The worldwide Meatless Mondays Movement has expanded into many school nutrition programs in Massachusetts! The Movement is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns working in collaboration with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to reduce meat consumption. It was initiated in 2003 to support the Healthy People 2010 goal of a 15% reduction in saturated fat in the American diet. The Healthy People 2020 goals also list reduced saturated fat consumption as a goal. Since saturated fat is mainly found in animal products, going meatless is a simple way to cut back on saturated fat consumption.
Many districts across the Commonwealth are now participating in the Movement including Boston, Harvard, Hatfield, Lawrence, Nauset, Wachusett Regional, Walpole and Winchendon Public Schools. Some offer only meatless options on Mondays while others are doing voluntary participation where the students can decide if they want a meatless meal that day. Creative meatless menu options encourage students to choose environmentally friendly meatless meals. Some schools are offering garden fresh salads topped with chickpeas, protein-packed chili, black bean burrito bowls, veggie burgers, baked French toast with scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and pizza as vegetarian options.
Participating in Meatless Mondays is an opportunity to educate students about the health benefits of eating a more plant-based diet. Consuming balanced meatless meals not only encourages students to commit to healthier eating habits by participating each week, but can also contributes to decreased food costs and reduced carbon footprint at your school nutrition program. The Meatless Mondays Movement has a toolkit with useful resources for starting a Meatless Mondays campaign at your school.
Are you considering joining the Meatless Mondays Movement? JSI can help! JSI Workshop to Go Back to Basics: Meat Alternatives provides ideas on how to serve meat alternatives that are easy, look good and taste great, in a hands-on culinary class setting.