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Healthy snacking and multitasking

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It often becomes a habit to mindlessly snack while watching TV in the evening or maybe you’ve noticed you’re snacking more while working from home but have you ever considered that it could be good for you?

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

New information from researchers at Endicott College and Michigan State University shows that consuming fruits, vegetables and nuts, all necessary for a healthy diet, especially in snack sizes, increases when individuals multitask by eating and attending to their screen devices.

“Doctors and nutritionists have long held that it’s a bad idea to idly watch TV or pay attention to one’s phone while eating unhealthy snacks,” said Anna McAlister, Ph.D., of the Gerrish School of Business at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. “But what if we start to encourage similar habits, but substitute foods rich in nutrients? “

Did you know the average American adult spends more than 11 hours per day on screens? And this is very much similar for Canadians as many of our lifestyle habits are close to one another. This has significantly increased, partially due to the pandemic and partially due to the resurgence of media multitasking trends.

This recent study found the following:

  • When participants used 3 screens to watch TV while texting and shopping online, they forgot about the foods they had eaten. They under-reported their consumption of healthy foods and unhealthy foods.
  • Participants described the situation of watching TV while texting and shopping online as pleasant.
  • Participants who had more positive beliefs about healthy lifestyle said they were more rational than emotional about snack selection.

“Surrounding oneself with snack-sized fruits, vegetables, and nuts in enjoyable multitasking situations means mindless eating can be a powerful nudge to facilitate greater consumption of preferred foods to combat health issues,” said Dr. McAlister.

All that said, don’t forget to stand up regularly during the day, even working at home. Stand for a few minutes at least every 45 minutes or so. Research has also shown that we tend to work best in 50 minute increments, so that should give you cause to get up and do a little stretching here and there.

Healthy Snacks for Working from Home

Here are some great little snacks to have with you while you’re in front of multiple screens and multi-tasking like mad!

  • Mixed nuts: Make sure to get in almonds and walnuts. They have good fats and fibre for your digestion.
  • Dried Fruit: Some small chunks of dried fruit, but be careful as they can be very high in sugars, so mix with some raisins and other nuts.
  • Cookie dough: Nope, not the usual! Try this cookie dough made with chickpeas. Guaranteed you’ll forget it’s actually good for you! Add coconut or some raisins to change it up. Doesn’t need to be baked.
  • Veggie Mix: Mini carrots are always a go-to, but add in some celery, sweet peppers and broccoli or cauliflower. You don’t even need a dip!


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