Meatless Monday returns to campus
If you're thinking of having a burger for lunch at CSU Monterey Bay – and it's a Monday – you might want to reconsider that choice.
An initiative by Sodexo, the university's food service provider, is highlighting meatless options at all five campus dining locations every Monday during the school year. They're making it easy for diners to abstain from eating meat one day a week.
If you're a carnivore and you've already scarfed down a double cheeseburger, don't worry. You're not in trouble. It's voluntary.
"The idea isn't to take any choices away," said Tyler McBrian, Sodexo's campus marketing and sustainability manager. "The idea is to add vegetarian options and to make them visible," he said.
Sodexo is doing that by featuring a special serving station for vegetarian fare in the Dining Commons.
In addition, the library café features veggie hummus wraps, the Otter Express offers veggie sandwiches and the Otter Bay Restaurant has a new Meatless Monday option every week.
The company's website says it is offering more vegetarian fare to improve students' health and reduce their environmental impact.
"Did you know that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to make one pound of beef," McBrian asks people.
The Meatless Monday trend is sweeping through learning institutions from elementary to graduate schools. Pioneers include UC Davis, Yale University and the Baltimore City schools.
Dozens of colleges and universities now highlight meatless options each week, according to Sodexo. Many of the efforts to bring Meatless Monday to campuses were student-led, a testament to increased awareness about the connections between diet and overall health. Each college has added its own promotion style to the campaign, including videos, Facebook pages and pledge drives.
And it's not just schools that have signed on to the idea.
When celebrity chef Mario Batali starts to push people to eat their vegetables, you know something is happening. The famous chef and restaurant owner has joined the Meatless Monday movement, which is backed by a broad array of public-health advocates.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a study of fruit and vegetable consumption. It found that only 26 percent of adults eat vegetables three or more times a day – which falls far short of guidelines set by the federal government. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the average American eats less than half of what public health officials suggest. And that figure hasn't budged since 2000.
Nor is the idea new. During World War I, people were urged to skip meat one day a week as a rationing effort. Now, that idea has been reinvented as a hip, easy way to be environmentally friendly and health conscious.
To learn more about dining at CSUMB, click here.