Making Meaningful Meals
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:
lower rates of substance use and depression,
better peer relationships,
and even better grades!
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 these resources to find just the information you need to help your meal times succeed:
The Science Behind Family Meals:
A good summary of research that points to the benefits of family meals.
Research from CASA Republica that proves the importance of family meals.
Findings from JAMA that suggest family meals enhance the health and well-being of adolescents.
Resources for better connection:
Print the Parent Up Conversation Cards.
Make mealtime fun by adding one of these activities.
Four steps to make the most out of a meal from Fatherly.com.
Overcoming Obstacles To Eating Together:
Some realistic suggestions for making meals happen from the New York Times.
- The Family Dinner project answers multiple questions about overcoming mealtime challenges.
Meal Prep and Recipe Ideas
A great website with time-saving healthy recipes that are budget friendly.
- Superhealthykids.com publishes thousands of simple, healthy recipes that kids love to eat, and advice on how to overcome common feeding challenges, like picky eating.