"If he wanted to eat."
Translation:Se ele quisesse comer.
Olá celanba, tudo bem? There seems to be a lot of support for 'queria' being used as conditional in everyday speech, although I don't think they have changed the conjugation of 'querer' on the sites I mentioned. Maybe Duolingo could indicate sometimes if they are expecting a 'formal' answer (business suit?) or an 'informal' one - (beach clothes?)
I believe Duo is correct in the two translations.
1) "se ele quisesse comer" uses the past subjunctive, a tense that is possibly very common in romance languages. It might be as frequently used in English, except it is not obvious. The conjugation for the past subjunctive of "to want" is "wanted" for all persons, i.e., the same as the simple past tense -- except for the verb "to be" which has a mismatch of "were" to certain persons). It is used to express mood of "desire, demand, necessity, recommendation, etc.", and also doubt or a degree of probability.
2) "if he wanted to eat" (as simple past tense) can also be paired with variety of tenses to make conditional or counterfactual statements, which can be rendered in Portuguese as "se ele quis comer..."
I am sad to hear that in Brazil the conditional tense is replaced with the preterite past tense. I think it takes imagination to use the conditional tense, and it should be encouraged. Possible worlds are always fun.