Nutrition Advice for Kids: 1971 vs Today




I have a groovy nutrition booklet for kids from 1971 called Mystery at the Food Power Tower published by the "National Live Stock and Meat Board." Other than a creepy clown that prohibits adults from entering the tower with their children (and parents who entrust them to the clown), it offers some sensible, straight-forward advice to kids about eating healthily.

Each floor represents a different food group that the clown explains to the kids.
My personal favorite is below where the clown clearly advise kids about not eating too much sugar. Click to see the full size:


I was curious about how that would compare to advice today. I went to the CDC website for kids and found this section that mentions sugar:

http://www.cdc.gov/bam/nutrition/questions.html
"So, while everyone enjoys a treat now and then, just make sure they don't start crowding out all the other things you need to eat to feel and look your best"  That's pretty vague, in my opinion. Also, this recipe for kids is supposed to be healthy?! 

http://kidshealth.org/kid/recipes/recipes/crunchy_wrap.html
I can see no good healthy reason to add 1/4 cup of sugar to a sandwich recipe! Also, if they want to offer calories alongside this then they need to be specific about ingredients. For example, "one pound of cooked chicken" could be dark meat with the skin on, or fried. That would definitely alter the fat and calorie content! But the government tells kids they don't need to count calories, anyway:

A calorie is a way to measure the energy that comes from food. Like all living things, people need energy to grow, develop, and keep our bodies running. We get this energy from food and drinks. So, should you "count calories?" Nah. It's easiest to just follow a healthy eating style and pay attention to your body.

Comments

  1. Hilarious by comparison. While Mr. Happy is a bit creepy his advice is better than our CDC! That booklet is an awesome find.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Sarah

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    1. I adore this quirky booklet, especially the graphics.

      Sarah, you're a mom of three so I wanted to ask you: What kind of hand-outs, if any, have your kids received about nutrition? Or is everything online now?

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    2. Over the years they've brought home sheets with cute smiling fruits and veggies on them and My Plate pic from the government. They have more pictures than information. The most influential thing the schools did was require the daily snack brought from home to be either whole fruits or veggies. Prior to this year students were encouraged to bring a "healthy" snack but this year if it comes in a package and is processed they can't eat it and go without a snack. So for example a prepackaged mini bag of baby carrots is ok but organic fruit leather isn't. So most parents pack cut fruit or veggies or a small apple, banana etc. The teachers have wipes in the classrooms (The kids have their snack in the classroom.) so the kids can bring messier things like oranges too.

      This has been wonderful for us. Now I'm not the only mom who isn't packing chips, goldfish, and gummy fruit snacks for snack time. The district said it was to help keep potential allergens out of the classroom but I know kids who are allergic to strawberries. (What has our food supply done to make strawberries an allergen???) I think they really just wanted the students to have a substantial snack. It'll be interesting to see if the teachers notice a difference in behavior.

      Over the years the school lunch program has changed. On the positive side dessert is only served once a month versus daily and no daily treats are for sale to students who bring their lunches. On the negative side the district has standardized their lunch menus and centralized the food buying. So now, for example, our school serves processed pre-seasoned and pre-cooked chicken whereas when my oldest was in first grade (she's now 15) the cook seasoned and cooked the chicken herself. The cook now just reheats precooked food. (She told me she doesn't feel like she's cooking anymore. And she's not!) Also in the past the cook had the freedom to make soup from the leftover veggies and our school menu had a soup option every day. I don't know what happens to the leftover veggies now.

      The cafeteria lunch servers (parents who volunteer) used to have the freedom to give a student as much produce as he/she wanted. Now they are told to only give the "serving" and no more. The head cook has to account for everything. (Budget cuts.) Also a "serving" isn't really a real serving. For example when apple slices are served each student gets a quarter of an apple. A real serving is a whole apple, IMO. But the cook must insist on only a quarter per student because the district requires each tray have exactly the same foods on it and in the same amounts. This is because it has to match the menus in case someone from the state comes in to check. So there's a lot of food wasted by kids who don't like the fruit or veggie of the day. And they aren't allowed to share with the kids who may want more fruit or veggie for sanitary reasons. A friend of mine was working in the cafeteria and was corrected when she gave a student extra carrots. Seriously. The kid asked for more carrots. Why say no??

      Anyway, this is probably more than you wanted to know!

      Sarah

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    3. Sarah- thanks! I wonder if your school is more the exception than the norm?

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    4. I didn't know I wrote so much. Kind of went off on a rant there! Sorry.

      I know in our area we are a bit unique because in the towns near us the 1-6th graders go home for lunch. (In one town it's thru 8th grade because the school is K-8.) This is a carry over from the old days when the schools were built without lunchrooms. I think the schools can accommodate some students bringing their lunch and staying at school. Parent volunteers come to monitor lunchtime from what I've heard. Not sure where they eat though. (On a different note this is a big issue for working mothers because if your child stays at school on a regular basis you're expected to volunteer to be a lunch monitor. Some dual working parent families have to hire a nanny to be at the house when their child/ren come home for lunch. And it's hard to find a part time nanny who'll come in the middle of the day. This system started way back in the '30's-'40's and never caught up. Many mothers in this town don't work outside the home for this reason.)

      Not sure what our neighboring districts do for snack time.

      Sarah

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    5. Thanks, Sarah. Where/when I went to school there was no parental involvement in lunches. Just the "lunch ladies." We didn't have a "snack time," either.

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    6. The 1971 pamphlet was definitely more informative than the CDC! However, while it is suggested we send healthy snacks with our kids to school, I would be irate if a school chose not to allow my child to eat a snack or food I sent...even if I sent a Twinkie. Let's not take away the rights of parents, please. (Hot button subject, I just sent a similar letter to my child's school.)

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  2. Interesting! The 70's nutrition advice was more specific. Growing up in the 60's and 70's we weren't allowed snacks but if we had to have something it was always fruit. My mother was German and that's how she grew up, too. I got away from that in the 80's with the advent of the snack and diet food craze. I'm trying to get back to 3 square meals a day, healthy food with little or no snacks.

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    1. You can do it! : )

      My snacking in the 80s was horrible. It was more like meal-ing. A slice of pizza after school then junk when I got home. But in the 70s I rarely snacked from what I can recall. In fact in summer camp, now that I think of it, we were served only one snack in the afternoon.

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    2. I need to correct myself. I DID snack a lot in the 70s, but it wasn't school/parent "sponsored" in that I was sneaking junk as opposed to having it served to me. So I guess I mean there wasn't a culture of snacking in the 70s from what I recall.

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