Having trouble figuring out what to eat? Don't know if you should be "eating clean," dairy free, gluten free, GMO free, carb free, high protein, organic, low fat, high fat or paleo? (No wonder people are always confused about what to eat or how to lose weight!)
Let's get back to the basics. After talking with my mom, aunts and others who grew up in the 50s, 60s and 70s, I've come to the conclusion that these 5 concepts are the way to go in terms of diet and weight loss. And after checking 100+ food journals a week these past 3 months, I can testify that many people have the same problems when it comes to nutrition!
What Did We Do Right about Eating in the 1950s?
Food comes from home!
Fast foods, pizza delivery and take out were never the norm until about the mid 1980s (coincidentally, when obesity rates started rising). In the 1950s to even the late 1970s, if you left the house for work or school, you brought a brown bag lunch - sandwich, piece of fruit, maybe one more item. (Was it always the healthiest? Maybe not. But was it calorie controlled? Yup!) Not the usual 500 calorie + drive thru items, 400 cal+ frappes and 200 calories of soda.
Take home message: Go shopping. Make a list of food you (and your family) need for breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks for the week. And Go Grocery Shopping Every Week!!!!
Check out this comparison of a hamburger, fries and soda from the 1950's to today's standards. Amazing isn't it?
| ||Portion Sizes - 1950s||Portion Sizes - Now|
|Soda||7 oz.||30+ oz.|
|Hamburger||3.9 oz.||12 oz.|
|French Fries||2.4 oz.||6.7 oz.|
Need to stop at a drive thru? Think smaller portions. Kids meals. Small hamburger and a soup or salad. Water instead of pop. Consider eating out a treat and not something to eat to a daily basis.
Everything in moderation!
Ice cream, chips, pop or ordering pizza out were looked upon as treats - every now and then indulgences. And once my mom and her sisters ate it, there was no running back to the store to get more. They had to wait til the next shopping trip. My mom and aunts would say what a treat a take-out pizza was with some pop to be shared with the whole family. (Once a month mind you, not twice a week!)
My advice is to keep the loose change and debit card at home to minimize trips through the drive-through, vending machines and gas stations!
Buy real food. Not fat free, sugar free food - AKA, Franken-foods.
Keep your shopping list simple. In general, I tend to suggest items that have more nutritional value and less items with excess salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats. I recommend keeping a food log of the week and see what kind of foods you are typically eating. Are most of your foods frozen or instant? Are they high in sodium (250mg or higher)? Do they have more than 5 grams of added sugar? Do they contain hydrogenated oils?
I recommend buying fruits and vegetables (whether in the produce section, frozen or even canned section), fresh whole meats, poultry and fish from the butcher counter, beans, nuts and seeds, 100% whole grains such as breads, rice and pastas, oatmeal and dairy. Limit the snack foods, "diet" foods and the like, and opt for REAL food instead.
Eat dinner as a family!
The family that eats together, stays together!
With a TV now in every room of the house, smartphones and tablets galore, more and more families are eating meals in front of screens, in cars and in separate rooms. Research shows that kids who eat dinner with their families on a regular basis have a much lower risk of developing drug and alcohol habits in high school and that grades are improved. Make an effort for most nights of the week, even if it's a super quick meal, to sit down as a family. You'll be amazed at what conversations arise from the dinner table!
By By Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
Registered Dietitian/Health Coach, Franciscan WELLCARE