More than 3 million meat-free meals will be served in English schools as part of an initiative by food awareness organisation ProVeg UK.
A total of 110 primary schools across two local authorities are taking part in The School Plates program and will be implementing Meat-Free Mondays, new daily meat-free meals, and new descriptions for meat-free and plant-based dishes to 'make them more appealing to the students'.
"We all want our children to thrive and these healthier menus are exactly what's needed right now. 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," Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"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."
The benefits of vegetables
"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," said Jason O'Rourke, Headteacher of Washing borough Academy in Lincolnshire - which is taking part in the initiative.
"I would implore all schools, if the can, to get engaged with ProVeg UK and School Plates."
According to ProVeg UK - which is 'delighted' with uptake of the program so far, many more local authorities and primary schools are set to follow suit next term.
?ProVeg UK is currently accepting more local authorities and catering companies interested in taking part in the School Plates programme.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to get involved.