If your experience in public schools was anything like mine, then you will have similar horror stories about the shockingly bad food. During my years in high school, I was already vegetarian, so lunch for me was often tater tots, plain baked potatoes, iceberg lettuce, and a side veggie—if I was lucky. Not exactly what I would call a wide variety of mouthwatering choices.
It has been a long time since I chowed down on anything off one of those plastic trays, and the food in some schools has since improved immensely. I recently read an old post on 101 Cookbooks about the Oxbow School, which in 2005 had a chef from Chez Panisse(!) whipping up school lunches—and she always included a vegan or vegetarian option.
For those of you who can’t coerce chefs from the nation’s most famous restaurants into wearing hairnets in Lunch Lady Land, don’t worry. There are other ways to get healthy vegetarian options into cafeterias.
Great new resources, such as the Earth Voice Food Choice manual, walk students, teachers, and parents through the steps necessary to get these options on their school’s menu. The manual provides recipes as well as tips for promoting the options to students and explains the problems that poor diets cause. Following the advice of the manual is a surefire way to get healthier, tastier options into any cafeteria.