Advocating for Vegetarian Options in Schools

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With the new school year just around the corner, parents’ attention is

turning to school clothes, supplies, and lunches. Yes, school lunches!

In past years, USDA had used our nation’s schools as a dumping ground

for surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, one-third of

children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws

become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart

disease, and stroke.

Gradually, the tide is turning. New guidelines mandated by President

Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, require doubling the servings of

fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no

meat for breakfast. A survey released last week shows the guidelines

supported by 86% of Americans.

Sixty-four percent of U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian

options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of

Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles,

Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.

Some schools have dropped meat from their menu altogether.

As parents, we need to work with school cafeteria managers and our own

children to encourage the availability and consumption of healthy,

plant-based school foods. Entering “vegetarian options in schools”

provides lots of good resources.


Lupe Infraine, Laguna Beach

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