A couple of throw away comments recently set me thinking about the way our children eat compared to the way Tevye and I ate as children back in the 1960s.
A typical day for our children ...
- Breakfast - some days grab as you go. Typically cereal for Tevye and I, toast or a breakfast bar for Angel, a glass of milk or fruit for Star (who isn't big on eating first thing in the morning), and a banana or cereal for Cherub. A couple of days a week I cook pancakes or hash browns and eggs.
- Lunch - usually sandwiches followed by fruit or yoghurt for Cherub and I; packed lunch - again usually sandwiches, though occasionally cold pizza or pasta - for the older girls. A couple of days a week Angel buys lunch at school. She mainly chooses pasta or a filled baguette.
- Dinner - hot, home-cooked meal, followed by fruit or ice cream
- Snacks - the older girls take a snack (biscuits, crisps, cake or fruit bar) for morning break, then graze on whatever they can find when they get home from school. A couple of nights a week Star goes straight from school to a dance class and usually buys a portion of chip (fries) on the way. Random snacks for the rest of us.
- Breakfast - cooked breakfast with cereal to start and toast on the side
- Morning snack - biscuits or bun or crisps
- Lunch - two course cooked school lunch, including hot dessert (sponge pudding, rice pudding, that sort of thing). At home during the holidays lunch was our main meal, and "tea" a lighter meal - egg and beans on toast, that sort of thing - but still with a dessert of some kind.
- Tea - bread and butter with jam or peanut butter.
- Dinner - another two course cooked meal.
I thought I did quite well in (pretty much always) cooking a reasonably substantial meal from scratch every evening, but in comparison to the meals we had as children, most of our children's meals are slim pickings. The meals I ate included a lot more "fat" food - jam roly poly and custard, bacon and eggs, that sort of thing - but grazing between meals wasn't an option. Snacks were limited and regular, though not particularly healthy. Our children eat more raw fruit and vegetables, but compensate for that with more sweet snacks and a lot more junk food.
Which diet is best? Almost certainly the 1960s version, where meals were more substantial and mostly cooked from scratch from real ingredients. The "fat" food was still real food; junk was very limited; and more filling meals meant less snacking and grazing. I'm thinking I should be spending more time in the kitchen.