Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the country, has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to create the “Lean and Green” program, which aims to get students excited about plant-based foods. Under the new initiative, menu items such as bean wraps, entrées, salads, and fruit and vegetable smoothies will be clearly labeled “Lean and Green” with featured produce from the school-garden-to-cafeteria program. As for future plans, Karla Dumas, registered dietitian and policy expert at HSUS, stated, “Eventually, once the year gets up and running, they want to create some posters that are focused on their students—showing these kids enjoying these plant-based foods,” which will be co-branded with shareable graphics and social media tools to continue to promote plant-focused foods to children. Studies have shown that when children engage in the growing or preparation of fruit and vegetables, they are five times more likely to eat them. The district also uses compostable plates in place of Styrofoam in cafeterias.
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