Meatless Mondays Replacing Mystery Meat In More School Cafeterias

Just recently, the Helsinki City Council in Finland voted in favor of a weekly vegetarian day in Helsinki schools. Some ardent carnivores are a bit bitter about the decision, but most people recognize that the move will help curb climate change and encourage students to eat healthier. Going meatless is becoming the popular—and responsible—thing to do in many schools.

The New York City Department of Education is currently considering a “Meatless Monday” program, following a proposal by Manhattan borough president Scott M. Stringer. Stringer has pointed out that meatless meals are generally lower in saturated fat, which is important considering that one in five N.Y. kindergarten students is considered obese and at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

Baltimore City schools began observing “Meatless Mondays” last fall,  and although the president and CEO of the American Meat Institute wasn’t happy with the move, many students, parents, and teachers have applauded the decision. Meatless meals are not only healthier and “greener,” they tend to cost less to make.  Many versatile vegan staples, including vegetables, beans, lentils, tofu, and pasta, are still relatively inexpensive compared to meat, eggs, and dairy products.

And, of course, schools that participate in Meatless Monday programs also help save animals. By serving only vegetarian food one day a week, schools, including Barham Park Primary School and Townley Grammar School in the United Kingdom, are teaching children to make smart, compassionate choices that reduce animal suffering.

Students who are taught why it is important to eat meatless meals better understand how their choices not only affect them, but animals and future generations. While mystery meat, chicken nuggets, and pepperoni pizza may still be sold in school cafeterias, students will ultimately learn to opt for healthier vegetarian alternatives on a regular basis.

If you’re a student, a teacher, or a parent, PETA’s TeachKind representatives  can help you implement Meat-Free Mondays at your school . They can even provide Meat-Free Monday lesson plans, reproducible worksheets, and posters.
Of course, if you’re not a student, teacher, or parent, you can still participate in Meatless Mondays—or any other day you choose. Just pick at least one day a week not to eat meat.  For recipes and product suggestions, see





Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec6 years ago

Meatless Mondays will be a good start.

Priscilla G.
Priscilla G7 years ago

Meatless Monday will give kids the idea that there are alternatives to eating meat all the time whether you are vegitarian or not..

Rebecca M.
Rebecca M.7 years ago

What a great idea. I am not vegetarian or vegan, but an avid meat eater, and I think this is a great idea. The dietary recommendations are that we eat red meat between 2-4 times a week (at least they are in Australia), and most people eat far more than that. It is not as issue for us at home, and we do not have school lunch programs, everyone brings thier own, but I think it is a great idea whereever they have school lunches. Missing meat one lunch a week is not a big deal, and no one's health is going to suffer. It may even improve. And, I honestly think that if you did it without announcing it to the students, half of them wouldn't even notice. Not that I'm advocating deception, I just don't see why its a big deal.

Monica M.
Past Member 7 years ago

Even though I love to eat meat, I realize there are other alternatives for getting enough protein in my diet. Some of you still think that if your child doesn't eat meat, they will not be healthy. Are you so sure that the meat your child eats is really THAT good for him? One day of NOT eating meat will not harm anyone and may actually be better for him.

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JasonGreatWhite N.

Thanks for the great article, I did not know this.
Yet another Western European Country light-years ahead of The USA, when comes to better practices, for a better and healthier living and environment, and in my opinion, the healthiest possible diet on the planet.
I sure wish USA citizens were so brainwashed to think they have the only answers, and they are to big super power monopolies/corporations that only make their lives as bad as possible for the most power and biggest profits possible.

Nancy M.
Nancy M7 years ago

Bill, Thanks for the chuckle to start my day!

Bill K.
Bill K7 years ago

I always think it's funny when people accuse vegans of being pushy. Have they not noticed how the meat and dairy industry have pushed their way into every school and every government agency that has anything to do with food or agriculture? The dairy industry is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. And yes, "cavemen" were gatherer/hunters. But we've evolved a long way since then. Well except for a few who do television commercials now.

Katherine W.
Katherine W7 years ago

I wonder why the American Meat Institute isn't happy. I'm happy. And I know a few people who have been vegans for 20 years including some people who started around age 10 without any provocation from schools or parents. And yes they're still alive and have normal physical and mental growth patterns. Actually a couple of them ended up being taller than their parents. This is for all you 'we'll die if we don't enslave, torture, kill and consume other sentient beings' people. And their are plenty of alternatives. Brittany, don't say soy is all there is-it is not even the main source of protein for vegans. You haven't done enough research. On the whole though, what bothers me the most (and should bother you as well) is the industry. This is also about saying no to the way that these animals are 'prepared' more than saying no to meat. I would say that factory farming is what's really going too far. I suggest meat eaters watch exactly how their meals are prepared, because every time you eat meat you are paying someone to do what would keep you awake at night.

Jo F.
nadine F7 years ago

it's a start and an opportunity to introduce children to the possibility of healthy eating that doesn't require dead animals on the plate.

clara H.
Clara Hamill7 years ago

Roobis bird you don't get it do you I don't mind Vegans but when they get pushy I don't like them. I'm not forcing you to eat meat at all. I agree with earlier comments that the vegans should have more options at school but if you try to force a kid to do something they will do the oppisite. Boo hoo hoo the amimals suffer come on alot of people care about the amimals. Back then they didn't know better and if they didn't use animals we would still be cavemen. I'm not condone it just telling you the truth. Stop humanizing them I don't think everyone is going to go vegan so don't whine about it.