Vegan school meal

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A vegan school meal or vegan school lunch is a vegan option provided as a school meal.


Traditionally school meals, particularly those served in the United States and Europe, are made with meat and dairy. In recent years schools there and in other geographic regions have begun adding vegan and plant-based options.[1][2][3][4]

Culture, politics and government policies determine what food is served at school meals, and schools serving vegan meals are often responding to national policies or demands from local communities. Reasons cited for offering vegan school meals include concerns about nutrition, allergies, cultural diversity and sustainability. Schools that add vegan lunch have faced complaints[5] and those that don't have it have faced criticism.[6]

The addition of vegan lunches in schools is related to the Meatless Monday campaign.[7]

In 2006, Vegetarian Journal reported a survey of food service directors in the United States by the School Nutrition Association found "5% of elementary, 6% of middle, and 10% of high schools offer vegan options."[8] By 2017, the School Nutrition Association found 14% of school districts across the country offer vegan lunches compared to 11.5% of schools offering vegan lunch in 2016.[9]

Political history[edit]

In 2011 France passed a law requiring schools to serve meat.[10] Then in 2017 French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot told a publication schools should serve vegan meals.[11]

In 2016, the Israel Ministry of Health mandated all schools serve weekly vegetarian meals, some of which are vegan.[4]

In Berlin, Germany in 2016, an administrative court ruled schools aren't obligated to provide vegan school meals.[12]

In 2017, Brazil adopted the Conscious Eating Brazil policy (Alimentação Consciente Brasil) with an aim of increasing fruits and vegetables and decreasing meat in the country's school lunches. The act led to some school districts adding vegan meals.[5]

In 2019, the Healthy Climate-Friendly School Lunch Act, which would mandate vegan options in all schools, was introduced into the state of California's legislature in the United States.[13]

The United Kingdom's School Food Standards require school meals to include fish, meat, and dairy. In 2020, Paul McCartney signed a letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson asking that the government change the requirement and allow schools to serve vegetarian and vegan meals. The campaign to change the UK School Food Standards is led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and supporters include Greenpeace and the Royal Society for Public Health.[14]

Examples of vegan lunches[edit]

Vegan school lunches being served by schools include sloppy Joes in Teofilandia, Brazil,[5] hummus pizza and Kung Pao tofu in Portland, Maine, USA,[9][15] root vegetable soup in Porvoo, Finland,[16] vegan chicken nuggets in Deerfield, Illinois, USA,[17] vegan quesadillas and Szechuan noodles in Kittery, Maine, USA,[15] falafel sandwiches and stuffed vegan peppers at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA,[18] and vegan tamale and vegan teriyaki burgers in Los Angeles, California, USA.[19]

The MUSE School in Calabasas, California is the first vegan K–12 school in the United States.[20][21] The German International School in Chennai also adopted veganism since the 2017–2018 academic year, becoming the first vegan K–12 school in India.[22]


  1. ^ Tomky, Naomi (2019-02-27). "When Your Kindergarten Goes Vegan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  2. ^ Brody, Leslie (2016-04-06). "What's the Latest Course in Preschool? Vegan Food". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  3. ^ "Vegan school meal options promised after mother's campaign". BBC News. 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  4. ^ a b BAUKE, NICOLE (July 11, 2017). "Veganism takes parenthood by storm in Israel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  5. ^ a b c McCoy, Terrence (November 3, 2019). "Schools in meat-loving Brazil went vegan. The community revolted". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  6. ^ Gibbons, Amy (January 22, 2020). "Go vegan to avoid threat of legal action, schools told". Tes. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  7. ^ Jacobson, Linda (March 18, 2019). "Success with Meatless Mondays depends on staff training, 'well-prepared' recipes". Education Dive. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  8. ^ Hamlin, Amie (July 1, 2006). "Foodservice Update: Vegetarian and Vegan Foods in Schools". Vegetarian Journal. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  9. ^ a b Povich, Elaine S. (September 30, 2019). "Vegan School Lunches Expand Despite Opposition From Meat Industry". Stateline. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  10. ^ Haurant, Sandra (2011-10-26). "French government 'banning vegetarianism' in school canteens". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  11. ^ Croissandeau, Matthieu (November 28, 2017). "Nicolas Hulot : "Croyez-moi, je n'ai renoncé à rien !"". L’Obs. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  12. ^ Marshall, Wyatt (2016-05-18). "Berlin Court Says Schools Don't Have to Provide Vegan and Paleo Lunch Options". Vice. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  13. ^ Staff Report (2019-02-12). "Healthy Climate-Friendly School Lunch Act". LA TECH NEWS. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  14. ^ Brown, Mark (2020-06-22). "Paul McCartney calls for meat to no longer be mandatory in England's school meals". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  15. ^ a b Kamila, Avery Yale (2019-04-28). "Public schools in southern Maine explore vegan options". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  16. ^ "Porvoo schools trial vegan lunches once a week". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  17. ^ "Aramark offer healthful vegan school lunch options". Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  18. ^ "Florida high school launches vegan meals". Food Management. 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  19. ^ "Vegan lunches could be coming to every LAUSD school next year | LA School Report". Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  20. ^ Feinsinger, Greg (January 6, 2016). "Doctor's tip: Word getting out about plant-based diets". Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  21. ^ Kirkova, Deni (November 12, 2015). "Director James Cameron's wife opened first all-vegan school as he filmed Avatar". Metro. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  22. ^ Menon, Priya (14 August 2017). "Kids dig into mock meat as German school goes vegan". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 23 September 2020.