Last Updated on September 22, 2022 by Create Better Health
Did you know that watching T.V. while you eat is a big deterrent to eating mindfully? Mindful eating is simply being aware of what you are putting in your mouth, paying attention to how it affects your body, feelings, and mind. (Read more about mindful eating by clicking here). The T.V. acts as a distraction. After a long day a distraction at mealtime may sound nice, but when you pay attention to the T.V., rather than the food in front of you, you are likely to miss satiety cues. Satiety cues tell you when you are satisfied. Paying attention to them helps you avoid over eating. Stopping when you are satisfied plays a big role in portion control and maintaining a healthy weight.
Another problem with watching T.V while you eat is the effect it has on your children. Eatright.org tells us that on average children see around 10 advertisements each day promoting a food or beverage. It’s not all apples and oranges though! Ninety percent of those advertisements are for foods that are high in the ingredients that we should encourage children to limit in their diets. According to Healthychildren.org, the fast food industry spends almost 5 million dollars a day to advertise foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. They also show portion sizes that are much larger than what is actually recommended by MyPlate. Studies show that even young children can develop food cravings for these unhealthy advertised foods even if they have never actually tasted them. The same can be said for other screens and devices that can distract you at mealtime.
Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to model healthy behaviors. If you turn off the T.V. during mealtime, they’ll be accustomed to it. Not having the T.V. on will be their normal. Use that time to talk, share, teach, and bond with each other. Additionally, talk with your children about the advertisements they see on T.V. Educate them on which foods are healthy and which foods are not. Explain to them why they need to be eating certain kinds of food and the good it can do for their bodies. MyPlate Kids’ Place is a great resource to help you teach nutrition basics to your kids.
Here’s a yummy dish to share as a family during a media free meal.
It’s sweet and a little tangy. Serve it alone, with rice, or with noodles. Superhealthykids.com shares a great No Sugar Apricot Jam recipe that will work great in place of the preserves if you have fresh apricots and would like to try making jam on your own. Enjoy!