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Illinois Law Requires Schools to Provide Students Plant-Based Lunch

House Bill 4089 will help that become a reality for thousands of students who want plant-based lunch choices.“Some students may only be able to depend on one meal a day,” said Koehler. “It’s incredibly important for all students to have access to a well-rounded, nutritious meal during the school day that meets their dietary needs.” ADVERTISEMENT Mounting evidence suggests that plant-based diets could provide more nutritional value than omnivore diets. One study found that vegan school lunches contain three times more fiber than meat-based entrees.

Around 90% of American children don’t consume the recommended daily fiber intake.So, having more plant-based lunch options such as whole grains and legumes could help boost their fiber consumption. The American Heart Association recommends that children ages nine to thirteen eat 26 to 31 grams of fiber each day.In the study, vegan entrees provided to nearly 500 students contained an average of 9.5 grams of fiber. In comparison, standard meat-based entrees had about 2.8 grams, on average.

ADVERTISEMENT According to the School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit organization run by school nutritionists, 14% of school districts provided vegan lunches in 2017. Only 11.5% of schools offered plant-based lunches in 2016, proving that more students have shown interest in reducing meat consumption.School districts across the country, from California to Maine, have started offering vegan options to students. In January 2022, New York City school districts adopted Vegan Fridays, where school lunches contain only plant-based options.

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