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By Amy Boyington

The 3 most common TV-watching snacks: Are they good for you?

It is no secret that people enjoy snacking while they watch television. Why? It is convenient. While most people do not eat full meals during a television-watching binge, they do like to eat snack food because it keeps their hands busy and curbs small hunger pangs that snacks can cure.

However, the jury is still out on whether or not snacking while you are watching TV is harmful to your health. Many experts agree that grabbing food while watching television will lead to mindless eating and can severely impact your weight. Often, people eat during a television show without realizing how much they ate, leading to possible weight gain.

Still, others claim that eating while watching television can bring a family closer together as they discuss the news or show over dinner. Regardless of the side of the fence you are on, you might still get enjoyment from these three most common snack foods to eat while watching television:

1. Popcorn

Popcorn is the ultimate snack food for television and movie lovers. You see it in almost every movie-goer’s hands in a theater or in the arms of those snuggled in for a movie night or Netflix marathon at home. It is a convenient, pop-in-your-mouth snack, and it is rather cheap considering how much popcorn is in each bag.

But is popcorn healthy? It can be. According to Lifehack, popcorn can actually be healthier than fruit or vegetables because of its antioxidant properties. However, multigrain kernels are much healthier for you than microwaved varieties of popcorn. And definitely skip the extra butter and salt; these are sure to quickly add popcorn to the naughty list.

2. Chips and dip

Chips and dip is another food easy to snack on when you watch television and can easily be shared with a group of friends or family. Plus, there are so many varieties of chips and dip to make this one of the most fun and versatile snack foods.

What is the health quotient for chips and dip as a television snack? As long as you stay mindful of how much you are eating and do not overdo it with never-ending handfuls of chips, there are several ways you can make chips and dip a good choice for snack food. First, check the nutrition value of the chips you choose. Go for whole-grain/multi-grain and baked varieties. Then, opt for healthier dips, like those made with low-fat cream bases and veggies like spinach or artichoke.

3. Sweet snacks, like cookies or candy

Those who are not big salty snack eaters might choose sweeter snacking alternatives like candy or cookies. However, this particular snacking choice could easily be a deal-breaker in terms of healthy snacks. Sweetness is easy to crave, and if you are craving a sweet snack, you could find yourself eating way more than you intended to in one sitting, especially if you are watching TV while snacking. Before you sit down to watch TV, make sure you ate a healthy meal prior to your snack; this will help control your craving and could cause you to eat less sugar.

Snacking while watching television doesn’t have to be a bad thing for your health. You simply have to know how to find healthy versions of the snacks you crave and create healthy eating habits through your day.

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