Free E-Cookbook from Meatless Monday Helps K-12 Operations Kick Off the Healthy Habit

Free E-Cookbook from Meatless Monday Helps K-12 Operations Kick Off the Healthy Habit

by June 29, 2015

NEW YORK – The Monday Campaigns, the nonprofit public health organization behind Meatless Monday, announces the publication of Meatless Monday Goes to School, a beautifully designed, free collection of 30 meatless lunch recipes to help K-12 foodservice directors and community advocates implement the program in schools. Meatless Monday’s staff dietitian, Diana Rice, curated the recipes from current Meatless Monday participants as well as brands and organizations that promote healthy school dining.

The e-cookbook addresses the need of K-12 schools for delicious vegetarian recipes that fulfill the meat/meat alternate component of the National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) meal pattern. Meals that are low in animal foods and instead highlight plant sources of nutrition including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains help stave off the majority of preventable chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Nutrition experts agree it is important to offer plant-based options that fit in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), as school lunches provide growing children with the nutrients they need for optimal physical and academic development.

“Yet there is a shortage of child-friendly meatless bulk recipes that fit the NSLP requirements,” according to registered dietitian Rice. “The lack of resources prompted our organization to approach Meatless Monday partners for recipe contributions.”

Karla Dumas, a registered dietitian on staff with The Humane Society, collaborated on the book and agrees with the strong need for such a resource. “Working for a decade in the field of child nutrition, I have been encouraged to see schools increasingly use Meatless Monday and similar initiatives to support a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Schools are hungry for recipes and resources to help with these programs that are building a healthier future for our kids,” Dumas remarked.

Contributing recipe partners include the Humane Society, Barilla, Beyond Meat, JTM Food Group, SunButter, The Mushroom Council, The American Egg Board, the National School Foodservice Management Institute, The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, The Lunchbox, and participating school districts across the country.

“Our school district implemented Meatless Monday to help meet the USDA’s demand for healthier meals and to support the local wellness policies,” said Tricia B. Neura, MPH, RD, LD, Assistant Childhood Nutrition Program Director of Hoover City Schools in Alabama. “The nutrition profile of our meatless options not only aligned with the nutrition standards of the updated meal pattern, but also provided an opportunity for our students to try something new.” Hoover City Schools contributed three recipes, including Bean Tostada Bowls to the e-cookbook.

Meatless Monday has environmental benefits as well: since meat requires more precious environmental resources to produce than plant-based sources of protein, participating in Meatless Monday is a way for children to know they’re doing their part to protect the environment.

The Meatless Monday Goes to School e-cookbook features recipes such as Shanghai Sweet and Spicy Spaghetti from Barilla, Portabella Spinach Tomato Panini from The Mushroom Council, Beyond “Chicken” Wraps from Beyond Meat and Vegetable and Egg Fried Rice from The American Egg Board. These recipes will help schools and districts meet their nutrition goals while serving up appetizing meals that students are sure to enjoy.

“The flavorful recipes not only contribute to the meat alternate component of the NSLP meal pattern, but they also emphasize vegetables, whole grains and legumes. It’s critical that children are exposed to these nutritious foods to help them develop lifelong healthy habits,” Rice remarked.

The e-cookbook is available as a free download from http://bit.ly/mmk12cookbook.

About Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday is a nonprofit public health initiative of The Monday Campaigns. Sid Lerner, the organization’s chairman, founded the Meatless Monday movement in 2003, with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The campaign seeks to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer and conserve valuable environmental resources by encouraging the public to cut back on meat consumption one day a week. The campaign is founded on research that demonstrates that Monday is the day we are most primed to start and sustain a healthy new behavior. Since its launch 12 years ago, Meatless Monday has become an international movement with support from schools, celebrities, restaurants, and organizations around the world.

For more free resources including toolkits, graphics and posters, visit www.meatlessmonday.com. •

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