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Parent Up’s Meaningful Meals Kit: Making Meals More Meaningful!

You’ve heard it before but it’s worth saying again:  Family meals really matter.  Study after study has made it clear that having regular unplugged meals together as a family is linked to behaviors all parents want in their kids:


With so much going on around us, mealtime may be the only time for families to connect, debrief, relax and recharge.  Having meals together leads to better connection between parents and kids, allows parents to catch concerns and kids to express needs, and creates bonding and trust! 


Parent Up encourages you to make your meaningful meal time happen.  It doesn’t have to be dinner — instead it can be breakfast or an afterschool snack break.  It doesn’t have to be a three-course meal — the meal can come from a can, a box, or a bag  It doesn’t have to be at home — some nights your dinner table might look more like a parking spot at a fast food chain.  It will require 20 minutes of time where everyone is unplugged, talking, and eating together.  And research suggests that “regular” is at least 4 times a week.  With some consistency and creativity, your efforts will have major payoffs.  And Parent Up is here to help!  Cruise through the resources below to find just the information you need to help your meal times succeed:

The Science Behind Family Meals:

  1. A good summary of research that points to the benefits of family meals.
  2. Research from CASA Republica that proves the importance of family meals. 
  3. Findings from JAMA that suggest family meals enhance the health and well-being of adolescents.

Resources for Better Connection:

  1. Print the Parent Up Conversation Cards.
  2. Make an “Unplugged Box” for your family to keep meals unplugged. Find some decoration inspiration here or make it your own!
  3. Make mealtime fun by adding one of these activities.
  4. Four steps to make the most out of a meal from

Overcoming Obstacles To Eating Together:

  1. Some realistic suggestions for making meals happen from the New York Times.
  2. The Family Dinner project answers multiple questions about overcoming mealtime challenges

Meal Prep and Recipe Ideas

  1. A great website with time-saving healthy recipes that are budget friendly.
  2. publishes thousands of simple, healthy recipes that kids love to eat, and advice on how to overcome common feeding challenges, like picky eating.

Spread the News!

Download, print, email, and share everywhere! Our handy one pager explains why meaningful meals are so important and includes how to make your very own Unplugged Box!

Watch the recording of Dr. Fishel’s Why Family Meals Matter webinar!

To watch for free, just register here:

The Northland Coalition Prevention Network and Parent Up recently hosted The Family Dinner Project for an engaging webinar for parents and caregivers on the benefits of family meals! Anyone can view a recording of the webinar by registering at

Learn about the academic, mental health and nutritional benefits of family meals. Dr. Fishel discusses mealtime challenges and great strategies to overcome obstacles.  She motivates and empowers caring adults with games to play at the table that will spark conversation as well as tips to get kids to give you more than just a one-word answer.

Need Help Putting a Parent Up Unplugged Box Together? Watch our video about assembly! >

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