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Published January 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

Parenting Perspectives: Food for thought from one picky eater to another

My older grandson could survive indefinitely on macaroni and cheese, pizza and cold cereal.

By: Kathy Tofflemire, INFORUM

My older grandson could survive indefinitely on macaroni and cheese, pizza and cold cereal.

Getting him to try anything out of his comfort zone is like pulling teeth.

The other night at a Mexican restaurant, we tried to get him to taste the Spanish rice that came with his cheese quesadilla. He took three bites. No, we can’t call them bites. He ate three grains of rice.

I couldn’t argue with him much; I’m not a fan of Spanish rice myself.

My younger grandson is more likely to at least try new things. He will eat salads. His brother will only eat the croutons in the salad.

I wasn’t a picky eater as a child. I ate whatever my mother served, not that she demanded that. The exceptions I remember were allowing me to put brown sugar on my white rice (sounds terrible now), and letting me eat canned tomatoes instead of canned spinach. It has taken me years to get over my aversion to spinach – the canned variety reminded me of seaweed. Of course, fresh spinach is delicious.

My mother never bought sugary cereals. And that was before there were

100 varieties of chocolate/peanut butter/fruit-flavored/cinnamon concoctions.

No Tony the Tiger flakes for us. I ate Kix and Rice Chex or Rice Krispies. My older brother consumed mass quantities of Cheerios.

Earlier in my grandsons’ lives, cereal choice had nothing to do with taste, let alone nutrition. They were more interested in what nonfood item was packed inside the box.

As a child, I loved going to my best friend’s house, where there was actually a “candy drawer.” My mother made cookies, an occasional cake, and my favorite: a cherry crisp that I’ve never been able to duplicate. But my friend’s mom made fudge and divinity and let us pull taffy.

Back in the day, going out to dinner was a rare treat, usually marking a birthday or some other special occasion.

I can remember one of the first fast-food restaurants in my hometown: Henry’s Hamburgers. Fifteen cents for a burger, if I remember correctly.

But it is a different world now, and one that explains the epidemic of obesity among children.

The nightly sitdown family dinners are a thing of the past for many people. Everyone’s busy, including the youngsters.

A trip through the drive-through is quick and convenient for families on the go and for those of us who live alone.

One of the first recognizable business signs for my grandsons was the Golden Arches.

As someone who has battled weight most of my adult life, I am relieved that, at least at this point, both boys are thin. Probably because they are on the go most of the time. They love to play outside, even in the cold.

And here comes the Nintendo Wii – a great way to keep active when the winter winds are blowing. Some of the sports games can make you work up a sweat.

And, guess what, Grandma is an excellent Wii bowler. I won, pass the potato chips.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514 or ktofflemire@forumcomm.com