Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Elizabethan Food and Diet

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Elizabethan Food and Diet - A Balanced diet?


Did Elizabethan food and drink constitute a good balanced diet? No. And especially not for the rich. The rich ate few fresh vegetables and little fresh fruit - unprepared food of this variety was viewed with some suspicion. Fruit was usually served in pies or was preserved in honey.

Vegetables and fresh fruit were eaten by the poor - vegetables would have been included in some form of stew, soup or pottage. Food items which came from the ground were only are considered fit for the poor. Only vegetables such as rape, onions, garlic and leeks graced a Noble's table. Dairy products were also deemed as inferior foods and therefore only to be eaten by the poor.

Elizabethan Food and Diet - the diet of the poor was better than the diet of the Nobles.
Little was known about nutrition and the Elizabethan diet of the rich Nobles lacked Vitamin C, calcium and fibre. This led to an assortment of health problems including bad teeth, skin diseases, scurvy and rickets. Sugar was an expensive commodity and was known to blacken the teeth. It became fashionable to have blackened teeth and cosmetics were applied to achieve this effect if enough quantities of sugar were not available.

Elizabethan Food and Drink - Fasting
People of the Elizabethan era were highly religious and at certain times the eating of meat was banned. This was not an occasional ban. Certain religious observances banned the eating of meat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Meat was banned during the religious seasons of Lent and Advent. Meat was also declined on the eves of many religious holidays. Fasting and abstaining from eating meat was practised for over half the days in the year.

Elizabethan Food
Elizabethan Era Index

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