Leeds schools to trial eco-friendly menus

Catering Leeds is set to trial a new environmentally-friendly school menu in an attempt to reduce emissions in the city.

A report, which went before Leeds City councillors this week, proposes one non-meat day and one vegetarian day each week, with vegan options too.

The report stated: “Leeds pupils are taste-testing new environmentally friendly school dinner menus in a project led by Catering Leeds. The aim is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and ensure that pupils enjoy even healthier meals with extra vegetable content. This will be offered to all 182 primary schools provided catering by Catering Leeds Children.

“The proposed menu includes one non meat day and one vegetarian day each week plus vegan dishes, with more vegetables included in main dishes and even desserts.”

The report added that extra raw vegetables should be available for children who want them, claiming: “Pupils have a rainbow of salad, vegetables and raw veg sticks to choose from, and often prefer raw vegetables to cooked. Serving raw vegetables helps to reduce energy consumption, while helping children to enjoy their five-a-day.”

It follows research done by Leeds City Council, which found that 84 out of 88 young children surveyed would “not object” to having one meat free day per week to reduce their carbon footprint.

The menus, said to be “already receiving a thumbs up” from pupils during trials are being finalised in consultation with schools. The new meals have been developed by a forum including council officers, nutritionists food awareness organisation Pro-Veg.

Catering Leeds provides school dinners to 182 primary schools across the city and each will be offered the updated menu.

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