Unsurprisingly, some people skipped breakfast. Usually it was bacon and eggs. “In 1956 only 20 percent of the population was eating breakfast cereal,” says Gray. “We know that grains, generally speaking, are terrible. Most are high in sugar, salt, and fat.”
For workers, there was no phantom sandwich al desco. “Sixty percent of the people in the lower classes went home for lunch,” says Gray.
While she was writing the Call the Midlife cook book, Gray would cook a two-course lunch typical of that era. “Something like sausage and rice pudding. And as long as you have small portions, it feels like one big meal.”
In the 1950s, dinner was cooked from scratch rather than delivered in or out at a restaurant. Meals took place around a dining table. Contrary to today, where nearly five percent of those aged 45 to 54 in the 2021 Statista survey said they ate with family at the dinner table only once a month.
Eating casually with your various screens on would not have been an option, as only 2.7 million television sets existed in 1953.
“One of the things that’s great about 1950s food is that you’re eating what and stopping when you’re full,” says Gray. It’s just one of many lessons she says we can learn from the 1950s diet. Eating right and making healthy decisions
For bariatric surgeon Andrew Jenkinson, author of Why We Eat (Too Much), his concern is what we eat, not how much.
“It has nothing to do with calories,” he says. “You can eat a lot of healthy foods, such as meat, fish and vegetables that are high in calories, without this translated to weight gain. That’s exactly what food does for you from a metabolic standpoint. The Western diet Contains a lot of refined carbohydrates that affect your insulin levels and cause bloating. It’s not the fact that it’s actually delicious, it’s the fact that it disrupts metabolic signaling, leading to weight gain. “