Eating a Wartime Diet, ITV circa 2004

Someone shared a link to this video on YouTube in our Facebook Group today so I had to share it with you as it makes for an interesting watch!

In an episode of Tonight, with Trevor McDonald, school children get to grips with eating a wartime diet and living on WW2 rations for 6 weeks!

Much love, C xxxx

22 thoughts on “Eating a Wartime Diet, ITV circa 2004

  1. The Dinner Lady with the handsome cleavage towards the end – in tears because she found she’d lost a stone in weight without even realising it.

    Just goes to show… it works! 🙂

      • Absolutely!

        One couldn’t help but feel happy for her.

        I wonder if, in the years since, she maintained the healthy family diet, and kept that weight off?

  2. Thank you Carolyn.

    As children, we were never allowed to graze the fridge or cupboards at home if we fancied a snack. I found it truly shocking that their modern diet had ten times the amount of sugar of the WW2 ration diet, and the one child’s snack was a whole packet of biscuits, plus crisps.

    I remember Mum counting the money in her purse and writing her shopping list, making do with a bit less bacon, or less national cheese, cut from the block by the grocer.

    One shopping bag of basic groceries had to feed the family for the week, plus the stuff she could grow, and the milk which was delivered. Rationing had ended when I was born, but post war austerity continued, and free school milk and school dinners at a shilling helped children to thrive.

    It was significant that the children grew rapidly during the trial. With the highly processed diet they are getting too many calories and gain weight, but are also malnourished, lacking essential nutrients and protein and failing to grow.

    • Your childhood memories and what your Mum did, almost exactly mirrors mine. Except I was a kid in the 70s, rather than post-rationing Britain.

      A visit to a Wimpy was a once-a-year treat, if that, and only if Mum could afford it.

      Nowadays, the equivalent seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Little wonder the ‘little darlings’ throw a tantrum when faced with food that’s wholesome and healthy. Can’t say I blame them mind you, as it’s just what they’ve become used to.

      • Modern parents seem to believe that children intrinsically don’t like vegetables, but this simply isn’t true! Feed them vegetables as babies when weaning and they will grow up to like them and see them as normal and necessary parts of the diet. Of course, we all have personal tastes, so not everyone will like Brussels sprouts (which I never have liked), but we will like most vegetables if fed them as babies. As a child I loved carrots, swede, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and white cabbage (my Dad would grate that raw into a coleslaw).

    • Same here as you: memories of Mum counting the money in her purse and planning meals. She’d write her shopping lists on the back of the cardboard from cut up cereal boxes! Funny how things stick in the mind. No helping ourselves to packets of crisps or biscuits either! If we were a bit peckish in between meals we could ask for a biscuit, but more often than not we were given an apple. It still shocks me that children/teens today just saunter into the kitchen and help themselves to mountains of snacks! I am glad you recognise overweight people can be malnourished. Malnourishment doesn’t automatically mean rail thin and underweight; it is as you say lacking the necessary vitamins in one’s body.

      • Yeah, the idea of kids wondering into the kitchen and just helping themselves is an alien concept to me too. Allowing it just encourages mid-meal smacking and ‘grazing’ in later life, and is a big factor in excess calorie intake.

        When we were kids, what was in the cupboards or fridge was just enough for meals. To have pinched something off-the-cuff would have been quickly noticed, and there would have been consequences!

  3. I so enjoyed the Tonight show, if the results are so clear, even in this trial, why are we still seeing children feasting on sugar, chips, pop etc!! Better attention spans, etc, it’s Not Rocket Science folks. Raise your kids on Real Food! They deserve it. Ann lee s

    • Absolutely! The lad who lives in my building is 13 and is being brought up vegetarian. He love\s his veg and is taller than me already. His friend, who is a vegan is also 13 and 5’10 in height!!!!

  4. I am sending this on to my 2 kids with the sincere hope that it will influence what they foist down my grandchildrens gobs!

    • We had the same, as well as “Eat everything” even when we didn’t like it. This comes from the war years and later, until rationing finished. My parents formative years were spent during this time (Mother born 1943 -Dec 31) and father born in 1941. Their parents fed them with only what they could get, but they couldn’t leave anything. It was a learnt response from the external conditioning – It was all they knew. Therefore when they had children of their own, they fed them the only way that they knew. Our generation have more information, have more freedom, and more choice. We have altered our behaviour accordingly – sometimes to the detriment of our health, and the health of the next generations. Carolyn’s passion for the ration diet, brings back the focus on good wholesome food – without the anxiety of wartime.

      Thanks for reading my witterings

      • Thanks Carolyn, It helps that my daughter Natalie is a behavioural analyst. Her observations makes me see the world in manifold different ways.
        Hope everything is good with you and your Hobbits.

  5. Just halfway through this and at the beetroot fight. I hated beetroot when I was a child too but I love it now and eat it every week! But my primary school served it rock hard, and not even raw hard (raw beetroot is great grated in salad). It had a weird hard crisp texture. I dunno what they did to it! Mum served us a variety of veg ( carrots, swedes, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions ) but never beetroot. I don’t know why, because she eats it now!

    • Beetroot has always been one of those Marmite-type foods for people.

      I too hated beetroot as a kid. Mum never used it at home, but it would regularly appear at school dinners during the spring and summer months.

      You’d always know the kids who did like it, as they went around in the afternoon with vivid purple lips and tongues, and occasionally had the odd stain down their front too!

      For some reason, as you say, the beetroot at school was big, hard, earthy, and sometimes a bit fibrous too. Enough to put anyone off for life if truth be told.

      However, as an adult I’ve acquired the taste for it, mainly due to the more modern availability of baby beetroot, along with some interesting recipes.

      Interestingly enough, beetroot can be considered a ‘super food’ (a term I detest btw). One doesn’t need to air-freight exotic fruit & veg from the other side of the world, when things like beetroot has always been grown on our very doorsteps here in the UK.

      • Yes, I was about 26 when I realised I liked beetroot. I was living in shared accommodation and one young woman (who was overweight and whose Mum brought her lots of veg to help her eat low calorie foods) came into the kitchen where I was just starting to make a meal and said: “Would you like some beetroot? I’ve got too much of it.” She was holding out the vacuum packed type. I replied that I hadn’t tried it since school dinners and that they hadn’t cooked it well, so I hadn’t liked it then, but thank you, I’d try this one. So I did and found I liked it very much! I’ve currently got two packets of it in the cupboard. I love slicing it up and dipping it in home made bean dip/hummus.

        The fact that beetroot gives you red tongues should make it a fun food for children to try!

        It is indeed a “superfood”- it has SO many health benefits!

        I plan to get some big planter containers for the back yard next year and grow beetroot, and some other root vegetables (north facing Victorian yard so it will have to be root vegetables only!)

        I also love grating it raw with raw grated carrot and make it into a coleslaw by stirring in salad cream and dried mixed herbs.

      • Interesting you should mention making beetroot coleslaw. The big supermarkets twigged to the idea a few years ago – Asda certainly did, with their pink and red coleslaws.

        Personally, I favour making beetroot salad, with cooked beetroot, red onion, shredded carrot, some fresh chives, and a drop of squeezed orange juice. Or as an exotic summer alternative, leave out the orange juice, and add some pomegranate seeds instead. 🙂

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