What to Eat While Watching TV

Posted On Oct 10, 2017 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

what to eat when you watch television

The two go hand and hand: munching on snacks while watching TV go together like Fall and pumpkin or pie and ice cream. My first recommendation is to stop this habit altogether. Mindlessly eating while watching TV is a fast-track to gaining weight and a bad habit all the way around. If your brain is focused on something else such as TV, a movie, or surfing Facebook, the message from your stomach to brain will not be relayed to cue fullness and stop eating until you're stuffed.

  1. If you do want something to munch on while watching TV, limit it to single servings on a plate or in a bowl. Don't munch straight from a bag of chips or box of crackers. It's too easy to end up finishing the bag or box because you're not paying attention.
  2. If snacking while vegging on the coach is a part of your daily routine, restructure your TV watching time by doing things to discourage mindless snacking. Brush your teeth right after dinner, have a cup of tea or lemon water to sip on, chew a piece of gum, do push-ups, squats and sit-ups while watching your favorite show. Chances are if you're active at least part of the time, you're less likely to want to munch.
  3. Check in with yourself and write down what you eat. You don't have to food log your entire day but if eating while watching TV is problematic, keep a food journal. This serves two purposes: Makes you more aware of what and how much you're eating and discourages you from indulging if you're not truly hungry.
  4. Remove culprits from your environment: clean out your cupboards and fridge of any foods that tempt you to overindulge.
  5. Restock your pantry with these healthier options that are low-calorie but large volume (in other words you can eat a large amount but not overdo it on calories) or take a long time to eat:
    • Light popcorn
    • Watermelon chunks
    • Apple slices
    • Beef jerky* (take a single portion from the bag)
    • Raw vegetables with a low-calorie dip

The bottom-line is that munching and TV watching is a perfect recipe for weight gain and reinforces poor eating habits and mind-body-hunger awareness, essential for long-term weight management.