Western Washington University Dining Services introduced the concept of "Meatless Monday" in three of the resident dining halls on campus Monday, March 7.
In Viking Commons, Ridgeway Commons and Fairhaven Commons, dining customers had their choices of meatless entrees in the Eclectic Eats and Home Cookin' food areas. Items containing meat were available elsewhere in the dining commons, such as in the pizza, deli and grill areas. Customers always have vegan and vegetarian options available, says Dining Services' Lisa Philbrook, but on Meatless Mondays customers can choose from meatless options in additional formats, such as Eclectic Eats and Home Cookin'.
Meatless Monday is planned to be repeated on the first Monday in April and May.
Why Meatless Monday? Meatless Monday is consistent with WWU values regarding education, nutritious dining options and sustainability. The concept is being tried at college campuses throughout the country to increase awareness of health benefits and the impact on the environment.
The plan was initiated by Sodexo, which is launching the initiative at 650 Sodexo-served campuses this fall. Developed by nonprofit The Monday Campaigns with the assistance of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the adoption of this public health initiative is part of Sodexo's "Better Tomorrow" plan, which includes commitments to promote health and wellness solutions and protect and restore the environment. The Meatless Monday campaign's primary goal is to reduce Americans' saturated fat consumption by 15 percent and reduce the environmental impacts of industrial meat production.
Plant-based diets have many health benefits, according to information released by Dining Services:
- Better weight management
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower risk for heart disease
- Lower risk for certain cancers
- Higher – helps you up
- More antioxidants from fruits and vegetables
- Helps reduce your carbon footprint
- Helps minimize water usage
- Helps reduce fuel dependence