The children returning to school this new academic year have been welcomed by new-look menus, with a range of healthier, more sustainable meat-free menu options. This change is part of the new School Plates programme launched by food awareness organisation ProVeg UK earlier this summer.
ProVeg UK has been working on the new menus together with a total of 110 primary schools across two local authorities in England. Changes include the adoption of Meat-Free Mondays, new daily meat-free meals, as well as new descriptions for the meat-free and plant-based dishes to make them even more appealing to the students.
“We all want 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 including heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” said Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK.
Around 3.1 million meat-based meals will become meat-free over the next 12 months, as schools and local authorities continue to engage with School Plates, despite it having runned for only a few months.
One school taking part in the programme is Washingborough Academy in Lincolnshire. On School Plates, 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.”
Many more local authorities and primary schools are set to follow suit next term with new enquiries coming in on a weekly basis. As each new local authority takes up the School Plates programme, millions more meals are changed giving more children access to a healthier, more balanced diet.