Thousands of children will gain access to healthier, meat-free school meals in 110 primary schools in England. The new menus are being developed in partnership with the School Plates programme, launched by campaign group, ProVeg.
Two local authorities in England are working on the new menus, adopting Meat-Free Mondays and new meat-free meals every day.
Jimmy Pierson, director of ProVeg UK, said: “We want all children to thrive and these new-look, healthier menus are a big step in the right direction. Eating more plant-based foods is such a great way to improve children’s health in the short term – particularly by helping to reduce childhood obesity – and also in the long term by helping to reduce the risk of all kinds of chronic health conditions.”
Plant-based diets are renowned for helping the reduce the likelihood of developing certain health conditions, such as some types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
“It’s so important that children establish healthy eating patterns at an early age – and schools play a key role in this. The fact that plant-based foods are better for the environment and are also cheaper, meaning they can ease the burden on the school budget, makes them a win-win in our minds – and those of a growing number of local authorities,” Pierson added.
In the next 12 months, 3.1 million meat-based meals will be replaced with alternatives, as a result of the campaign only running for a few months.
Washingbourne Academy in Lincolnshire is participating, and headteacher Jason O’Rourke, said: “I think School Plates is fantastic, really commendable. It is superb that we are highlighting the benefit of vegetables and giving children greater exposure to that. I would implore all schools, if they can, to get engaged with ProVeg UK and School Plates.”
You can find out how to get involved with the campaign here.