The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) wants to give every child access to healthy vegetarian meals for school lunch. Their goal? To help slash the fat and calories and reduce rates of childhood obesity.
The committee is pushing to pass H.R. 5504, the House of Representatives’ version of the Child Nutrition Act, which supports meatless meals and dairy alternatives. The House has set that bill aside to pass the less elaborate Senate legislation, which does not stipulate any meatless alternatives.
“One in three kids is now overweight, but many schools are still struggling to serve healthy lunches,” Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM’s president said in a news release. “Schools should offer low-fat vegetarian options every day, and Congress and the president should take additional steps to give schools the resources to make that feasible.”
In less than thirty years, the number of school age children who are overweight or obese has tripled, and more than 1 in 3 American school children will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
Let’s take a hamburger lunch as an example. A hamburger contains around 15 grams of fat, but a veggie burger, while having a similar protein content, has only 5 grams of fat. The veggie burger additionally contains no cholesterol and has more fiber. If a student chose the veggie burger just once a week, the dietary impact would be beneficial.
Vegetarian school lunches have many benefits and have been widely supported by the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and celebrity parents such as Tobey Maguire.