Meatless Mondays can be a fun way to promote a more plant-based diet in your cafeteria or dining hall. Here are tips from the dietitian at University of the Pacific
As a long time advocate of plant-based diets, I jumped at the chance to bring the ‘Meatless Monday’ Campaign to Pacific. Lucky for me, the push to get everyone on board wasn’t hard. Bon Appetit, a known sustainable dining company brought the idea of local, healthy eating to Univeristy of the Pacific a few years ago. In addition to a locavore salad bar, organic chicken and eggs, and seafood approved by the Monterey Bay Watch program, meatless Monday entrees offer an additional sustainable offering. Most of the Pacific community is connected via social networking; NutriCat, the campus’ Wellness Mascot tweeted and Facebooked about Meatless Monday before it was available in the dining hall. As the Campus Dietitian, my job as NutriCat is to promote a healthy lifestyle through education and campus happenings. NutriCat helped spread the word about Meatless Monday by providing ideas from the menu and easy dorm-room recipes.
Last Spring, the dining hall went ‘Meatless on Mondays’; offering students meat-free choices and promoting the benefits of eating less meat. This was also done with promotion articles in the student newspaper and the faculty/staff wellness newsletter. Initially, some students were hesitant, but we do continue to offer burgers, chicken fingers, and the like in the campus grill for students who do not wish to take part in the campaign. Most of the students embrace it and are very concerned with sustainable food practices.
My advice to roll out a Meatless Monday campaign is to contact the campaign at meatlessmonday.com for recipes, and ideas for ‘Healthy Mondays’. I used my column in the newspaper that month to answer questions about health benefits and reasons why Pacific was going meatless. It got the students attention and they understood why the changes were being made. If you have a social media site, I highly recommending reminding the students every Monday morning as well as providing take away tips. I think having NutriCat really helped in promoting the campaign.
By Alex Caspero MA, RD, Campus Dietitian, University of the Pacific
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.