School Meals- less meat more veg - perhaps a good idea for adults too

I find it interesting that a meatless meal one day per week will be obligatory in Schools from 1st November 2019. (2 year trial period)

OH and have already cut down our meat intake. We eat less, but possibly better quality than previously.

I think this is a great idea. It shows (well, we can hope) children that a meal can be tasty without meat.

Like you - and like most of Europe I suspect - we eat less meat, deliberately. For me, when possible (ie when I’m buying it), we eat only organic animal products, from meat to cheese, but that’s more from an animal welfare point of view. I’d like to be vegetarian (OH is less keen ;)) but at the moment it’s a journey.

Sorry, this makes me scream! To me there’s a huge issue in french schools about not providing suitable meals for muslims and jewish children. And once a week! Why not a daily choice of non-meat meals? I had that at school in the 60’s!

As far as I know, religion has no bearing on school life. :thinking: Our village school provides a 3 or 4 course meal every day and kids can (and do) choose what they want to eat from that lot…


Precisely. So in certain areas of france (particularly of a right wing and anti-immigrant nature) the local authorities refuse to provide meals that muslim and jewish children can eat. Which makes a massive issue of it, rather than just gently making school food that is acceptable to all. Why is it against all the values of the republique to provide kids with vegetarian meals rather than pork?

Jane, I know nothing of right-wing and anti-immigration etc…

I can only speak for our village school canteen since I have listened in at some of their catering meetings. I know that the canteen will normally serve pork as a meat once a week and they endeavour not to duplicate during the week. No child is forced to eat anything and they never go hungry.


I don’t get the impression that you live in an area with a high proportion of muslim or jewish children, so perhaps you are not aware. But this is an issue that has been widely reported over the last few years and is hugely controversial.

Apart from the locals, we have some refugee children who spend time with us. They normally stay around 6 months. I have no idea what religion any of our children follow (if any) since that is never discussed.

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I think it’s a good idea Stella or at least a start as it’s just so easy to provide tasty meals without meat…

Of course I’m speaking as a vegetarian who has never eaten any sort of offal or game and who hasn’t eaten beef for many years…

It feels like something has changed locally…for the first two years I was here I heard mother cows crying for their calves…I found it really distressing…this year I’ve seen young calves on the fields still close to their mothers…

I still eat fish rarely and eggs which I try to ensure are free range…I dont drink milk but Cheese is still one of my downfalls…

I think we all do the best we can with the information we have at hand and within our own “comfort zones”…

As my Border Collies are raw fed then I’m constantly presented with an ethical dilemma…I don’t eat meat but they do and then it’s a case of trying to balance all ‘animal welfare’ within my own boundaries of what’s acceptable to me and what isn’t…x :slight_smile:


As you say, Helen, it is a start. I’m wondering what new ideas the catering staff will come up with. :wink:

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You would think it would be quite simple really…??? My mom is vegetarian too and I do her Tesco shop every week for her for home delivery…

Amongst many medical problems she has insulin dependent diabetes so must eat regularly…

She has macaroni cheese…cauliflower cheese…jacket potatoes…mushroom stroganoff and rice…cereals…fresh fruit…fresh veg…rice pudding…vegetarian soup…

It wouldn’t seem that difficult or costly to provide vegetarian alternatives every day of the week…???

Some of the above might be considered a ‘side dish’ but for children who would rather not eat meat then the above are all quite nutritious in their own right…

One of my daughters who is mostly vegetarian but who doesn’t try to influence her 3 kids either way has one son…her eldest…who just doesn’t want to eat meat…he’s 7 and he asks her about the animals…she doesn’t lie to him…

Need to remember that French cuisine/tastes are somewhat different to UK. Our catering lady will doubtless conjure up something amazing from lentils and beetroot etc… :upside_down_face:

We did have one fascinating event organised by the Community of Communes. A wide selection of delicious looking stuff was presented to us (Joe Public). Only after tasting were we told what all the dishes/offerings were made from… quite an interesting experiment.

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Lol…whilst I admit that I wouldn’t necessarily presume that lentils and beetroot would make for delicious culinary companions I nevertheless remain intrigued…:grinning:

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Starch and more starch. I don’t see those as being good for anyone and none of those are things I eat or that French teenagers will eat at the cantine.

We have a whole load of different crudités and charcuterie as an entrée and soup is always on offer. The plat is meat or fish cooked with an accompanying vegetable. Green salad with the cheese course, then pudding or fruit to finish. People take what they want, they don’t have to have everything. We get through a huge quantity of salad and vegetables, local, fresh and varied. The meat is local too. Our cooks make everything from scratch, we are very lucky.

We are feeding teenagers some of whom won’t get another proper meal that day, they need more than stodge.


@vero says "they need more stodge’ and she’s absolutely right. Nothing stodgy about Vėronique’s judgement IMO.

My favourite school dinner in the early 1940s was cheese pie. The cook always made two big tins of it. The ingredients were mashed potato and cheese. There was no brown or tomato sauce in those days. Just pie.

I used always be amongst the first to go forward when cook called “Seconds!”

At 81 I think that my still being big and strong and able to touch my toes is down to that cheese pie. And never putting sugar in my tea. :grin::muscle:

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Your Canteen sounds on a par with ours, although our school is for younger kids. High quality, local products and a dedicated “chef”, produces delicious meals - I can vouch for this as I sometimes get invited to taste the leftovers. :upside_down_face:

Lentils and beetroot are a great combination. If you think about it, beetroot is very similar to carrot and carrots and lentils are a classic dish.

OH is a non meat eater, and our meals are largely vegetable based. I thought that diabetics had to be careful about high calorie foods and saturated fats like cheese and stick to regular eating with lots of veg, fruit and grains.

You both seem to have enlightened schools. Our friends children struggle, and find that there is often a day when all they can eat is fruit.

Oh Jane, that does not seem right.

It is not rocket science to offer a varied selection every day, but it takes planning. Our folk organise menus in blocks of 2-weeks and endeavour not to repeat anything, although fruit/veg might reappear in a different form during a week.

They shop early Monday and Thursday as they do not use anything frozen (except icecream). (no school Wednesday).

This is an old article, but have attached as its in English. If you look you will find much more recent news in french news outlets.