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I’ve always associated 50s and 60s aesthetics with puff skirts, pinup pictures, and tiny-waisted girls sitting in diners and drinking milkshakes with cherries on top. And I always wondered, how do they manage to stay so fit with all these milkshakes? It turns out, while fast food meals were a rare treat in the 1950s they had plenty of healthy food recipes as well, such as this lovely dal soup, to stay fit.
Nowadays, a lot of things have changed and the changes that our eating habits have undergone are quite drastic. First of all, we are much more reliant on fast food, various kinds of street food, eaten on the go, takeouts for dinner. Our food is very often overprocessed. We use a lot of fatty additions and dressings to add more flavor.
And probably the most important thing, home-made meals constitute less than half of everyday meals for an average city dweller, while in the fifties going out for dinner or ordering a pizza was most of the time a special occasion, not an everyday thing.
Of course, today there are much more options for meals out of home, and a lot of them are healthy, especially if you live in a city. You can always find an organic restaurant or a place that focuses on the diet you keep to, such as paleo or vegan. That is, if you can afford those places.
And well, if I’m honest with myself, after a day of hard work, when I’m bone-weary, do I want falafel and chia seed based dessert? Nope, I want Chinese takeout with sweet’n’sour chicken and noodles and deep-fried spring rolls. Which, combined, pack a whooping 2800 calories. Which is over 800 calories more than I should eat per day, not for a single meal.
I do indulge myself sometimes, because I believe that the best way to avoid temptation is giving into it from time to time, but trying to switch to fast, healthy, and homemade meal options sounds like a solution. For instance, this hearty hangover soup, which I absolutely love, fills the stomach, takes mere half and hour to cook, has all the meat and veggies I need to have and is light in the calorie count department.
If we take a look at a a recommended daily meal plans from 50s and 60s cookbooks, we will find that we eat very differently nowadays. First of all, we consume a lot more sugar and many processed, double cooked, cured, or deep-fried food. Even veggies cooked that way will pack fewer nutrients, but plenty of saturated fats.
In the fifties, people ate much more fruit and vegetables uncooked, in salads, as snacks. Needless to say, that is a much healthier option.
Another discovery I made while studying 50s and 60s meal plans was that it seems soups and stews were a much more frequent entries. Nowadays, statistics show that working people mostly eat soup when they go out somewhere, as it generally takes more time to cook a soup than toss a salad, warm up leftover pasta or pizza or make a sandwich.
But there are so many quick and simple soup recipes, such as this hominy soup, that I’m seriously making an effort to include more in my everyday meal plan. One big advantage about soups or stews is that you can make it flavorful without adding oil or heady dressing, just by cooking all the ingredients together so that they soak each others’ flavors. And you have all the extra liquid that helps you stay well-hydrated.
Of course, everyday diet was not the only way why people generally tended to stay more trip in the 50s and 60s. Another major factor is that they simply moved more. Cars weren’t easily affordable, public transport was not so well organized, and people, especially women, walked a distance that is generally two times more every day than we do now. May not seem like a lot, but in a matter of years, it did count.
And today we have all those modern appliances that free us from manual work, but imagine doing laundry by hand? Imagine doing laundry by hand for a family of five, two of whom are little kids with all that entails. That sound like a full-blown workout.
Of course, we shouldn’t give up all the comforts of today that we have in order to live a somewhat healthier, but much harder life. But opting for a healthier meal choices sounds like a good and not too drastic start to me!
Check out some soup recipes that may add a touch of diversity to your diet and will be good substitute for those calorie-packed other options.