You and Your Family’s Food

Are you one of this country’s homemakers — and trying to do a blue-ribbon job of feeding your family well? If so, you know that your task is vital to family health and important to happiness, and it isn’t easy. You have a 4-point food program:

To serve enjoyable meals.
To keep your family well nourished.
To practice thrift when need be.
To save time and energy where you can.

Nutrition up to date – up to you

Nutrition is the science that deals with food at work – food on the job for you.

Modern knowledge of food at work brings a new kind of mastery over life.
When you—and your family—eat the right food, it does far more than just keep you alive and going.

The right food helps you to be at your best in health and vitality. It can even help you to stay young longer, postponing old age. An individual well fed from babyhood is more likely to enjoy a long prime of life. But at any age, you are better off when you are better fed.

Food’s three big jobs

1. Food provides materials for the body’s building and repair. Protein and minerals (and water) are what tissue and bone are chiefly made of. Children must have these food materials to grow on; and all lifelong the body continues to require supplies for upkeep.

2. Food provides regulators that enable the body to use other materials and to run smoothly. Vitamins do important work in this line, and minerals and protein, too.

3. Food provides fuel for the body’s energy and warmth. There is some fuel in every food.

Food’s needs, A to Z

From vitamin A to the mineral zinc, a list of nutrients – chemical substances that the body is known to require from food – would total more than 40. And there may be some not yet detected.

You can put nutrition knowledge to use without being introduced to all of the body’s A-to-Z needs. When daily meals provide sufficiently for the following key nutrients, you can be reasonably sure of getting the rest.


Protein was named from a Greek word meaning “first.” Nearly a hundred years ago, it was recognized as the main substance in all of the body’s muscles and organs, skin, hair, and other tissues. No simple substance could build and renew such different tissues, and protein has proved to be complex and varied.

Protein in different foods is made up of varying combinations of 22 simpler materials called amino acids. If need be, the body can make its own supply of more than half of these amino acids. But the remaining amino acids must come readymade from food. And to get the best use form these special ones, the body needs them all together, either in one food or in some combination of foods.

The best quality proteins have all of these especially important amino acids, and worthwhile amount of each.

You get top-rating proteins in foods from animal sources, as in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. Some of these protein foods are needed each day; and it is an advantage to include some in each meal.

Next best for proteins are soybeans, nuts and dry beans and peas. When these are featured in main dishes, try to combine them with a little top-rating protein food.

Cereals, bread, vegetables, and fruits also provide some protein, but of lower quality. The protein value of these foods can be increased by combining them with foods from animal sources. Many an American—style dishes such as meat-and-vegetable stew, egg sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, cereal and milk, are highly nutritious combinations. For in the body’s remarkable chemistry the high-grade proteins team with the less complete proteins in many companion foods and make the latter more useful than if eaten alone.


Calcium is one of the chief mineral materials in bones and teeth. About 99 percent of all the calcium in the body is used for framework. Small but important, the other 1 percent remains in body fluids. Such as the blood. Without this calcium, muscles can’t contract and relax and nerves can’t carry their messages.

For calcium to be used properly, other substances are needed in right quantities—vitamin D and phosphorus, for example

Many people go through life with bones that are calcium-poor. If a child gets to little calcium in his food or if his bones fail to deposit the calcium properly, then the bones will be smaller than they should be, or malformed as when legs are bent in rickets. Older people who are calcium-poor may have brittle bones that break easily and mend slowly. Whether you are young or old, it’s a good thing to have a calcium-rich diet.

The outstanding food for calcium, without using milk in some form. You can hardly get enough calcium without using milk in some form. Next best foods for calcium are some of the leafy green vegetables—notably turnip tops, mustard greens and kale.


One of the essential materials for red blood cells is iron. Without its iron supply, the blood could not carry oxygen from the lungs to each body cell.

When meals are varied, you get some iron from many different foods. Liver is an outstanding source for iron. And one good reason for eating dark-green vegetables is their iron content.

Some of the other foods that add iron are egg yolks, meats in general, peas and beans of all kinds, dried fruits, molasses, bread and other cereal foods made from the whole grain or from enriched flour.


Your body must have small but steady amounts of iodine to help the thyroid gland work properly. The most familiar bad effect of getting too little iodine is a swelling of the gland, called goiter.

Along the seas coast, and in some other parts of the United States, iodine is contained in the drinking water and in vegetables and fruits grown in local soil. But too little iodine in water and soil is the cause of a wide “goiter belt” across the country, particularly around the Great Lakes and in northwestern States.

It is well to plan for iodine, particularly if you live inland. Eating salt-water fish or other food from the sea at least one a week will help. But the best line of defense is to use iodized table salt regularly.

One point of warning must be added. Using iodized salt regularly can prevent simple goiter, but the cure of goiter is a medical problem. All persons with goiter should be under medical supervision.

Vitamins in general

Nearly 20 vitamins that are known or believed to be important to human well-being have thus far been discovered. A few more vitamins are known to be important to such creatures as fish, chickens, or insects, but not to people.

When you at a variety of food you are pretty sure of getting a well-rounded assortment of the vitamins you need – except perhaps vitamin D. And you may also be getting other vitamins still undetected in food, but serving you just; the same. Separate doses of one or more selected vitamins are best taken under doctor’s orders.

The following vitamins are of practical importance in planning family meals.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important to the young for growth. And at all ages it is important for normal vision, especially in dim light.

In one way or another, many vitamins help protect the body against infection, and vitamin A’s guard duty is to help keep the skin and the linings of nose, mouth, and inner organs in good condition. If these surfaces are weakened, bacteria can invade more easily.

You can get vitamin A from some animal foods. Good sources are liver, egg yolks, butter, whole milk and cream, and cheese made from whole milk or cream. Fish-liver oils, which children take for vitamin D, are rich in vitamin A besides.

From many vegetable foods you can get carotenes, which are yellow-orange substances that the body converts into vitamin A. Dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables are especially good sources. Margarine, a vegetable fat, is now fortified with vitamin A or carotene.

Some vitamin A can be stored in the body. A savings account of vitamin A savings account of vitamin A in your system may be drawn upon, if in any emergency this vitamin is wanting in the diet.

The B-vitamin family

Thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin are the most generally known and best understood of the B-vitamins. Getting enough of these in food helps with steady nerves, normal appetite, good digestion, good morale, and healthy skin.

When these B’s are seriously wanting in diet, ills such as beriberi and pellagra follow. But far more common in this country are borderline cases. The chronic grouch, the lazy bones, the nervous man, the housewife with vague complaints, may be showing effect of food providing too little of these important B’s.

Other B-vitamins are folic acid and vitamin B12, booth important for healthy state of the blood. They are being used medically with success in treating two hard-to-cure diseases—pernicious anemia and sprue.

Few foods contain a real wealth of B-vitamin, but in a varied diet many foods contribute some and so build an adequate supply.

One way to make sure of raising your B level is to use regularly bread and flour made from whole grain or enriched so as to restore important B-vitamins.

Getting ample milk in the diet is important for B’s, too—for riboflavin in particular.

B-vitamins play a part in converting fuel in foods into energy. It follows that anyone who eats large quantities of starches and sugars also requires more food containing B-vitamins.

Vitamin C

The first vitamin separated from food was vitamin c, also called ascorbic acid. Tissues throughout the body can’t keep in good condition without vitamin C.

When diet is very low in this vitamin, gums are tender and bleed easily, joints swell and hurt, and muscles weaken. In advanced stages of vitamin C deficiency, the disease called scurvy results. This misery used to attack sailors on long voyages when they got no fresh food. In time, they found they could fight scurvy with lemon, lime or orange juice added to rations. Much later, vitamin C, the scurvy-fighter itself, was discovered.

Scurvy is rare now in this country. But many people do not get as much vitamin C as they need for best health.

You need some food rich in vitamin C daily because the body can’t store much of this vitamin.

All of the familiar citrus fruits are bountiful sources of vitamin C. Half a glass (4 Ounces) of orange or grapefruit juice, fresh, frozen, or canned, goes far toward meeting a day’s needs. The same is true of half a grapefruit, a whole orange, or a couple of tangerines or lemons.

Other worthwhile sources of vitamin C include tomatoes and tomato juice, canned or fresh; fresh strawberries and cantaloupe; also raw cabbage and some green vegetables such as broccoli, green pepper, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach; potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is especially important to the young, because it works with mineral to form straight, strong bones, and sound teeth. An individual should get some of this vitamin regularly, at least through the growing stage. It is also important for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

We get vitamin D from sunshine and from certain foods. The sun’s rays striking the skin change certain substances in the skin into vitamin D. Valuable food sources of vitamin D are egg yolk, butter, salmon, tuna, sardines, milk to which vitamin D has been added.

We get vitamin D from sunshine and from certain foods. The sun’s rays striking the skin change certain substances in the skin into vitamin D. Valuable food sources of vitamin D are egg yolk, salmon, tuna, sardines, milk to which vitamin D has been added.

From baby days on, children can make good use of sunshine. But they should be protected well against sunburn or sunstroke. They can’t get much vitamin D from the sun when they wear heavy clothes for cold weather, or when sunlight is cut off by clouds, smoke, fog, dust or ordinary window glass.

Young children sometimes need a supplement to the vitamin D they get from sunshine and food. This supplement may be a special vitamin D preparation or one of the fish-liver oils prescribed by their physician.


Fats play several roles in the body. They are a primary source of energy. Certain kinds furnish vitamin A or D, and some—fish-liver oils, for example—provide both. Moreover fats help the body make use of these vitamins. Several fats and oils, especially those from plant sources, furnish essential fatty acids.

Some fat is needed daily, but the total mount should be moderate. Vegetable oils may well be part of the total. Keep in mind that you get a good deal of fat from such foods as meat, whole milk and its products, and egg yolk, which contain fat naturally, and from many of the popular snack foods.


For the body’s energy in work and plan, fuel must come from food. The value of foods for this purpose is figured in calories. Main sources are fats, starches, and sugars, but all foods furnish calories—some many, some few, in a given-size portion.

Your needs for food as fuels depend mainly on two things the size of your body and how active you are. An average-size middle-aged man who is a desk worker and is only moderately active outside the office needs about 2,700 calories from daily food. A fast-growing, lively teenager, boy or girl, may need more calories than this grown man.

If your body weight stays about right for your height and build, it’s a sign that fuel intake from food matches your needs. The calories are taking care of themselves.

But suppose you are overweight . . . . . . what then?

When the body gets more food energy than it can use, it stores up the excess as fat. Accumulation of too much fat is sometimes termed the most frequent malnutrition problem in this country. To put it more plainly, many people eat too much.

Controlling weight

If you are under 20 years of age, or are 15 to 20 percent over normal weight, don’t try to reduce except under a physician’s guidance. This is also advisable if you are a young mother, or have anything wrong with your heart or other organs. If you are not in these groups, and need to reduce, take it slowly. A loss of a pound or two a week is plenty.

To reduce calories without starving your body of its other needs:

Eat three balanced meals, including foods from each of the following basic groups every day—
Milk and cheese. — Fluid or dry skim milk and buttermilk and cheese made from skim milk are lower in calories than other types of milk and cheese.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs. — Prepare and serve them without added fat or rich gravies and sauces. Trim fat from meats.

Vegetables and fruits. — Eat a variety — yes potatoes, too. But take them straight—vegetables without cream sauce or fat, fruit without sugar and cream.

Bread and cereals — Choose whole-grain, enriched, and restored kinds. Although these are no lower in calories than other kinds, they are more nutritious.

Avoid high-calorie foods like the fat on meat, cooking fat, salad oil, fried foods, gravies and rich sauces, nuts, pastries, cakes, cookies, rich desserts, candies, jellies, jams, and alcoholic and sugar-sweetened beverage.

Watch the amount of foods you eat . . . small servings mean fewer calories. If hungry between meals, have a piece of fruit or crisp vegetable or perhaps milk or a simple dessert saved from mealtime. This way you’re less likely to be tempted by high-calorie foods.

Choose a variety of foods for daily meals. If you do, there’s a better chance of supplying body needs than if you limit yourself to only a few.

If underweight you need three balanced meals, as overweight’s do. But to these meals you can freely add the extras shunned by the weight reducers—such as rich gravies and desserts, salad dressing and jams. And you can well take large servings and seconds at meals and some extra food as between-meal snacks.

Finding out what’s in foods

Taking foods apart chemically, scientists are learning more exactly, nutrient by nutrient, what each familiar food can provide for the body’s needs.

Up to you

To get all the nutrients needed, it’s wise to choose a variety of foods—but a well-planned variety. You will be off to a good start nutritionally if you use a food plan, such as the one given on pages 14 to 15, as a guide in choosing the kinds and amounts of food to include in a week’s meals. This plan, worked out by nutritionists, shows one way to be sure of getting needed quantities of protein, mineral, and other nutrients form food.

You are following through effectively when you cook by up-to-date methods that keep delicate vitamins and minerals from being lost.

And you can round out a family nutrition program by making mealtime interesting and food associations pleasant. For, after all, foods must be eaten to count for good nutrition. You can, for example …

• Make a collection of nutritious recipes that the whole family enjoys, and use them reasonable often. When re-using one of these favorites, vary the other foods that make up the meal.

• If an inexpensive dish seems dull, vary flavor with seasonings, or combine with other foods in different ways.

• Use contrast in food colors, flavors, textures. Some bright-colored food and something crisp, for example, can heighten the eye appeal and appetite appeal of a meal.

• Introduce a new food to a young child in sample tastes, and at the start of a meal when he is hungry . . . and if he doesn’t like it at first, try another day.


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