Cafeterias don’t exactly have the best reputation for being places where delicious, healthy food can be found in abundance. We’ve all been ever-so-slightly scarred by the memories of mushy vegetables or mystery meat in school lunches, and it’s a pretty universal fact that when in a hospital or office cafeteria, going for pizza is probably your best bet. The fact is, many of these institutions are forced to operate on strict budgets and their offerings aren’t always geared towards promoting health or sustainability. This is something that is starting to change, in large part thanks to the help and intervention of organizations and groups advocating for healthy food for everyone.

The topic of bringing more plant-based foods into institutions such as hospitals, schools, prisons, office cafeterias, and other food service providers, was on full display during this year’s Reducetarian Summit in Los Angeles. In a panel called “Transforming Food Service,” moderated by One Green Planet’s Co-Founder Nil Zacharias, experts came together to discuss the question of how can we get food service providers and institutions to add plant-based foods on the menu? The panel featured: Kristie Middleton from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Kim Huskey from Google, Audrey Lawson-Sanchez of Balanced, a public health and nutrition advocacy organization campaigning for healthier menus in schools, hospitals, and other critical institutions, and Sebastian Joy from ProVeg International, a food awareness organization with the goal of leading efforts to reduce global meat consumption by 50 percent by 2040.


From discussing how Google has designed their cafeterias to be “plant-forward,” analyzing consumer behaviors to encourage their employees (or as they say, users) to consume more plant-based foods and fewer animal products at meal times, to the HSUS’s comprehensive Meatless Monday campaign that has helped 263 school districts provide meatless meals one day a week (and consequently eliminated close to 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and saved the lives of 10.3 million land animals in just five years), this engaging conversation was packed with strategies and solutions to provide plant-based meals at every price point.

You can hear the full conversation in this week’s episode of the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast and learn more about how food service is changing to focus on both health and sustainability!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.


If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food – and order your copy of the #EatForThePlanet book!


Image source: JGA/Shutterstock