1. They don’t get snacks. Seriously. When I was a kid I thought snacks were the coolest thing! If I told my mom I was hungry, she calmly told me I’d have to wait and that was that. I still feel special if I get a personal bag of potato chips!
2. Their food is portioned out. My mom made the best baked chicken! It is hands down my favorite food, to this day! But there was never enough to suit me. Us little kids (and girls) were served one piece of chicken each, and usually a drumstick. Dad and the teen boys got two pieces. That’s all there was.
3. They don’t get junk food. (much) Cooking from scratch has always been cheaper than buying junk food. A 10-lb bag of potatoes costs about the same as a bag of potato chips, but guess which one feeds a family? I would watch enviously as my classmates brought treasures out of their lunchboxes, like Twinkies and juice boxes and frozen corn-dogs. All I had was bologna sandwiches, bananas and carrot sticks! 😀
4. They have to share. There were 8 kids in our family, and the meals at restaurants were few and far between. Even fast food was a rarity. When we did grab a meal at McDonald’s, (Oh wondrous joy!) my sisters and I shared a small fries. That’s right, and a small Coke as well. Not too many calories in a half-glass of Coke. Good thing we didn’t eat there often.
5. They eat better. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, my mom cooked from scratch. She couldn’t afford to buy pre-made stuff, or even a lot of groceries we now consider basic. She grew a garden, and bought ‘seconds’ fruit by the bushel. We would can and freeze and preserve gallons and gallons of produce for winter eating.
When our garden was growing, many meals were fresh garden lettuce salad with little, red radishes, plate after plate of sweet corn, tomato sandwiches, and a little (portioned, remember?) lean deer meat for protein. That was good eatin’! Mom’s fresh-churned butter from our milk cow, spread thick on homemade pancakes for breakfast… We had homemade chocolate pudding, steaming and sweet, mounded with sweet strawberries that we picked ourselves. She made the best blackberry pies – more delicious because of the hours of sweaty, itchy work of picking them.
Anything you would add or subtract from this list?
EDIT: After some comments on my Facebook page, I am editing this to add that I do realize a lot of ‘poor’ kids in America are living on very unhealthy, cheap foods. This was not the case for me and my siblings, because we did not receive government subsidies.