Presentation Ideas: Meatless Monday

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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 recommend 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 www.delicious-knowledge.com

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