19 Jul 19
The Scottish Sun
THEY were imposed on Britain’s households for 14 long years – but returning to wartime rations could end Britain’s obesity crisis, a top chef claims.
Rosemary Shrager believes only allowing a set amount of food would make the nation healthier.
Sun writer Natasha Harding and family tried to make these rations stretch a week
She said: “After the war, there were rations.
“Nobody was fat and we only ate seasonal food.
“I’m going to sound really old-fashioned here. Why not go back to rationing?”
During the Second World War and the lean years that followed, households relied on a book of coupons which entitled them to specific amounts of food and ingredients.
Most people ate less meat, fat, eggs and sugar than they had eaten before.
Celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager supports rationing to tackle obesity
Many were better fed than before the war years. Infant mortality rates declined and the average age at which people died from natural causes increased.
But in the modern world, is it really possible to live on the frugal weekly food rations which were last enforced in 1954?
Showing a bit of wartime gumption, me and my family decided to give it a go.
My husband Paul, 50, a wholesaler, and our two children Zak, 13, and five-year-old Lexi, tried living off typical rations for a week along with added fruit and veg which were not rationed.
Here I’ve listed our daily diet, our thoughts on each day’s grub — and reveal how much weight we lost.
Weekly rations per person
Could you survive on this for a week?
Bacon & Ham – 4 oz (about four slices combined)
Other meat – £1.50 in value per person
Butter – 2oz
Cheese – 2oz
Margarine – 4oz
Cooking fat – 4oz
Milk – 3 pints
Sugar – 8oz
Preserves – 1lb every two months
Tea – 2oz
Eggs – one fresh egg (two for children)
Sweets or chocolate – 12oz every four weeks (one small bar a week)
BREAKFAST: Porridge, apple and a cup of tea.
LUNCH: Ham sandwich, plain biscuit and cup of tea.
SNACKS: Plain digestive, cucumber sticks and water.
DINNER: Toad in the hole and peas. Strawberries for pudding.
MONDAY’S VERDICT: The children like to start the day scoffing a big bowl of cereal with chopped banana and drink a glass of orange juice or milk and a cup of tea.
Unsurprisingly, they were not impressed with their meagre offerings this morning. Lexi wouldn’t eat the porridge so just had milk.
Everybody enjoyed dinner, but there wasn’t enough. By the end of the day we were all a bit “hangry”.
Natasha Harding and her family made the food last
BREAKFAST: Slice of bread with scraping of butter and jam. A cup of tea and half a pear.
LUNCH: Salad sandwich, home-made fairy cake and cup of tea.
DINNER: Small jacket potato, scraping of butter and grated cheese with salad (lettuce, spring onion, cucumber). Egg custard for pudding.
SNACKS: Carrot sticks and water.
VERDICT: I’ve become really aware of everything we eat. Instead of just grabbing what I’d like to have there and then, I’m reminding myself that the food needs to last all week.
Lexi and I made fairy cakes which was lovely – until I reminded her that they wouldn’t have any icing on them. We put some jam on the top instead.
BREAKFAST: Porridge, cup of tea and two strawberries.
LUNCH: Grated cheese and lettuce sandwich, digestive biscuit with some jam and a cup of tea.
DINNER: Cottage pie, carrots and peas. Half a pear for pudding.
SNACKS: Fairy cake and cucumber sticks.
VERDICT: I’m conscious that the cheese needs to last all week, so I padded out our lunchtime sandwich with extra lettuce. The sugar seems to be going down at an alarming rate, so I’m trying to reduce it in my tea.
I made the cottage pie with extra vegetables, hoping there would be some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch – and there is. Result.
Natasha with husband Paul and children Zak and Lexi
BREAKFAST: Porridge, half an apple and a cup of tea.
LUNCH: Leftover cottage pie for Paul and Natasha. Jam sandwich for Zak and Lexi. Carrot sticks.
DINNER: Vegetable soup with home-made bread rolls. A small bar of chocolate for pudding.
SNACKS: Water and tea.
VERDICT: Having something different for lunch was good, even though it was only leftovers from yesterday.
I enjoyed making the soup and the bread and they were very easy. I followed a wartime recipe for oat-topped rolls.
We all savoured the only bar of chocolate we had for the week.
BREAKFAST: Bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. Cherries.
LUNCH: Leftover vegetable soup with half a pear for pudding.
FRIDAY: Ham, new potato and peas. One home-made fairy cake for pudding.
SNACKS: Digestive biscuit.
VERDICT: The bacon sandwiches went down a treat, although Zak did miss having tomato ketchup on his.
The soup was also even better today, although the children weren’t too keen on having it again.
Natasha and Zak try to make the best of the food that’s available
BREAKFAST: Slice of bread and butter, half a sausage.
LUNCH: Jam sandwich and a cup of tea.
DINNER: Potato cakes, peas and salad. Cherries for pudding.
SNACKS: Home-made oat biscuit and a cup of tea.
VERDICT: Breakfast was lovely – although I was so hungry I could have eaten it twice.
The potato cakes were delicious for dinner. Lexi and I made oat biscuits, which were very tasty.
BREAKFAST: Slice of bread and half a sausage.
LUNCH: Potato scones, a home-made oat biscuit and a cup of tea.
DINNER: Chicken, mashed potato, carrots and peas. Jam pudding.
SNACKS: Cup of tea and water.
VERDICT: Our last day has been interesting as we have spoken a lot about what we are going to eat tomorrow, when we are free of rations.
But I think Lexi has particularly enjoyed helping me in the kitchen and we have all learnt a lot about food and nutrition.
[boxout headline=”What we lost”]NATASHA: WAS 11st 11Ib – NOW 11st 10 Ib
PAUL: WAS 13st 7Ib – NOW 13 stone 5Ib
ZAK: WAS 8st 10Ib – NOW: 8st 7Ib
LEXI: WAS 4st 3Ib – NOW 4st
Hungry, tired, fed-up
HOW did we feel this week? Hungry, tired and irritable, writes Natasha.
We spent a lot of time talking about food but at least we all lost a few pounds.
I got fruit and vet from the farm shop, and the food is cheaper and does not come with needless plastic waste. I’m going to make an effort to continue buying there.
Because I was cooking from scratch, I came to realise how wasteful we can all be with basic ingredients such as butter and milk. Lexi enjoyed shucking peas with me.
The Harding family said they learned from the experience
We ate healthily and the food was nice – there just wasn’t enough of it.
Paul says: “I don’t ever eat breakfast, so I didn’t notice the difference until lunchtime and then I did struggle.
“I’m a snacker, so I missed being able to go to the fridge and have extra food.”
Zak says: “I found it hard because I do a lot of sport. I was hungry all the time. Lunchtime was the hardest because I was at school and had a tiny sandwich and only water. I missed bread sticks and rice cakes too.
Lexi says: “I didn’t really like the porridge so had warm milk for breakfast with fruit. I liked the food but missed things such as pasta and spaghetti hoops – and chips.
“I usually have chocolate every day, but I liked the fairy cakes and oat biscuits.
[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN FABULOUS” posts_category=”30″ posts_number=”12″ query_type=”popular” /]
[boxout headline=”Not fun, but good”]WORLD War Two rations were meticulously worked out by scientists at Cambridge University so the nation would have sufficient calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, writes Sun nutritionist Amanda Ursell.
There was no “slack” when it came to calories and intakes of saturated fat, salt and sugars tended to be low, which was good for the heart and teeth.
Today, people eat on the hoof – grabbing food whenever they fancy it and consuming a high proportion of processed foods.
But in the 1940s and 50s it would have been hard to overeat in calories and lay down fat stores.
Rationing wasn’t fun, but we could do worse than follow some of the ideas – three meals a day, smaller portions, less fatty meat, fast food, cakes and biscuits and by eating more veg.
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