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What a Difference a Day Makes!

Meatless Monday spreads to schools across the country

Kind News magazine, April/May 2014

First-grader Jayden Ochoa and other students at the Academy for Global Partnership enjoy meatless meals made with vegetables grown right in the school's garden. Jason Geil/For The HSUS

Black bean burritos, veggie burgers and tacos, spaghetti with marinara sauce—is your mouth watering yet? These are just a few of the favorite meals that students in schools around the country are enjoying every Monday—and all of these dishes are meat-free.

More than 50 school districts—including Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest public school system—have joined the Meatless Monday program. Thousands of students start the week off right by eating healthy and tasty meat-free meals.

  • With a little help from an adult, you can cook up some easy and yummy Chickenless Nuggets! Meredith Lee/For The HSUS

Meatless Makes Sense

Meatless Monday was first started by the United States government during World War I, and again during World War II. People gave up eating meat once a week so our troops would have enough to eat. In 2003, The Mondays Campaigns and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health brought Meatless Monday back. Now people are taking a holiday from meat one day a week for different reasons: for their health, the environment, and better treatment of animals.

Raising animals for meat causes pollution, uses natural resources like water and energy, and is harmful to animals. Cutting meat from our diet once a week helps lessen these problems. It also cuts down on health problems that people face.

Sharing the Message

Students in schools practicing Meatless Monday are sending the message home to their families. Susan Pratt, food service director at Cornwall Elementary in Vermont says, “Some parents come in to eat with their children because of this menu.”

The Academy for Global Citizenship, a public charter school in Chicago, takes things a step further. Students not only enjoy meatless meals— they help grow vegetables in the school’s garden. Then they harvest them for the school’s kitchen and enjoy them in the lunchroom!

Disney Star Laura Marano Speaks Up for Meatless Monday

You may know her as shy songwriter Ally Dawson on Disney Channel’s Austin and Ally. But Laura Marano, who plays Ally, is not shy when speaking up when it's something she cares about. That’s why she’s become spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States’ Meatless Monday school outreach program. This poster featuring Marano is now available to classrooms across the country. Read what she had to say in this edited interview:

"The first time I heard about Meatless Monday was at my school. It was just a really cool idea that not only helps animals but is also really healthy for our planet—and a person’s health.

"Everywhere you look people are eating foods that are not good for their bodies. [In the Meatless Monday program], children will be introduced to healthy alternatives to eating meat. I think once kids are introduced to these foods, they will start asking for them more."

Laura's favorite meat-free meal: her dad's spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce. Yum!

Favorite snack: cashews. "They're awesome and make you feel more energetic."

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