Then and now – retro nutrition trends you can leave behind

How do you spot progress?  Well, you look back at the past and compare with the present of course.  And with food and nutrition it’s easy to assume that everything in the good ol’ days was better, when we were fitter and leaner and lived like hunter gatherers.  But what about winding the clock back just a few decades?  Was it really better?  As a child of the 1970’s and a dietitian today, there are a few things I’m happy to leave behind.  Just take a look at these winners from my collection of retro magazines and cookbooks.

Then: Dieting = deprivation, slimmer’s recipes were whipped, fluffed, puffed or stuffed….and tuna salad was made with jelly (jello).

Better Homes and Gardens Eat and Stay Slim cookbook 1968.

Now: The focus is on fresh, wholefood ingredients and principles of traditional eating patterns like the Mediterranean Diet, not ‘diet’ foods.

Then: You were ENCOURAGED to add potato chips (crisps) as a side for meatloaf and even use as a base to bake chocolate crackles.  And exotic, multicultural cuisine meant jazzing up “Vegetable’s Chinese Style”.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, March 18, 1970.

Now: Food variety has exploded with multicultural, gourmet ingredients at our finger tips, market stalls and specialist food stores.  And you only admit to eating potato chips if they are portion-controlled, organic and made from beetroot.


Then: “More room” for “really” creative cooking meant a tiny four burner, and many a housewife was bored of the nightly grind….chops’n’3 veg again darls.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, March 18, 1970.

Now: We aspire to build celebrity style kitchens the size of a 1970’s house, lap up cooking shows and culinary tours.  And try to find more time to “plate up”  our  “signature dish”.

Gwyneth is one celebrity who certainly knows her way around a kitchen.  Here’s her video demonstrating Roast Chicken with lemon and herbs that I have made many times for my hungry family).

So what do you think?  Would you really like to wind the clock back 20, 30, 40, 50 years?   Which Tuna salad would you choose – then or now?  Do you have some ‘exotic’ foodie childhood memories?   Love to hear.

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