Healthy Family Eating

This article from June 1979 contains advice that is still very relevant today, avoid processed junk foods and stick to whole foods as much as possible. There is also a nice chicken stew recipe at the end.


June 1979

Balancing the food budget and a family’s nutritional needs can be a tricky proposition these days. If you add family food preferences the balancing act becomes even more precarious. Complicating the problem even further are the TV hucksters who convince the kids that this overpriced, highly sugared cereal or that chemical ridden soft drink is essential for them to eat or drink if they are going to pass the third grade and become a fourth grade beauty queen or football hero.

What is a mother to do short of jumping off a bridge, running away from home or letting the offspring consume what they want until their hair and teeth fall out from malnutrition? First, decide that you are the family’s nutritional food expert in charge of the food budget in your own household. Be sure to check your credentials and see that they are in order for this big assignment. Remember if junk food is not in the refrigerator and cupboards, it will not be eaten – at least while the kids are home.

Of course, if you take the family off junk food you have to cook good meals 3 times a day. One plan for a nutritional main meal is to use a pattern of serving broiled, grilled or baked meat, a potato prepared without grease or oil, a plain or cream cooked vegetable and a leafy salad accompanied by whole wheat bread with milk for a beverage.

At the present time potatoes are cheap and contain high grade carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Canned vegetables are less expensive now than frozen. Fresh carrots are much better buys than canned or frozen ones. Celery and lettuce supply food fiber at low cost. Of course, home grown products are the best of all.

Another way to serve a good meal at a reasonable cost is to use a casserole for the main item containing ingredients from all 4 food groups such as meat or fish, complementary vegetables, cheese topping and a crust of pasta base.

There is a pitfall to beware of in casserole recipes in popular cookbooks. Many of our current recipes were originally put out by soup companies and feature cans of prepared soup which increase the cost and at the same time reduce the food value. Try to find recipes using basic ingredients. A homemade white sauce can be substituted for cream soups in casseroles.

Farmer’s Chicken Stew or Pie
2 ½ cups chicken stock 1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery 1 cup diced potatoes
½ cup chopped onion 1 package, 10 oz. frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk ½ cup flour
2 ½ cups cooked cut up chicken
Bring chicken stock, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion, salt and pepper to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add peas. Cook 5 minutes. Slowly add flour beating to remove lumps. Slowly add flour mixture to hot chicken stock and vegetables stirring constantly until thickened. Add chicken.

As a chicken stew this can be served plain or over toast, cornbread squares or biscuits.

2 ½ cups cooked beef and 2 ½ cups beef stock may be substituted for the chicken if desired. For a chicken pie prepare this topping:

½ cup all purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup rolled oats
1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon melted shortening
½ cup milk
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add oats, egg, shortening and milk. Pour stew in a 2 ½ quart casserole. Spoon topping over hot base. Bake at 425° 20 to 25 minutes.

This is a complete meal and a strawberry sundae would be a perfect ending.



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