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Would You Feed Your Child "Diet Food?"

Caroline Campion, contributor to Babble’s The Family Kitchen, posted a piece today about discovering that a kindergartner in her elementary school was being sent with lunch consisting entirely of low-calorie, packaged, processed foods.  In it she says that “the little girl was able to describe the calorie-counts of each item.”

She offers some valuable insight “as a long-time editor at several woman’s magazines,” discussing stories where “eating disorders start with the writer describing a mother who was obsessed with fad diets—from grapefruit to South Beach—or put them on a diet at an early age.”  I remember reading a similar story in Oprah magazine about Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter Jess Zimmerman. Robin spent Jessica’s childhood feeling ashamed that her daughter was fat.  She says she “packed abstemious school lunches—half a sandwich, a fruit, no junk.”  Experts say it’s best not to talk to your kids about dieting, and even though Henig was trying to keep her daughter’s weight in control (Zimmerman maintains that she is naturally fat), a piece of fruit is a much healthier choice than a 100-calorie cupcake.

Campion ends her piece by saying she thinks about “sugar and fat content as well,” but has “never given (her) kids a Snackwell product or a Lean Cuisine meal or a glass of Crystal Light.”  What do you think?  Is it okay to feed kids “diet” food?

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