The Daily Beet

20 Aug Summer’s End

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If you’re a teacher, the summer really ends the first week of August. As a former teacher, I always looked forward to the return of school because it meant the beginning of a steady routine, both in my home and the classroom. And, it also meant lots of great discussions in the Teachers’ Lounge.

I often think about how much I would love to be in the classroom again, but mainly for two reasons. Meatless Mondays and something I’d call Fruity Fridays.

As Meatless Mondays become more popular, working with your teacher base might be a good way to implement a no-meat policy once a week at your school.

Here are a few thoughts that might help to bring more veggies and fruits to your local school:

-Along with your school administrator, implement a “No Meat Monday” for teachers. Start behind the scenes to empower your co-workers with the benefits of eating plants. Bring in some recipes–there are some great ones on Engine 2 that would ignite everyone’s interest in eating better. Better than that, bring in your favorite E2 dish and serve it in the teachers’ lounge…they will love you!

-Work with your PTO. I often marveled at the ability that the PTO had in helping to mobilize a thought or concept. An all grade veggie potluck might be a fun way to start!

-Offer a challenge to your school head or principal. Try Meatless Mondays for four weeks! I once saw a principal sit on the roof of my children’s school because the student body read more than 1000 books. Everyone loves a challenge, or new opportunity.

-Fruity Friday is a fun way to talk about the benefits of fruit. See if a local grocer or produce store can donate fruit to your school or classroom. Students will love having fresh fruit.

-Lastly, great resources abound at http://www.pcrm.org  The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine is really everyone’s go-to organization for learning about ways to implement a meatless monday in your school. Its head, Neal D. Barnard, MD is a good friend to Engine 2, and we often turn to his group for guidance.

As you return to school, have a get-together with fellow teachers. You can easily come up with a master-minded plan to serve as good, plant-based examples for your students.

And, there’s always that one parent who wants to help. Make Meatless Monday seem like a trendy event, and you will see how people want to feel better while following a plant-strong diet, if even only for one day a week.

But, it’s a great way to start.

Be the change in this school year by eating lots of plant-based, whole foods. The next thing you know, that one day per week program, may become the new, daily, norm.

Plant-strong!

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Char Nolan
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Patricia Cone

    Dear Char:

    I am delighted to read your blog.

    I am hopeful that the many child health organizations in Chicago will explore vegan and plant strong as a viable choice for children and families.

    Best,
    Patti Cone, MPH

  • Hazel

    I understand the intention is a good one – to encourage healthful eating. However, I think the plan would prove to be a negative experience for many teachers.

    Although I am a vegan teacher, and eating plant strong, I would be annoyed if parents came to the school and tried to bring me “on board” with Meat Free Mondays or Fruity Fridays. We have plenty to deal with in a week as it is.

    Perhaps parent energy would be better spent lobbying to change the school lunch program or by working with their districts to ban junk food sales in the schools or at PTO sponsored events. Parents could also lobby with the district to establish guidelines for kinds of foods at school events.