My food history # 3. Late 1960s – times are a-changing.



In 1966 it was my first year at high school. The biggest difference for me, in regards to food, was that snack foods could be purchased from the school canteen: confectionery, chocolates, chips, crisps, nuts, pies, and sausage rolls. In primary school only sandwiches and fruit were available, except once a week on Mondays. Needless to say, I revelled in this new-found freedom of being able to purchase lollies. Every. Single. Day.

That didn’t actually last long. Mid-way through the year, at the age of 12, I decided to give up confectionery. I had had a trip to the dentist. It wasn’t pleasant dealing with tooth decay and the inevitable fillings. I also was aware of obesity in my family, in both my parents. I decided that the lollies had to go. This has been a life-long pledge for me. I have never missed them or had any desire to eat them ever since. Although initially I still ate chocolates, eventually they too disappeared.

Nevertheless other sweet things did remain in my diet such as flavoured milks, iced confections, sweet desserts my mother made, biscuits, cakes, pikelets and apple pie. My grand-mother had a sweet tooth and sweet foods were readily available when visiting her. Frozen sweet drinks, which became available in a novel pyramid carton, were great after playing tennis on hot days.

Larger supermarkets opened in our home town and my mother began buying pre-prepared foods. Although most meals were still home-made, instant meals in packets were helpful at busy times, or for adding flavour to home-made dishes.

Chinese take away became popular, competing with the traditional fish and chips. In the late 1960s, the first US-style fast-food outlets opened in Sydney, although it was in the early 1970s before our family tried them. The first ones you parked and went into the restaurant to get your food. Later, drive-by outlets were here to stay. These became fashionable later than in America. In The Flintstones (1) which I watched as a teen, Fred would sometimes stop at a drive-by. It was foreign to me then exactly what they were.

Friends of mine went on slimming diets. Adults my mother associated with also talked about ‘dieting’, although my mother never did. I noticed people who I knew on diets ate crisp-breads (instead of bread) and yoghurt. Yoghurt had not been a food in our family diet. For a long-time I associated it with ‘slimming’. I never did try a ‘slimming’ diet’ myself as a teenager. However, at a lesson at school on health, ‘portion-control’ was described by the teacher as a way to prevent excess weight gain. After hearing that, I halved my usual lunch, even though I was not over-weight at the time. I began having two slices of bread for sandwiches instead of my previous four. I started to have eggs sometimes for breakfast as an impression had been given of them being non-fattening. I  also included more fruit. These were strategies to prevent excess weight gain, so even though I never fell into a ‘slimming’ diet-craze in my teens, I did become weight-aware, with a focus on types and amounts of foods I should eat. Before I began doing that I used to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. It would be 45 years before I would regain trust in my ability to respond to my natural feelings of hunger and fullness.

There was another food decision I made in my mid-teens. I decided not to consume coloured drinks. I stopped after I had observed the colour clinging to the tannin left behind in a cup and wondered to myself what the colour could be doing to me.

In summary, there had been some changes to food availability in the late 1960s with supermarkets, take-away food and fast-food outlets appearing. There was a subtle emphasis on being self-responsible for weight-control. For me personally, there were no dramatic food changes except for cutting out confectionery, avoiding coloured drinks, being conscious of food portions and eating more fruit.

Life, however, was about to take a critical turn.

This is a series of posts on my food history from my childhood up until 2013.

This is a series of posts on my food history from my childhood up until 2013.
My food history # 1 – My childhood diet – Late 1950s, early 1960s
My food history # 2 – Mid 1960s – First nutrition lessons
My food history # 3 – Late 1960s – Times are a-changing
My food history # 4 – Critical moments – my father
My food history # 5 – Fit 1970s – fibre – fruit – free of sugar
My food history # 6 – 1980s – Critical moments – a health scare – hypertension
My food history # 7 (part 1) – 1980s – Food Sensitivities – shattered ideals of healthy food
My food history # 7 (part 2) – 1980s – Food sensitivities – proving the culprit foods
My food history # 7 (part 3) – 1980s – Food sensitivities – hypertension & biogenic amines
My food history # 8 – The 1980s Healthy Eating Pyramid
My food history # 9 – The 1990s Nutrition studies – low GI – lipoproteins
My food history # 10 – 1990s combining ‘friendly’ with ‘healthy’ – a bland yet healthy diet
My food history # 11 – The 2000s – slow ticking time bombs
My food history # 12 – Critical events and life catastrophes



(1) The Flintsones was a cartoon series of the 1960s. Fred Flintstone was the main character.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or on this website should be taken as medical or dietary advice. Anyone reading any information provided within should seek advice from their own medical practitioner for any issue, disease, illness or health-related problem they may have. Always seek your own advice from a medical practitioner or dietitian before changing your own diet.


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