Students at California State University, East Bay, are finding more prominent placement of vegetables in their cafeteria on Mondays and filling their trays with dishes such as tempura tofu vegetable stir fry, grilled eggplant pizza and lentil vegetable soup.
The university recently joined the international Meatless Monday movement and its dining service, Pioneer Dining, is participating by offering meatless options and educating students about the health benefits of eating more plant-based foods. The new program earned praise from The Humane Society of the United States.
Pioneer Dining Marketing Manager Lucy Perez said: “At California State University, East Bay, we believe that healthy eating helps create healthy minds. We’re participating in Meatless Monday to encourage healthier, more sustainable eating decisions and start to introduce our students to the wide variety of healthy, delicious plant-based foods available."
Kristie Middleton, outreach manager of farm animal protection at The HSUS, said: “Americans have among the highest per capita meat consumption in the world, and providing more information and plant-based meals to students can raise their consciousness about food as it relates to public health, the environment and the treatment of animals.”
The Meatless Monday campaign, now a popular international movement, began in 2003 at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Monday Campaigns to promote cutting out meat one day a week for our health and the health of the planet.
The HSUS advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.
High demand for meat pressures farmers to opt for more industrialized production systems where they can lose touch with the animals. These systems also squeeze smaller farmers who have a harder time competing with factory farms.