Empowering Illinois Parents

Empowering Illinois Parents:
Plant-Based School Lunches Now a Reality

Dear PBNM Community,

We are building momentum for the Plant-Based School Lunch option in Illinois Schools! Here’s the next step to revolutionize what our children eat at school. As part of our ongoing efforts to promote healthy, sustainable, and nutritious food choices, we invite you to
participate in this mandated change, the first ever at the state level. This School Breakfast and Lunch Program Act amendment, which can be found [here](https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=110&GA=102&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4089&GAID=16&LegID=&SpecSess=&Session=), represents a milestone for those interested in introducing more plant-based options into their children’s diets. In essence, it empowers parents, caregivers, and students themselves to request plant-based lunches from their school districts. The best part? The schools are now required to provide them!

So, what does this mean for you and your child? Let’s break it down:

Your Right to Request:
The amendment explicitly states that students (or parents or caregivers) can request a plant-based lunch. This means you have the power to make a positive change in your child’s daily meals. By opting for plant-based lunches, you can introduce them to a wider world of delicious,
nutritious, and environmentally friendly food options.

The Magic Word: “Prior”
To ensure a seamless process, the amendment specifies that the request for a plant-based lunch must be made “prior” to the meal being given to the student. This requirement is essential for schools to accommodate your request effectively. So, remember to communicate
your preference ahead of time. Based on our conversations with Illinois Food Service Professionals, it could take up to four weeks lead time.

Nutrition Standards are Key:
We understand that your child’s well-being is the most important thing. The amendment ensures that any plant-based meal provided by the school complies with federal nutrition standards, and that applies to all items in the meal, including plant-based milk. This means you
can be confident that the lunch will be balanced, healthy, and in line with dietary guidelines and 100% free of animal products.

Why Plant-Based?
Plant-based diets are known for their health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases and improved overall well-being. On top of that, they are kinder to other species and more eco-friendly, contributing to a more sustainable planet. By incorporating more plant-based options
into your child’s school meals, you are not only fostering their health but also teaching them valuable lessons about responsible and compassionate food choices.

Take Action Now:
We encourage parents interested in providing their children with more plant-based meals to exercise this new school food option. Your involvement can lead to healthier, happier, and more informed young people. It’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of our
children and the future of our planet.

So, let’s promote this positive change. Together, we can make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of our children, other species and the planet. Reach out to your school district, exercise your right to request plant-based lunches, and let’s create a healthier and
more sustainable future for our kids.


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