This week is Meat Free Week (1-8 August 2016)  – a great opportunity for us to think about our food choices and eat less meat, care more and feel good. Going meat free for one week allows us to consider and reflect on how much meat we are eating and the impact that eating too much meat may have on your health and on the environment.

Meat Free Week also provides the perfect opportunity to try out plant-based foods, get more fruits and veggies in your meals and see whether a meat-reduced diet is for you, even if it’s just for one week.  We have loads of delicious veggie-friendly recipes for you to try on the Kitchen Garden Project resource hub, as well as some widely-available meat-free dishes on the Jamie Oliver website.  Why not try these super easy Crunchy carrot pittas – all you need is basic cooking equipment, no heat required!  Or fire up the BBQ this summer and grill these colourful Greek vegetable kebabs?

Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project is a food education programme for UK primary schools.  The programme supports primary school teachers in delivering effective cooking lessons through an online hub of beautiful digital resources, designed to give teachers all the tools and confidence they need to captivate children through food.  We aim to inspire schools across the country to get involved in food education in a practical way. We want everyone to roll up their sleeves, get stuck in and work together to create something that will change current and future generations’ relationship with food.

The Kitchen Garden Project has always celebrated fruit and vegetables, and to highlight the versatility of veggies and the importance of reducing our meat intake, this year saw us team up with Meat Free Mondays to create a brilliant new teaching resource. The resource will help teachers in schools that have joined the campaign, or want to do so, to work the aims, ambitions and importance of Meat Free Monday into lessons.  The resource includes three delicious meat-free recipes that pupils can learn to make, including Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognaise, Mini Meat-Free Burgers and Super Squash Curry. Jamie says of the campaign: “Meat Free Monday is the most brilliant excuse to focus on the incredible variety of veggies out there – the flavours, textures and wonderful dishes you can create is beyond belief. So here’s to Meat Free Monday and frankly, meat-free Wednesdays too.”  Get the resource here.

Through the Kitchen Garden Project, we encourage our schools to taste and cook with a variety of lovely, seasonal fruit and vegetables and, all over the country, schools are focusing more and more on vegetable-based dishes.  One school in particular has a fantastic food ethos, making veggie dishes appealing and exciting. In September 2014, Christ Church completely overhauled and changed the way that they provide school meals. They now employ their own kitchen chefs directly who work closely with the teachers to promote healthy eating and contribute to the food education already taking place in the school.  The meals reflect changes in seasonal fruit and vegetables, and they use produce from the school garden teaching the children to understand where the food comes from and how it is grown.  Christ Church School Kitchen has it’s very own Instagram and Twitter feed, posting daily pictures of school lunches, which include the weekly Meat Free Monday and Without Meat Wednesdays meals!

Find out more about signing up and joining the Kitchen Garden Project here, and get your hand on lots of lovely meat free dishes to get the kids embracing vegetables!