The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Tip of the Week: Distracted Eating

Our family meals are most often on evenings and weekends, with the occasional breakfast thrown in for fun. The other night we decided, as my husband (with the kids in tow) was on his way to a meeting, and I was on my way home with laundry on my ‘to do list,’ that we would meet at a local deli and trade the girls – a meet in the middle, shall we say? This would give us a chance to connect on what might have otherwise been a ‘see-ya-later’ kind of night.

We’ve ordered, our server has brought us drinks and we’re sitting there chatting about our day. Well, most of us, anyway. I try to catch my older daughter’s eye, but she’s got that ‘what’s-going-on-behind-Mom’ look. I address her by name, she glances my way and then shifts back to beyond me. So, I turned around to see what is so engaging. A TV. My competition. Huh.

This I would expect in a wings place, or even fast food restaurant; but in a deli? To say the least, I was surprised. The Family Table research discusses eliminating distractions during meals. It is no real surprise that in 2012, with 56% of homes having three or more TVs, that a television is near the top of the list of ‘distractions’. But in a deli?

Now, to be fair, it wasn’t loud, nor was it tuned to a cartoon, but the news. I was just really surprised. Reports show that in addition to the distraction, we consume more calories when dining in front of the TV. So, the next time we eat out, I’m going to look around a bit and choose a table that puts the competition more in my favor!

– Frances, Mktg & Comm, wife and mom of 2

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