Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.
The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.
Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”
Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.
America’s favorite sandwich is, without question, the classic burger. Despite every Mickey D regular’s praise of the tasty quarter pounder, few know what goes on behind the scenes. That isn’t, of course, the case for cattle farmers, and some opt to grow veggies after being in the know-how. Rancher Jay Wilde recently joined the vegan farming community when he couldn’t slaughter his cows.
“We did [our] best to look after them [the cattle], but you knew you were going to betray them. You really couldn’t look them in the eye.”
The 172-acre Derbyshire farm is a family heirloom. Committed vegetarian Wilde, as we all do, hopes his father would’ve been proud. Along with wife Katja, Wilde sent 70 of his cattle to a sanctuary in Norfolk. The remaining 12 are now family pets.
“What we were doing worked in the past, but it’s no longer fit for purpose really. It consumes too many resources, it’s morally indefensible if you think animals are anything more than meat.”
Vegans have applauded the dynamic duo, whose cattle still contribute to a flourishing ecosystem. Beef may make for a tasty meal, but to Wilde they’re just as loyal as any pup.
Being vegan isn’t simply a fashion statement, but a lifestyle and occasional healthy pick. If you haven’t caught on to the trend, it’s taking over schools and even TGI Fridays. In light of the recent “legume boom” studies have shown an increase in meat substitutes by 451% in just four years.
“The most active region was the United Kingdom, with a share of 19 % of total new legume-inclusive product launches in Europe, followed by France (14%) and Germany (13%),”
Where quantity rose, diversity followed, with markets boasting over 27,000 new products. To be perfectly honest, I can hardly name a dozen vegetables — quite the bummer for a vegetarian such as myself. But why legumes, in particular?
Legumes are more filling than meat, better for your waist and the planet. Consuming legumes is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, while being cheaper and requiring far less energy and water than meat.
Sure, vegetarianism is healthy, but it’s also environmentally responsible. If you can’t slash bacon from your daily menu, have a carrot. It won’t kill you.
Whether we like it or not, experts seem to think dinner menus could use a lot less meat and a lot more creepy crawlies. With fly larvae on the rise as the world’s latest superfood, restaurants are now serving up insect burgers (with fries!). Though on board with the change, TGI Fridays is taking a more subtle approach to meat alternatives. Along with Beyond Meat, the popular restaurant chain is introducing a meatless patty called the Beyond Burger.
“We tested many concepts and The Beyond Burger was far and away the favorite plant-based burger among both our guests and chefs, making it the ideal addition to our popular Burger Bar,” [said] Stephanie Perdue, TGI Fridays Chief Marketing Officer.
Incredibly, the burgers boast the same amount of calories as a regular beef patty does. However, it comes without the burden of cholesterol and only half the saturated fat. Since its trial period, the burger has hit 465 branches of TGI Fridays.
“Our belief is that the best way to get people to eat less meat is by giving them what they love… without so many of the health, sustainability, and animal welfare downside of a traditional animal-based burger,”
Who knew plants could be so tasty?
Schools around the world have played a role in the battle against depleting resources. The Panyaden International School in Thailand built a sports hall that gloats a zero-carbon footprint. Now, the German International School in India is shifting to strictly vegan lunches.
The school, now 100% vegan, makes its own mock meat, produces vegan cheese from cashews, and bakes its own bread. Care is taken to see that nutritional requirements are met, by substituting animal products with protein-rich food such as quinoa, lentils, seitan, beans and hemp seeds.
The shift was prompted when the school began rehabilitating injured and abandoned animals. Besides the guilt of consuming mutton meters away from one of the school’s goats, administration believed veganism was more ethical.
“We wanted to reduce the human impact on the environment and eating less meat is the simplest way,”
To prepare for the transition, teachers dedicated classes to informative documentaries. Staff treated parents to a vegan buffet, which was more “delicious and nutritious” than expected. With avocado toast becoming the next millennial craze, I can’t imagine getting teens to up their veggie intake to be too much of a stretch.