The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Food fight: Meatless Mondays generate mixed reactions

Oscar+Parker+gets+lunch+on+Meatless+Monday+at+the+lower+kiosk.+Many+students+opt+to+get+lunch+at+the+lower+kiosk+to+avoid+long+waits+at+the+main+lunch+line.
Bailey Chinnan
Oscar Parker gets lunch on Meatless Monday at the lower kiosk. Many students opt to get lunch at the lower kiosk to avoid long waits at the main lunch line.

Kickin’ chicken sandwiches and plant-based burgers fill lunch trays at Carlmont as a part of its weekly Meatless Monday program, a midday highlight for some and a low point for others. 

“I think that it exposes students to meatless meals that could taste like real meat,” said Carlmont Food Services Lead Gail Horn. 

According to Horn, Carlmont began exclusively offering hot plant-based meals on Mondays two years ago after hiring a new service director. These meals are often vegetarian versions of meat dishes, such as imitation chicken nuggets and sandwiches. Meatless Mondays are a part of Carlmont’s six-week lunch schedule, which is created and managed by the district. 

“Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the health of the planet,” according to The Monday Campaigns

The program also gives students who don’t eat meat an opportunity to get a free warm lunch that isn’t available on other days. 

“I really enjoy not having to worry about bringing lunch because I’m getting food that fits my dietary restrictions,” said sophomore Oscar Parker, a pescatarian. 

However, not all students appreciate meatless lunches, as complaints about food quality on Mondays are common. 

Pullquote Photo

I understand that they have to provide options for vegetarian students, but they could try a little harder to make it actually edible.

— Krish Hirani

“I understand that they have to provide options for vegetarian students, but they could try a little harder to make it actually edible,” said sophomore Krish Hirani. “The kickin’ nuggets are always dry, and the fake meat just isn’t good most of the time.” 

District efforts to include students who don’t eat meat have met opposition from students who do. Some students opt not to get a warm lunch on Mondays, choosing a salad or cold sandwich; some forgo lunch altogether. 

“I just skip lunch on Mondays most of the time,” Hirani said. “Usually, I’ll get chips or something from the student store instead.”

More opposition is directed towards plant-based alternatives rather than traditionally vegetarian dishes. 

“I don’t mind the Margherita pizza or the pasta, but the plant-based stuff isn’t good; the bean burgers are always making my stomach hurt,” said sophomore Wyatt Dent. 

This sentiment isn’t shared across the state. According to the California Department of Education, Meatless Mondays have seen an increase in participation and a reduction in meal costs. 

There are other benefits besides cost reduction; according to The Monday Campaigns, plant-based diets reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and help manage carbon footprint. Additionally, going meatless on Monday promotes less meat consumption over the rest of the week.

Carlmont plans to continue Meatless Mondays, according to Horn.

“It’s really taken off in the whole state of California, with a lot of districts doing it,” Horn said. 

While some students don’t look forward to Monday lunches, many non-meat-eating students view it as a welcome break from the rest of the meat-heavy week.

“I’m glad they’re going to keep doing it, and I hope that they realize the difference it makes for students who can’t or choose not to eat meat,” Parker said.

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About the Contributor
Bailey Chinnan, Staff Writer
Bailey Chinnan (Class of 2026) enjoys listening to music, volunteering, playing baseball, and following Atlanta sports. He covers campus news at Carlmont and loves to meet new people. You can find him volunteering with YMSL or complaining about the Falcons (Super Bowl incoming).

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