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Wartime Meal Planning Part 2-Eat your Basic 7 Every Day

I don’t know how the examination of menu planning from the 20th century is impacting you, but it has really been giving me some things to think about.  It’s not that this is the first time I’ve looked at the information.

Perhaps I needed to take this walk down “memory lane” to remind me how much our grandmothers depended upon their kitchen gardens.  Anyone who is older than, say, three knows that recommendations for healthy eating change faster than a Midwestern sky during tornado season–eggs and margarine being prime examples of this.  But, one thing that seems to remain constant is the directive to “eat your fruits and vegetables.”  In fact, The Basic 7, that we’ll be looking at today, consists of three different groups related to fruits and vegetables.

What are your thoughts?

Eat Your Basic 7 Every Day

For Health…Some Food From Each Group…Every Day!

Group 1

Green and Yellow Vegetables (Raw, cooked, frozen, or canned)

Green Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, chicory, collards, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, green peppers, kale, lambs-quarters, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, okra, parsley, green peas, snap or string beans, spinach, turnip greens, water cress, other greens

Yellow Vegetables: carrots, pumpkin, rutabagas, squash-winter or Hubbard, squash-yellow summer, sweet potatoes, wax beans, yams, yellow turnips


Group 2

Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit* (or Raw Cabbage or Salad Greens)

Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit: Citrus juices, grapefruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, oranges, tomatoes, tomato juice, tangerines

*Note from Dr. J: Grapefruit interacts with many medications.  Check with your pharmacist to see if it will interact with any of your medication before eating it.

Raw Salad Greens: Cabbage, chicory, dandelion greens, escarole, green and red peppers, lambs-quarters, leaf lettuce, parsley, water cress, other raw greens.


Group 3

Potatoes, Other Vegetables and Fruits (Raw, dried, cooked, frozen or canned)

Other vegetables: Jerusalem artichoke, beets, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fresh lima beans, kohlrabi, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, salsify-oyster plant, sauerkraut, summer squash, turnips-white; All vegetables not mentioned elsewhere

Other fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackberries (the kind you eat, not talk into), cantaloupe*, cherries, cranberries, currants, dates, figs, gooseberries*, grape juice, huckleberries, loganberries*, muskmelon, mangoes, nectarines, papayas*, peaches, pears, persimmons*, pineapple*, plums, pomegranates, prunes, quince, raisins, rhubarb, strawberries*, watermelon, youngberries; All fruits not listed elsewhere

*Seasonal alternates for Group 2

Group 4

Milk and Milk Products (Fluid, evaporated, dried milk, or cheese)

Fluid-whole, fluid-skim, buttermilk, cultured milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, dry whole milk, dry skim milk, cream, cheese–all kinds, ice cream

Group 5

Meat, Poultry, Fish, or Eggs ( or Dried Beans, Peas, Nuts, or Peanut Butter)

Meat, Poultry, Fish (Fresh, canned, or cured): Beef, veal, pork (except bacon and fat back), lamb, mutton, variety meats (–liver, heart, etc.), miscellaneous meats (–bologna, etc.),  poultry (–chicken, duck, goose, turkey, guinea, squab), rabbit, fish (–fresh or salt water, shellfish, other sea food), game, eggs (–fresh, dried, or frozen)

Dried Peas, Beans, Nuts: Black-eyed peas, cowpeas, field peas, split peas, Great Northern beans, kidney beans, Lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, other dried beans and peas, lentils, peanut butter, nuts

Group 6

Bread, Flour, and Cereals (Natural whole grain –or enriched or restored)

Breads: Whole-wheat, enriched white, pumpernickel (enriched rye), rolls or biscuits made with whole-wheat or enriched flour, oatmeal bread

Flour and Meal: Whole wheat, enriched white, whole corn meal, other whole grains

Cereals: Whole wheat, mixed whole grain, rolled oats, brown rice, prepared cereals–whole grain, restored

Crackers (Dr. J note–It just says “crackers” without any elaboration)

Group 7

Butter             Margarine (With Vitamin A added)


Foods Commonly Used but Not Included in the Seven Food Groups

In buying foods from this list, remember that they furnish mostly calories and few minerals, vitamins, or good quality proteins.

Milled cereals and products made from them: White flour (not enriched), white rice, white bread or rolls (not enriched), cornstarch, white corn meal, hominy grits, macaroni, squaghetti and other pastas, crackers (white flour not enriched)

Sugars, sirups: Sugar, candy, molasses, corn sirup, can sirup, maple sirup, sorghum, honey, preserves, jams, jellies

Other Sweets: Cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, sheret

Fats and Oils (Other than butter and fortified margarine): Lard, salt pork or fat back, other shortenings, bacon, suet, mutton tallow, salad oils, french dressing, mayonnaise, other salad dressing, all other fats not included in other lists.

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  1. I have been following this topic with interest as I would like to eat healthier and am responsible for feeding others too. I do like seeing the lists of foods, this is the best way for me to actually buy and prepare them, but working on getting all seven groups in in one day would be too plan driven rather than meal driven. I think what would work for me is to work on knowing so many meals, say 10 or so, that are healthy and I know really well- ingrdients and preparation, and work on my shopping habits. Actually the “you” diet is really good in a practical ways – shopping lists, a few recipes, they tell you to get a really good knife, and the meals are planned out through the day, and it is free online. What would really help me eat better is to learn to cook!

  2. Ann, I think you are probably echoing some of the frustration our foremothers expressed (and why The Basic 7 really didn’t last that long). After all, Groups 1 & 2 are identical except for the addition of the citrus in Group 2.

    For me, though, I think it helps me to remember the big picture rather than the day to day practicality of it. For instance, as I was typing it out, I kept thinking “Oh! I haven’t had that in a while!” and it helped remind me that there is a HUGE array of fruits and vegetables I have allowed to slip from my dinner rotation.

    A thought just came to mind: When we were members of a local Community Supported Agriculture group, I didn’t have any choice when it came to the produce. What was in the box is what we ate. There were A LOT of times when I’d get something and not have a clue what it was and would have to use the process of elimination to figure out what it was (we’d get a list in our box of what was included). I’d then scour my cookbooks for recipes.

    Perhaps if you reframed it from “I have to fit this in” to “I’m going to try a new recipe for X” then it will feel more meal driven instead of plan driven for you. Just a thought?

  3. Yes, I think you are right. And I think having more confidence as a cook would help too. I do like seeing the list of food too, I forget these vegetables exsist as well.

  4. Pingback: Modern Retro Woman » Blog Archive » Meal Planning for Nutrition (c. 1950)

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