SEATTLE, October 23, 2023 – Research shows that people who enjoy frequent meals with others, particularly parents with their children, have better social and emotional wellbeing. To foster those connections, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, and Providence Health Plan are encouraging Washingtonians to designate Tuesday as a day where they eat with a friend, neighbor or co-worker. 

“Time with our family and friends can be a great boost for our mental, emotional, and physical health," said Laurel Soot, MD, FACS, vice president of medical management for Providence Health Plan and volunteer expert for the American Heart Association. "It's important for your health to find ways to connect with those around you." 

Studies show that family meals improve nutrition and emotional well-being. They also show that psychological health and heart health are related. Frequent family meals increase self-esteem, a sense of well-being, positive social behaviors and stronger family relationships[1]

But shared meals can go beyond the family dinner table. Start your day with a breakfast habit, set a regular coffee date with a friend or engage co-workers in a shared Tuesday lunch outing. Overall, it’s less about the meal and more about the bond to others. 

When building a healthier mealtime, Soot offers four rules you can set to encourage connection:

  • Share a table, Zoom screen or Facetime call. Seeing one another can help you feel more connected and encourages conversation.
  • Keep your eyes up and phones down. Set a goal to remove distractions from the table to let conversation flow and keep everyone engaged.
  • Savor each bite and live in the moment. Truly enjoy the quality time you have together.
  • Do it your way and make it fun. Add an extra layer of entertainment with themed meals or guided conversation topics. 

Together Tuesdays offer an opportunity not only to refuel your body but build connections with others. The American Heart Association has resources to support heart healthy meals, meal planning and conversation starters to incorporate into your Together Tuesday celebrations. 

Providence Health Plan is a proud local sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement.

Additional resources:



About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX (formerly Twitter) or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   


For Media Inquiries:  

Valerie Koch:

Jay Wintermeyer: and

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)


[1] Source: Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health —Nov. 2013