It was easier to find meats with no sugar in those days. The onslaught of high fructose corn syrup in almost everything wasn't in full swing yet. Prepared meats often had it though, so they were iffy at best. Better to buy a larger than needed roast, serve it for supper with potatoes and veggies, then cut lunches from the leftover meat. And I made non-wheat pastas ~ I found tomato sauce that didn't have sugar in it and added meat and veggies. Did my child grow up without french fries? Absolutely not. I bought locally grown potatoes and saved the large ones for fries, slicing them into strips and frying them in oil, then serving them with vinegar, sea salt and Parmesan cheese. I started using more herbs and spices in food to add flavour that was preferable to just the sugar and salt in many foods.
Spelt pancakes became a favourite, with no sugar in the batter, but sometimes fruit, and a tiddle of maple syrup drizzled over them. No one cared that the pancakes were a little flat.... "flat as a pancake" applied, but they were yum. I routinely made a large batch of small, "silver dollar" pancakes, served some right away, and froze the rest. Then I just popped some off the frozen pile for subsequent breakfasts, warming them in the microwave, so we had our own quick breakfasts. (If you try this, warm them slowly on low heat, or you'll turn your pancakes into hockey pucks. I warmed them on the "thaw" setting for a minute per pancake.)
I had long since gotten used to the fact that I had to cook and bake ~ no night off at the local fast food joint. Making the kind of meat and pototoes meals I had grown up on was easy. But making the adjustment to no sugar in breads and muffins was probably the hardest part of this. Baking with spelt was challenging anyway. Without sugar, how was I supposed to make it rise and taste good? The obvious answer was honey, but you can't just substitute a half cup honey for a half cup sugar, it's more complex than that. So I cut down on the number of different things I made and just focused on getting a few things right. Breads and muffins were the most needed, so that's what I concentrated on. I found that by adding apple sauce and spices like cinnamon to them, the results were sweeter and tastier. Cinnamon cookies became a favourite treat, and because we didn't have money to buy gifts, we often made these cookies together in the shape of big hearts to give to people for special occasions, such as Mother's and Father's Day, or Valentine's Day. Bud's Nanna was always happy to get a big cookie and a homemade card as her gift. Cakes were very difficult, but I did my best as occasion demanded and at least they were all better than that first one. I made icing using whipped egg whites with warm honey drizzled in for both cakes and cookies.
But inside, in the kitchen, I experimented, we baked and learned. Our food was basic, but healthy and good. We had fun with salt dough, we coloured Easter eggs with beet juice, onion skins and blueberries. We froze unsweetened fruit juice in those popsicle trays so Butterfly could enjoy frozen treats. We went to the local maple syrup festival to keep her in maple sugar treats... handed out sparingly. We found gummy bears at the local health food store that were made with unsweetened fruit juice. And so Butterfly grew and learned and we all enjoyed brief periods of relative calm when we managed to keep all the problem foods we knew about out of her diet.