There are those who would define a perfect meal as all they want of what they like; they applaud the song, “Dont say diet, but when do we eat?” With all due appreciation of and sympathy with that definition, we are compelled, in dealing with this subject scientifically, to define a perfect meal as one which supplies a sufficiency of food for its portion of the daily digested and assimilated and which is palatable. Within the range of this definition an infinitude of perfect meals can be found. I select for an example the following meal, which has among its merits simplicity of structure and cheapness (its ingredients cost less than twenty-five cents).
A large bowl of whole wheat bread, milk and one or two apples or similar fruit, or, stated in definite quantities, a pint of milk, four ounces of whole wheat bread and eight ounces of fresh fruit.
This meal has a fuel value of about 800 calories. It contains nearly 30 grams of protein, more than half of which is “perfect” protein, about 20 grams of fat, and about 125 grams of carbohydrate. Its mineral content is satisfactory, as regards varieties and quantities: calcium is supplied particularly by the milk, and phosphorus particularly by the whole wheat. It contains good quantities of vitamins, Vitamin A being supplied particularly by the milk, Vitamin B particularly by the milk and the whole wheat. Vitamin C particularly by the fresh fruit, Vitamin D particularly by the milk and whole wheat, and Vitamin E particularly by the whole wheat.
It is digested easily by most people; if difficulty exists in regard to the digestion of milk it can generally be obviated by modification or substitution of proper equivalent.
It is easily assimilated; and being favorable to the development of the acid forming as against that of the putrefactive types of bacteria, as well as purine free, it is well suited for inclusion in an “easy diet” and has hygienic advantages. It is reasonably palatable; a liking for it is not difficult to acquire, and one does not tire of it.
This meal can be varied considerably without essentially changing it character, by modification, substitution of equivalents and rearrangement of its elements.
For the pint of whole milk may be substituted as approximately equivalent in protein content and not notably different in quality, the following: A. Skimmed milk or buttermilk, 16 ounces, with butter, 3/4 ounce. B. Cottage or pot cheese (curd), 22 ounces. with butter, 1 ounce. B. American, Swiss or full cream cheese, 2 ounces, with butter, 1/3 ounce. D. whole milk, 8 ounces, with cottage cheese, 1 ounce D. Whole milk, 8 ounces, with cottage cheese, 1 ounce, and cream, 2 ounces. E. Whole milk, 8 ounces with American, Swiss or full cream cheese, 1 ounce.
Among the different forms is which this meal may be served are the following: A. A bowl of bread and milk with fruit on the side. B. A bowl of bread and milk and berries. C. A large glass of skimmed milk or buttermilk with bread and butter and fruit. D. Cheese sandwiches with fruit. E. Bread and butter with cream cheese fruit salad. A convenient and generally acceptable form in which it may be served is as a bowl of bread and milk with baked apple. In the form of a bowl of bread and milk and huckleberries, it should appeal to an epicure.
This formula for a perfect meal is offered without prejudice to other perfect meals. It is fitting and proper that the diet should be as varied as circumstances permit; the pleasures of the table are legitimate within bounds; a combination of meat, potatoes, bread and butter and salad may also be a perfect meal. The meal here described has a place in the dietary of both health and disease. It is especially recommended for inclusion in the dietary of those who desire to keep well.