Positive Parenting: Snacking in Front of the Television
Preschool-aged children across the U.S. consume 30% of their daily energy in the form of sweet or salty snacks. In addition, with everyone at home, kids may be in front of the television more than ever. Combining snacking and TV can be a hard habit to break, and can have undesirable short-term and long-term effects on a child’s body.
Snacking while you watch your favorite show may seem harmless, but studies show kids who eat in front of the tube are more likely to consume unhealthy food later on. Now social scientists are examining patterns related to children’s snacking behaviors while watching TV, and out of the 47 low-income parents interviewed for the study – all of the parents reported that they routinely let their kids consume unhealthy snacks while watching TV. Parent’s also mentioned that their children didn’t like to eat their snack unless the TV was on.
Experts say to designate a snacking zone – like the kitchen – and encourage snack-free viewing while watching TV. Limiting snacks throughout the day, and adding in healthier choices also helps.
Social scientists say parents in the study said their kids expect a snack with TV – and they also believed it helps promote social interaction, behavior management, and more food intake.