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TV snacking – Make a plan for grazing

Patricia Salzer enjoys “House of Cards,” the story of a spurned congressman seeking revenge on a dishonorable U.S. president. She’s looked to keep up with the cable TV series as it’s come out season by season on Netflix.

“I don’t want it to end, so I’m not going to binge watch. There should be portion control of not only food but TV,” said Salzer, a registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant with Univera Healthcare who offered the following advice to those who want to eat thoughtfully as they watch TV.

“It’s all about having a plan,” she said. “You have a plan to watch TV, so take some time to plan food.”

Eat a lighter dinner: This should be part of the plan, knowing you’re going to graze while watching TV.

Settle in first: Instead of bringing snacks with you as you plop down for a TV show, wait for the second or third commercial break.

Be aware: “With certain shows, we are more likely to eat more, such as action and adventure,” Salzer said. “We want to keep up with that pace. If it’s sad, we eat more because we want to feel better.”

Eat stuff you have to peel or crack: This slows the eating process. Shrimp, peanuts or pistachios are good choices. “You also have a reminder of how much you ate because you’ve got the shells right there,” Salzer said. Fruits you have to peel also are good picks.

Eat vegetables: A baked potato can be topped with roasted eggplant, peppers or onions, and a yogurt tahini sauce. Make a thin crust pizza with veggies. Add a salad with raw vegetables and vinaigrette dressing.

Rethink nachos: “Most people think lots of chips, lots of cheese, lots of sour cream and guacamole,” Salzer said. Start with lettuce, beans and tomatoes, peppers and olives. Top with modest amounts of guacamole and plain Greek yogurt. Then dip the chips.

Drinking: “We often consider the calories from food but sometimes it’s easy to forget those calories from beverages,” Salzer said. It’s important to include low-cal beverages, particularly water or seltzer. If you’re going to have wine – or worse, soda – pour from a bottle in the kitchen and leave it there, not within arm’s reach of your favorite TV-watching roost. Whatever else you drink, “Start with water, end with water; start with seltzer, end with seltzer,” Salzer said.

Serve food from the kitchen: Pour snacks into a bowl and leave the bag in the kitchen pantry or fridge.

Keep the right perspective: “I tell myself, ‘I can have it all, just not today,’” Salzer said. Same goes for TV shows. Instead of watching an entire season in one sitting, “spread it out, so you have something to look forward to.”