Made in Taiwan… a healthier, meat-free eating revolution for schoolchildren

Taipei at nightTaiwan has been improving the health of its children and the planet with a move towards more meat-free lunches in schools.

Approximately 86 per cent of the east Asian island nation’s primary and secondary schools now provide vegetarian options for pupils, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education carried out in October.

Of Taiwan’s 3,517 schools, 2,328 have offered meat-free dishes, with almost 700 doing so once every fortnight or month. Compare this with February, when the last survey was conducted, when only 1,201 schools were found to be offering vegetarian meals.

The country began promoting healthier eating in schools back in 2009, and education ministry officials have now said that all schools should provide one meat-free meal a week in order to promote healthier eating and help reduce global warming.

There is still some way to go before a Meat Free Monday or other day of the week becomes the norm, however: the October survey revealed that 46 schools offered vegetarian menus twice a week, and only three more than three times a week.

Taiwan’s deputy minister of education, Lin Tsong-ming, has acknowledged that eating too much meat causes health problems.

He also pointed out that there is more protein in dried bean curd than in shrimps, that seaweed contains nine times more iron than liver, and black sesame seed 10 times more calcium than goat’s milk.

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