All state schools in England should offer pupils a compulsory plant-based menu one day a week, under new recommendations to the government that aim to make school meals more environmentally friendly and reflect changing dietary advice. The Guardian reports.
Given wide acceptance that diets need to change to address the climate crisis – including by eating less meat and more beans and pulses – the Soil Association is urging the Department for Education to replace a non-mandatory recommendation for a weekly meat-free day with a statutory menu once a week offering only plant-based proteins and foods.
The DfE has started reviewing school food standards in light of the latest evidence on reducing meat and sugar consumption and boosting fibre in Britons’ diets.
“The update of the school food standards provides an ideal opportunity to make school meals healthier and more climate-friendly,” said the SA’s policy officer, Rob Percival. “We know that children would benefit nutritionally from eating more beans, pulses, and plant-based proteins. The climate would also benefit – we should all be eating less and better meat. Some schools are showing that its possible to serve children healthy plant-based meals, alongside higher welfare meat. It’s time the government caught up – the updated school food standards should require that schools serve a plant-based protein day each week.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “Our school food standards ensure that school meals are healthy and nutritious. They do not require meat to be served every day, and schools have the freedom to introduce a meat-free day each week.”
Would you encourage this in your school or your child’s? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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