Meatless Mondays Started For New York School Children
Meatless Mondays will soon be observed by 1.1 million kids all over the Big Apple. Starting this 2019 – 2020 school year, all schools in New York City will be implementing this practice on the first day of the new week in a move towards improved health and sustainability for all the city’s school children. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, this effort to cut back on meat once a week will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as well as an improvement in New Yorker’s overall health. “We’re expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”
Where do Meatless Mondays come from?
According to an article by Global Citizen, this idea originally came to life during the difficult times of World War I. At some point during the war, the US government reportedly made an effort to encourage US citizens to observe one day each and eat meat-free meals, in the quest to save food supplies and finances. Now it’s making a proper comeback for health and sustainability.
“Good eating habits start at an early age and are a part of better, lifelong health – in fact, this is the next front in preventive care,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman of the Board of SOMOS Community Care. “The Meatless Monday initiative is an opportunity to explore healthy alternatives for our school meals.”
Dr Tallaj explains that this manner of nutrition emphasises whole foods including:
- whole grains
- fruits and vegetables, while
- reducing animal products, fried foods, refined grains, and added sugars.
“Plant-based nutrition has been proven to help improve and reverse chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension,” he said. “SOMOS is committed to working with Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza to build healthier communities and schools, especially at a time that we are grappling with a citywide childhood obesity crisis.”
“Meatless Mondays are good for our students, communities, and the environment,” said schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza in the city’s press release. “Our 1.1 million students are taking the next step toward healthier, more sustainable lives.
Our students and educators are truly leaders in this movement, and I salute them!”
“This [Meatless Mondays] is a phenomenally healthful way to start the week,” said Dr. Robert Ostfeld, director of Preventive Cardiology at Montefiore Health System and associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Montefiore’s cafeterias were pleased to start Meatless Mondays in 2016, and we applaud New York City for joining this pioneering initiative that will improve the health of over one million students!”
“Through Meatless Mondays, the students in New York are providing a leading example of how global action can be taken by individuals to switch to healthier and plant-based diets that can have beneficial impacts across countries and communities and for achieving climate goals. As we move towards a planet that needs to meet nutrition needs of 10 billion people by 2050, shifting to more conscious decisions about food choices that avoid meat is probably the single biggest way to reduce negative impacts on nature,” said Satya Tripathi, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment Programme New York Office.
In honor of this initiative from New York schools, we thought we would share one of our favorite recipes – one that is sure to provide excitement for the kids come dinnertime! Sweet potatoes are such a treat – they are high in vitamins, minerals and they’re a great source of healthy carbs, not to mention naturally sweet.
Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 6 tbsp coconut yoghurt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 x 400 (14oz) BPA-free tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 150g (5.5oz) unsweetened sweetcorn, drained
- 2 ripe vine tomatoes, chopped
- 6-8 large slices of jalapeño chilli (fresh or from a jar), chopped (optional)
- spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 small handfuls of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- steamed greens, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180◦C/350◦F/gas mark 4. Line a baking paper tray with baking paper.
2. Place the sweet potatoes on the prepared tray and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooked, cut in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh and put in a bowl, leaving the sweet potato skins intact (top tip: it helps if you leave some sweet otato inside the skins to prevent them collapsing.
3. Mix the sweet potato flesh with the yoghurt and tahini. Stir in the black beans and the remaining ingredients, apart from the ground almonds. Season to taste.
4. Spoon the filling back into the potato skins, sprinkle 1 tbsp of ground almonds over each half and grill for a few minutes until golden.
5. Serve one sweet potato with your choice of steamed greens for dinner and pack the other away for lunch the next day.
Want to take it up a notch on your pizza-making prowess? Click here for the best recipe for cauliflower pizza with a crispy base – and enjoy it guilt-free!