Eating in front of the television is common these days, as is checking phones, watching laptops and other screens. While most of us don’t really think twice about it, and some even claim that it has its advantages, watching TV while eating is a bad habit that does more harm than good.
Why is Eating in front of the TV a Bad Idea?
If you and your family included screentime in your mealtime, here are some side effects of watching TV while eating
1. Causes Overeating and Obesity
Studies have shown that we tend to eat more while watching TV as we have not been paying attention to how much we are eating. Eating too much will eventually lead to obesity.
When eating food and watching TV, the brain is distracted and sends out the wrong signals to the body and does not process the taste or satisfaction of the palette.
3. Unhealthy Eating Habits
Unhealthy eating becomes a habit while watching television as you are unable to appreciate the food you eat if you are concentrating on the TV.
4. Lower Metabolism
Watching TV while eating lowers the metabolic rate leading to the food being digested slower and the fat being burned slowly.
Eating while watching TV and digestion are linked as you are unable to process how much and what you are eating. This, in turn, will lead to problems with digestion as your body is unable to properly digest the amount or the kind of food being eaten.
6. No Satisfaction
When your mind needs to concentrate on two things at once, it is unable to enjoy either of them properly.
7. No Family Interaction
If everyone is more interested in watching TV while eating, the conversation that families usually enjoy during meals will not take place, and there will be even less time for family bonding in this busy time and age.
Is Your Kid Only Eating while Watching TV?
Children who are fussy eaters may be able to be fed better while watching something. The distraction makes it easier for parents to get them to eat. Unfortunately, this can form a habit, and your child may not want to eat without watching something. Children can be weaned off this habit, and while they may fuss and throw tantrums at first, they will eventually learn to eat without watching TV.
Tips to Keep Your Kids Away from the TV while Eating
Here are some tips on how to stop your toddler from watching TV while eating.
- While weaning your child from a TV, make sure that you are not distracted by the TV, mobile or laptop. Give them your complete attention so that they know that mealtimes are for food only.
- If your child already has the habit and you want to wean them off it, you will need to make sure that your child is hungry, but not starving at mealtimes. This means that you need to ensure that you do not allow their snack times to be too close to their meal times. If your child is comfortably hungry, he will not be that bothered about whether he has the TV in front of him or not.
- Start weaning with foods that he or she likes. This way it becomes easier for them to eat their food, even if their favourite TV show is not playing.
- Start with smaller mealtimes. You can start by having a five-minute mealtime without TV, and then you can end mealtime. If they have been fussing and did not eat enough during their mealtime, you can always give them a snack again later, but make sure that it is not done in front of the TV. This will help break the association that children have formed with eating and TV.
- Ensure that the whole family eats meals without including the television otherwise, it won’t matter if you are trying to form good habits in your child. Children will observe the habits of their parents and will follow in their behaviour.
- If your child still refuses to eat without the TV, you can consult a therapist or professional for help.
At first, it might seem difficult to get your child to stop eating while watching TV, so the best thing to do is not to form this habit at all. Remember that these days, our lives are very busy and sometimes mealtimes as a family are the only times that a family gets to really bond with each other and share how their days were. Keep mealtimes as family time and enjoy the meal that you have spent a lot of time preparing, but most of all, enjoy each other’s company.