my mom never bought "junk". she would make cookies for us or wheatgerm chewies. (ugh!)
definitely no Kool Aid, Hostess, soda or any snacks like that. watered down juice, milk or water. fresh fruit, peanut butter on celery or apples. cheese but with crackers, bread, or fruit. eating cheese on it's own was just rude and over the top we could have it w/ something else
those were snacks. we never ate family style. my mom portioned out the meals. we had a huge garden and belonged to a food co-op.
we rarely went out to eat. like never. maybe if we were on a road trip- McD's or if it was too hot or mom was too tired to cook and that was not very often.
we got to pick one box of cereal a week when we went to the reg. grocery store- Cheerios, Kix, Shredded Wheat. we also could have oatmeal, eggs or cream of wheat for breakfast. so sugar-y cereals ever. too $$ for junk.
i never ate steak as a kid. even now my mom thinks it's extravagant.
chicken alot. "365 ways with chicken" my bro and i used to say. never dessert. maybe a little ice cream later in the evening.
my family was frugal. and my mom was a big advocate for whole foods and eating healthily. no canned veggies. no packaged food.
$2 back then for Zingers was spendy. i remember when milk was like $1.65 gallon and that was for a whole gallon! eggs were under a dollar. you could make dozens of cookies for much much less than a box of Zingers.
we took lunch- sandwiches or yogurt an apple or a banana. when i was in elementary school once a week we could get an ice cream bar- i liked Orange Combos. they were 20 cents.
my brother and i weren't allowed to watch a lot of tv so we didn't really get inundated with the commercials or the want for packaged food. we were pretty brainwashed my my mom too to call out the junk!
my mom was also a SAHM for a long time and we would help out with cooking etc. life wasn't as busy as it feels now. more time for homemaking things like cooking and baking.
i think that's a lot of the reason people eat out so much and buy prepackaged foods- everyone works all the time. it's quick and comparatively cheap when you factor in time for preparing and clean up.
people also earn more now but spend more time at work. at my first real job when i was 20 i had a much higher salary than my dad did when i was 15! that blew me away. he was a dad with a family and that had only been 5 years before. i was also expected to worked waaaayy more hours.