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From Mum, in Kelseyville, California:

"OATMEAL:  When I was in high school (lo many, many moons ago!!) I went on a bicycle trip.  We went around the thumb of Wisconsin and stayed in Youth Hostels.   Most mornings we had a breakfast of dry oatmeal with raisins, apples  (picked from trees that overhung the roadways), sometimes dates, plus milk and sugar of course....if we got hungry during our next 30 miles we simply took a long drink of water and the oatmeal in our stomachs expanded and kept us going until lunchtime!  I think we invented granola but didn't realize it then."

Thanks for the story and the hint.  That's still an economical and healthy oatmeal 'trail mix' to take along on hikes and trips.  Small cartons of milk are available now that don't have to be refrigerated until opened, and would be easy to carry.  Some commercial granolas and trail mixes are so loaded with saturated fat and salt that any benefit from the exercise would be canceled out by the munchies.

Another suggestion from Mum:

"I firmly believe that good eating habits in children go way back to their first solid foods. With the birth of my first child....a LONG time  ago, as was the custom then, the doctor had  me start her on solids at about 6 weeks of age....YES, 6 WEEKS... not months!  It was of all things orange juice which would never been suggested today.  I have started each infant on solid foods as early as possible and while they might not gain much nutrition from those first couple months of applesauce and rice cereal, they did learn to eat.  I have never had a problem with my children eating fruits and veggies!  I am now raising children that are NOT my biological children, so I don't think genes have anything to do with it.  I think it is attitude when they are quite young.  Don't know if this will help at all.... "

I'm with you on that one.  In my opinion, children are as likely to be allergic to milk and baby wheat cereal as to other foods, and an experienced mother can soon tell if their digestion isn't up to some food.  I fed my children very little commercial "baby food";  they ate largely what we ate from just a few weeks of age;   finely pureed potatoes, carrots, squash, yams or other soft  veggies, mixed with a little milk, bottled applesauce, scraped raw apples and bananas.... My son was insatiable.  If I brought him to the table from six weeks of age on, he grabbed at my plate.  One of his favorite treats, while we ate, was to suck on the end of a pork chop or ham bone.  My kids ate virtually everything when they were older (still do) with great gusto.

Mum continues:

"We do have some 'junk' food in the house, not as much as our 13 year old would like of course and his allowance goes mostly for chips and such, but at least at dinner he does eat a substantial amount of 'proper' food.

I agree, since one can't control the junk kids want to eat, that at least we can mostly make them buy it with their allowance.  Thirteen is a difficult age, isn't it?   Kids want to do the contrary to what we want them to do, including inventing their own diets.  Part of the "growing away" process.  But the apple doesn't fall far from the tree; most kids raised with good eating habits come back to them eventually.

Thanks so much for your valuable input.

The Sneaky Kitchen
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