Modifying school lunch guidelines could fight climate change, improve child health

Aligning school lunch guidelines in the U.S. with recommendations from the EAT-Lancet Commission could help fight climate change, improve nutrition among children, and lower lunch costs, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, led by Mary Kathryn Poole, a PhD student in population health sciences, compared data on U.S. school lunches with the diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet Commission report, which promotes foods that can maximize nutritional value while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, and costs.

The analysis found that many school lunches were loaded with foods that have large carbon footprints, especially milk and meat. The study also found that there was a dramatic under-reliance on legumes as a healthy and climate-friendly source of protein, according to a December 7, 2020 Quartz article.

Other Harvard Chan School co-authors of the study included Aviva Musicus and Erica Kenney.

Read the Quartz article: How school lunch menus can help fight climate change