It’s the same story every night: you sit on your couch ready to relax by watching some TV and you instantly get the munchies.
You had dinner, so do you always feel the desire to eat every time you watch TV?
You’ve tried resisting the urge, but you need a helping hand.
Breaking a habit takes time, so this article isn’t a fix-all. Instead, we hope our tips can help you realize why you feel the need to eat when you watch TV and begin developing some habits to replace that desire.
Let’s get started!
- 1. Understand Why You Want to Eat
- 2. Eat Your Meals at the Table
- 3. Get Some Fidget Toys
- 4. Drink Plenty of Water
- 5. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
- 6. Limit Stress in Your Life
- 7. Pick Up a Hobby
- 8. Chew Gum
- 9. Cook Your Own Meals
- 10. Change Your Schedule
- 11. Have Other People Around You
- 12. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
1. Understand Why You Want to Eat
Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on why you want to eat while watching TV.
Are you legitimately hungry? Do you have a stressful deadline approaching at work? Did you have a fight with a close friend or partner?
You don’t need to have all the answers. But your feelings deserve to be understood and validated.
If you’re a creature of habit, you may have become used to the familiar ritual of tucking into a sweet treat every evening while you wind down from your long day.
Return to this first step each time you feel the urge to eat while watching TV.
Remember, you’re seeking to understand your feelings, not judge them. So be kind to yourself.
2. Eat Your Meals at the Table
The habit of eating all of your meals on the couch with the TV on could be triggering the urge to eat every time you watch TV.
Instead, try eating your meals at the dining room or kitchen table.
Keep the TV turned off and just focus on eating your food. Get rid of any other distractions, such as your phone, tablet, books, etc.
If you’d like, you can make lunch or dinner a special time of the day, by lighting a few candles, laying down a tablecloth, and playing some music.
Don’t let living alone stop you! Have a nightly dinner date with yourself!
It may feel strange at first, but you’ll come to enjoy your evening ritual of eating dinner in peace and focusing on your food instead of a TV show.
3. Get Some Fidget Toys
If you’re snacking while watching TV when you’re not hungry, keeping your hands occupied is a good way to keep yourself stimulated without munching on treats.
You’ve probably seen videos of fidget toys floating around the internet and have thought they’re only for kids, but you’d be wrong. Fidget toys are for anyone who enjoys, well, fidgeting!
Instead of grabbing a snack, pull out a fidget toy instead!
There are so many fidget toys on the market to choose from, so you’ll definitely be able to find one you like.
If you’ve never tried a fidget toy before and aren’t sure which one you’d like, try buying a Fidget Toy Set . They’re inexpensive and you can even share them with your friends if you’d like.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
You may be confusing hunger with thirst.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and keeping a water bottle handy is a good way to tell if you’re actually hungry or thirsty.
To be clear, we are not telling you to replace food with water.
Instead, make sure you’re hydrated before grabbing something to eat.
Consider having a cup of tea in the evening. This will keep your ritual of having something while watching TV, without eating extra salt or sugar.
5. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
If you have the habit of reaching for chips or other unhealthy foods, try keeping some healthy snacks on hand. Vegetable sticks, fruit, kale chips, sunflower seeds, and nuts are all great substitutes for processed snacks.
Meal prepping a few of your favorite healthy snacks every week so they’re easy to grab when you get home from work is a good way to prevent yourself from eating sugary or salty foods.
Bear in mind that this is about making better choices, not completely denying yourself any treats.
If you’re not sure where to start, watch the video below for some healthy-snacking inspiration!
6. Limit Stress in Your Life
Stress triggers your body to release the hormone cortisol, which makes your brain want to eat foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
If you lead a stress-ridden life, eating while watching TV could be a coping mechanism for dealing with the pressures around you. Whether you’re worried about work, the kids, or your partner, it’s a good idea to take time to relax.
This is easier said than done, but try removing what you can from your busy schedule, talking to a loved one about your feelings, and consider seeing a therapist.
You can also try some guided meditation or yoga to loosen up before or after a long day.
If your life is hectic and you only have a few minutes a day to spare, try the five-minute yoga video below. You don’t need any special equipment and your mind and muscles will thank you for it.
7. Pick Up a Hobby
Knitting, cross-stitch, crochet, and clay work are all great ways to keep your hands distracted while watching TV.
They’re affordable and the supplies can usually be found at any craft store. They also won’t take too much attention away from your TV show or movie.
Additionally, these hobbies are fun to learn and you’ll be proud of yourself for creating something with your own two hands.
If none of these hobbies sound interesting to you, don’t worry! There are so many handheld hobbies out there and you can experiment to find which one you like best.
You can find beginner tutorials for virtually every hobby on YouTube, so you can go at your own pace.
8. Chew Gum
If you feel the desire to chew while watching TV, chewing gum is a good way to mimic the same motion without actually eating.
Although gum is certainly not a substitute for food, the chewing motion and flavor will satiate your urge to mindlessly eat while watching TV.
Though chewing gum will not break your habit of wanting to eat while watching TV, it may help prevent you from having a snack.
9. Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking your own meals is a good way to appreciate your food.
You won’t be able to grab a ready-made meal before tucking into your favorite show and, instead, will be able to enjoy the process of cooking something you genuinely enjoy.
This tip focuses more on your relationship with food which, when improved, should help you stop snacking while watching TV.
Find recipes you enjoy making and have fun in the kitchen. Don’t worry if you’re making dinner for one, that just means you’ll have more leftovers!
This will also help you start buying fewer processed pre-packed foods, which are so many avid TV-munchers’ kryptonite.
If you’re not much of a chef, start simple. See the video below for a few dinner recipes that will only take 15-minutes for you to whip up!
10. Change Your Schedule
If you have the same schedule every day, or finish work or school and come straight home to watch TV with a snack, changing your daily schedule could help alleviate the urge to eat during TV time.
Instead of coming home right after work, try going to a café and reading for an hour, going on a jog in a park, or going out with a few colleagues.
When you do get home, you won’t be on the same “TV and snacks” schedule as you usually are, which could help you to break the habit.
11. Have Other People Around You
Having a friend, partner, or family member with you could help you stop eating while watching TV. It’s important this loved one or friend doesn’t eat while watching TV themselves, as this could fuel your own desire to eat.
Not only is it nice to watch mutually-liked shows with friends, but it can also help you be more aware of your snacking, so you don’t mindlessly munch.
12. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Breaking this habit could be a lengthy process with successes and failures, so cut yourself some slack.
You’re looking out for your mental and physical health, which can be difficult at times.
If you do find yourself eating while watching TV on occasion, don’t beat yourself up about it.
Hating yourself for your bad habits will only give them more power and make them more difficult to quit.
Instead, know that every day is the chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to do better than you did yesterday.
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.