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How Not To Snack While Watching Television

Last updated July 29, 2017

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Television viewing can affect our health in a lot more ways than one can possibly think of. Many of us snack mindlessly in front of the television screen after work or studying, indulging in unhealthy food options as we reduce our physical activity.

Television has become a regular and essential commodity in every household. However, its presence has secretly taken a toll on our body and health. Television viewing can affect our health in a lot more ways than one can possibly think of. Many of us snack mindlessly in front of the television screen after work or studying, indulging in unhealthy food options as we reduce our physical activity.

Nevertheless, there are a few ways through which you can reduce your caloric intake and possibly even lose a few pounds by not snacking in front of a television again. These include:

Cut down any cravings beforehand:

A clinical trial carried out at Yale School of Medicine, led by David Katz, suggests that most of the trial subjects chose to indulge in binge eating during television viewing to keep themselves from fidgeting and getting bored. He added that people normally reach out for unhealthy comfort foods, often accompanied by alcohol or sugar rich foods that are actually fattening in nature and lead to obesity and heart diseases.

To counteract this, one can indulge in healthy light snacks consisting of abundant fruits and fiber before sitting down to watch television, especially if it is for prolonged periods. A small platter of fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery, are excellent sources of fiber as well as good low-fat food options that you can help yourself to while staying tuned to your favorite television program.

Indulge in a light workout while you watch:

Binge eating can lead to a lot of health problems such as hormonal and blood sugar disturbances, and even obesity. If not controlled, you can even invite heart problems like congestive heart failure, hypertension, and coronary blockage. This is due to the fact that as we get busy watching television, we often compromise with the quality and the quantity of the food we ingest, leading to an unintentional intake of calories, which may include harmful salt, sugar, and trans fats.

According to a research publication by the American Dietetic Association and Dr. Lauren Solotar, the Head of Behavioral Health Organization, we should understand the difference between the need to eat and desire to eat. By tracking what triggers us, we can avoid eating snacks during our television time. We can try to make ourselves busy by indulging in light to moderate physical activity such as performing sit-ups, push-ups, or by simply marching in the same place. This way, we would not have the time to get restless and crave for unhealthy and fattening snacks.

Lastly, by gaining a few good habits, such as staying hydrated, reducing the time of television watching, and munching healthy, we can avoid gaining weight as well as getting unwanted health issues owing to sitting or eating a snack while watching television. It is just a matter of changing our daily routine and forming better habits such as having scheduled television watching hour that we start our journey to achieving a better and healthy body.


http://www.cardiactherapy.org/Members/handouts/To_snack_or_not_to_snack.pdf (accessed on 29/1/2015)

http://news.psu.edu/story/141257/2006/08/07/research/probing-question-does-eating-while-watching-tv-harm-kids (accessed on 29/1/2015)

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/2/355.full (accessed on 29/1/2015)

http://advancingyourhealth.org/bariatric-weight-loss/2012/04/30/watching-television-bad-for-your-weight (accessed on 29/1/2015)

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037 (accessed on 29/1/2015)

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/4/728.abstract (accessed on 29/1/2015)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Francis, L. A., Lee, Y., & Birch, L. L. (2003). Parental weight status and girls’ television viewing, snacking, and body mass indexes. Obesity, 11(1), 143-151.

Gore, S. A., Foster, J. A., DiLillo, V. G., Kirk, K., & West, D. S. (2003). Television viewing and snacking. Eating behaviors, 4(4), 399-405.

Feldman, S., Eisenberg, M. E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Story, M. (2007). Associations between watching TV during family meals and dietary intake among adolescents. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 39(5), 257-263.

Matheson, D. M., Killen, J. D., Wang, Y., Varady, A., & Robinson, T. N. (2004). Children’s food consumption during television viewing. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 79(6), 1088-1094.

Francis, L. A., & Birch, L. L. (2006). Does eating during television viewing affect preschool children’s intake?. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106(4), 598-600.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 29, 2017
Last updated: July 29, 2017