This month at Postconsumers, we’re really helping you to distance yourself from the consumer machine by giving you a hundred things that you can do instead of watch television. Finding a way to let go of addictive consumerism isn’t a single-step process, but one thing that we know for sure is that reducing your screen time is an important part of it. The more you expose yourself to media messages about consumerism via television, online streaming or just about any digital medium, the more you’re exposed to mental programming about the need to define yourself by your “stuff” and to buy more and more and more. How do you get away from those screens? We’ve got a hundred ideas this month, and we’re starting today with ideas about food!

1. Try a New Restaurant. Be a Critic for a Day!

Getting out of the house or apartment is always better than staying in and being in front of a screen. When getting out of the house involves food, things just get that much better! We know you can’t avoid all screen time by going out to eat (after all, we’ve all got limits to how much money we can spend), but it’s a great way to get away from the TV sometimes and try something new. And consider not just trying a new restaurant but trying a new cuisine type that feels adventurous to you! Make getting out from in front of the screen something that really opens up your world.

Pro Tip: If there are televisions in the restaurant you go to, ask to be seated as far away from them as possible!

2. Go to a Farmer’s Market. It’s Not Just About the Food.

Not only can you get delicious eats that are more often than not sustainable and local with a trip to the farmer’s market, but you can also get a positive mental health benefit as well as be more active in your community.  You’ll experience amazing sights, sounds and smells that will stimulate you far more than anything you’ve seen on the television screen! Best of all, most farmer’s markets happen weekly, so you’ll have a set appointment to get out from behind the screen.

3. Grow Some Food. Be a Farmer – or an Urban Farmer.

Whether you’re ready to commit to a big gardening project or whether you just want to grow some tomatoes or herbs in a pot, tending to a live, growing source of food isn’t just taking time away from the screen. It’s taking time away from the screen that can result in mental nurturing as well as something healthy and robust to eat.

Pro Tip: Live in an urban environment and need to garden indoors? Here’s a list of vegetables, herbs and a fruit that grow well inside.

4. Have a Dinner Party.

Social time always trumps screen time – and we believe that it isn’t social time if you’re all sitting in front of a screen. Have a dinner party – or have several over the course of time with different friends. Better yet, set up a rotating dinner party schedule with your inner circle of friends and family so that you’re always sure that you’ll have a great social alternative to screen time that also involves delicious food.

5. Make Brunch Instead of Watching Morning Shows.

We know that the morning talk and news shows, as insipid as they are, can be a bit of a routine addiction for many people (we confess that that’s true for us as well). It’s also true that on weekends or days off it’s easy to fall into a habit of staying in bed and watching television. What’s a great tasting alternative? Make brunch! Of course, going out to brunch is an option too, but we like the idea of your being active and making brunch.

6. Enjoy a Picnic Any Time, Any Where.

It may be obvious by now that we love options that celebrate food while also getting you outdoors. That’s why we love a picnic as an option so very, very much. You don’t need to make it a group event. Grab some of your favorite food and a good book and head outdoors. Picnics don’t need baskets – though they are nice. They just need some food, some outside location and no screens.

Pro Tip: You don’t need to be off-work for a sunny afternoon to have a picnic. Get our ideas for picnics anywhere, any time.

7. Indulge in a Special Sweet (or Savory) Treat.

One of our favorite tips for going on a media diet or reducing screen time is to reward yourself for successes. A great way to do that is to walk away from the screen and instead walk to the store, farmer’s market or bakery to get yourself something extra delicious. If you’re not a sweets person, head for the savories. The point is that food is a great reward system when applied responsibly and you should use it to reward yourself for getting away from the television or other screen.

8. Go Out for Ice Cream.

We love this one because it’s got such old-school charm. Throw yourself back to your youth when going out for ice cream was a big deal. Get excited about it all again and go for ice cream instead of the television.

9. Study Up on Organics. Be Wise and Full of Food.

Not every activity that has to do with food has to do with eating it (though we certainly prefer those!). Use your time away from the television to learn about organic and non-GMO food and the facts and myths behind it. What we eat and its impact on the planet has never been more important – or more complex. The time that you’re not spending watching television can become a great time to learn more about these issues.

10. Take a Cooking Class.

Not only are cooking classes fun ways to learn how to make delicious food that you may not have been exposed to in your daily life, but they’re great social activities as well. Buddy up with a friend or go solo and meet some people with similar interests. Either way, you’ll be away from the television, gaining a skill and eating well at the end of it.

11. Pre-Make Food for the Week.

In a world of busy schedules (over-scheduled lives, actually), pre-making your own food for the week is a great way to avoid takeout, eat healthier and control your budget. It’s also a wonderful way to keep yourself away from the television or other media screens. For food you don’t want to pre-cook, you can pre-slice or cut vegetables and ingredients and pre-measure them so that you only have to do the actual cooking. There are many benefits to pre-cooking or pre-preparing your weekly meals. We love the fact that getting away from the television is one of them.

12. Clean Out the Pantry.

We admit that this one is a lot less fun than cooking or eating yummy food – but it’s an important task that needs to get done. It can also yield good social benefits. All of that food sitting in your pantry that you’ve realized you’re just not going to eat? Donating it to your local food bank is another activity that will keep you away from the television screen.

13. Pickle or Preserve. Or Both!

We’re big fans of pickling and preserving not only for reasons of sustainability but also for healthy eating. Plus, you may end up being surprised how relaxing you find the process. A few minutes of internet research can yield great recipes and instructions for any type of pickling or preserving. You’ll create great, wholesome, nutritious food for you and your family and friends. You’ll also be in a delicious smelling kitchen instead of in front of a screen.

14. Read Our Postconsumer Food Tips!

Yes, we admit that technically you are still experiencing screen time if you are reading our organic food tips. However, it’s not television time and there is no advertising on the pages you’re viewing, so we think that the valuable information you’ll gain is worth it! We’ve got thirty of them that you can scroll through – and we have to say we think they’re pretty manageable and comprehensive. You can get started with the first one here.

15. Plan a Healthy Diet.

This one is also not as much fun as eating or cooking –but it is important. Get out your notebook, your calorie and protein references and your thinking cap and start planning your new healthy diet! You’ll feel better, look better, live better and do it all while away from the TV screen.

Those are our first fifteen ideas for staying away from the television. Need or want more? Continue on to part two, where we focus on ideas that get you active.

Did we miss a food-related way to avoid the television that you’d like to share? Tell us about it on the social media channels below.

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Photo Credit: Alyssa Sison via Flickr