Monday, September 15, 2014

Healthy School Lunches

Now that the kiddos are back in school, do you know what their school cafeteria is serving them at lunchtime?  Or, so you send them off with a healthy, homemade lunch that may or may not get consumed?

The Healthy School Lunch Campaign is dedicated to improving the food served to children in schools by educating government and school officials, food service workers, parents, and others about the food choices best able to promote children’s current and long-term health.

The campaign’s key message: Foods served in schools should promote the health of all children.

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber . . . and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens.

The Healthy School Lunch Campaign encourages schools to offer more healthy low-fat, cholesterol-free options, including reimbursable meals and beverages, a la carte items, and vending machine items. The Physicians Committee Healthy School Lunch Team works with school districts across the country and organizes meetings and presentations for school boards, PTAs, and student groups. We can provide marketing materials, meal planning and recipes ideas, and other resources upon request.

If you are interested in having the Physicians Committee Healthy School Lunch Team work with your school district, start by taking these easy steps.

Five Easy Steps to Healthy School Food

Do you want healthful vegetarian and vegan meals served in your school? A lot of students, teachers, and parents agree with you.

Everyone benefits from healthful vegetarian foods, not just vegetarian students. Plant-based foods are good for you, good for the environment, and good for animals.

Here are some easy steps to get the foods you want in your cafeteria:

Step 1: Talk to people you know.

Ask your friends, teachers, coaches, and parents at your school if they want vegetarian options, too. Even if they aren’t vegetarian, they will agree that vegetarian foods should be served in your school. Make a list of all the people who agree with you. If you like, you can even circulate a petition.

Step 2: Set up a meeting with your principal.

Print two copies of each handout in the packet below. Go to the main office, and ask to schedule a meeting with your principal to talk about adding vegetarian and vegan foods to your cafeteria. Leave one packet for your principal, and keep one for yourself.

Packet handouts:

Step 3: Meet with your principal.

Arrive on time for your meeting, and bring your packet with you. Remember that your principal wants what is best for students and will very likely agree with you. Read the letter to your principal, and let him or her know why vegetarian and vegan foods are important to you. Ask him or her to help bring vegetarian and vegan choices to your school. Tell him or her that PCRM can help you, free of charge. Thank your principal for meeting with you.

Step 4: Send a thank-you note.

Copy and personalize this thank-you note, and give it to your principal the next day. 

Sample Thank-You Letter to Principal or Food Service Director

Please edit to personalize your letter.


[Name of Principal or Food Service Director]
[School Name]

Dear [Name]:

Thank you for meeting with me about the important issue of vegetarian and vegan options in our school. I hope we will be able to have healthful plant-based options for all of us.

As I mentioned in our meeting, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has free resources and is willing to partner with us to make this a success. Please let me know how I can help.

Thanks again for your help.


[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

Step 5: Email the Physicians Committee!

Send an email to and let PCRM know how your meeting went. They can help you if you’re having any problems, and they would like to hear about your success!

*Article excerpted from PCRM's Health and Nutrition ~ Healthy School Lunches

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