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Mondays go meatless at Granite schools

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Every Monday in October, lunch trays at schools in the Granite School District were missing something that's usually not too difficult to find - meat.

The district implemented the Meatless Monday program as part of an international movement to reduce meat consumption worldwide by 15 percent.

Jeff Gratton with the district's Food Services Department says the effort started as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" health campaign.

"I think we've received great responses," he said. "Some of the kids really love it. Obviously with everything you try there are opposing sides."

Instead of meat-filled dishes, students could choose vegetarian meals like lasagna, bean and cheese burritos, sandwiches or salads. Gratton says the program isn't about forcing vegetarianism, it's all about showing kids other healthy and tasty food options.

It was a way of educating kids on a different way of eating and a different way of seeing food.

–Jeff Gratton

"It's a nice way to challenge our kids to think outside the box," Gratton said. "It was a way of educating kids on a different way of eating and a different way of seeing food. Not every family in the world eats meat every day."

From here, Gratton says the district will evaluate sales and parent feedback to see if Meatless Mondays should become a permanent program.

According to the USDA, the average American eats 45 percent more meat than the recommended amount. Going without meat just once a month can help prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity.



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Mary Richards


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