can't eat gluten - can I participate?
Absolutely! There are many gluten-free options that provide the nutrients our body needs. And, as gluten is an additive to so many processed foods, you may find it easier to find GF options. Quinoa, rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes are great GF staples. 

Do I have to cook?
Probably. It is hard to reach your health goals and to control what is (and what isn't) in your meals if you're not cooking them.  However, included are many simple recipes that even a novice cook can tackle. 

Why 21 days?
21-days to make a habit, right? Full disclosure: there isn’t actually research to support this often touted claim. However, three weeks is a good amount of time to try something new and can get you started on a pattern to change your health and wellness for the best!

Is chocolate a real food (please, yes!)?
Yes! Choose dark chocolate and small portions – an ounce or less. Milk and white chocolate are loaded with sugar and are low on the antioxidant-rich cocoa. Even better? Choose fair trade.

Do I have to follow your menus? 
Not at all - they're simply there is a guide. You're welcome to follow them or create your own menus. 

 Register now for the next 21 Day Real Food Challenge. 

The price? Affordable, but enough to keep you accountable and to weed out folks who aren't going to make a real commitment. Let's eat real food, together!


  1. when you register, are you a part of the facebook group every month or just for one month?

    1. When you register, it is for one month. Cheers - hope you join!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Print this!