Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nutrition Tip: Observations of My Grandparents

My hubby and I went to Iowa last week to visit my grandparents. I am so lucky that I still have three grandparents, all in their 90s and living at home. Their generation has so much knowledge to share with us.

My grandparents are amazingly healthy. They have never been overweight. They have good eating habits not because someone told them that they should, but because that is just what they do.

We both (unknowingly) made some great observations about their nutrition habits on this trip. These healthy habits were not things that we had not heard before, but to see it in everyday action with truly healthy people was interesting.

Here are a few things that we observed:


They eat three meals everyday. They rarely snack. Skipping breakfast, or any other meal, is not an option.


Lunch is their largest meal (called "dinner" in Iowa-- crazy confusing). For "supper" they eat a small portion of what is leftover from "dinner".


They do not "restrict" anything, but their portions of everything are small. My dad reports that this has always been the case, therefore it is not due to decreased appetite that sometimes comes with age. My grandfather has a cookie with each meal. And he can.


When we asked them what their favorite meal was, they could not come up with one. They do not even make a special birthday meal. And not because there were too many foods to choose from. Food for them really seems to be more about necessity than desire.


If you told them that something was unhealthy for them, they would not eat it. Done. No argument.

This is the way of eating for my grandparents. It just is because it is. And it's working.


  1. It's so interesting to compare the eating habits between generations...I think we could learn a few things from our grandparents generation! Great post...your grandparents are adorable :)

  2. This is really great, yet such common sense. How lucky are you to have three grandparents all in their 90s! Nice post.

  3. It's so simple and logical. Thank you for reminding me what I need to teach my kids about eating. It's not the event of the day--it's a necessity, like you said, to fuel us.

  4. My neighbors are both 94 and doing great. They still grow most of their vegetable and some fruit, bake their own bread and like your grandparents rarely eat in between My siblings and I grew up the same way; plus my brother has had juvenile diabetes since he was 5, so we rarely had cookies, cakes or candy. It's a good way to eat.

  5. people in iowa don't call lunch dinner, thats just something older people from lots of places do.

  6. I think the "dinner" thing comes from living on the farm.....we did the same thing in my family here in Nebraska.

    I loved your post. You described my grandparents' eating habits to a T. They were extrememly healthy, lived long lives eating good home cooking.....they never went out to eat. In fact they went on a cruise once and Grandma packed all of their food....how hilarious is that?!?!!?

  7. I married into a farm family and being from the city their eating terms had a learning curve. They had breakfast, lunch, Dinner, lunch, supper, lunch. Lunch was a snack in between the 3 major meals. The "lunch" was usually brownies, cobbler, cookies, cake. My mother in law was cooking and baking all the time! She was an awesome cook.

  8. My grandparents have been gone for quite a while and they lived on a farm, meals were as you described.

    Bigger meals in the afternoon.

    Grandpa came in from the fields, I know supper was lighter in the summer, I can't remember the fall. I know it was always balanced and fresh.

    (I remember or saw home movies of the entire family helping with getting the crop of tomatoes in, I was 5, standing and eating tomatoes like an apple :)
    My mom cooked the same way, although she had a sweet tooth that tilted the balance.
    Thanks for sharing your family experience.

  9. As a kid growing up in the South, we used to call lunch "dinner" and dinner "supper". Sometimes I slip now and say dinner at lunch and my kids get confused!

    I really like the idea of not restricting any food, but just eating in moderation. The minute I feel like there's something I can't have I am already stressed!