The Buffalo Public School District has joined the 'Meatless Monday' movement. The program encourages people to reduce their meat consumption by 20 percent by eating more plant-based foods.
The movement, which dates back to World War I, encourages Americans to eat entirely meat-free one day a week.
The program was implemented locally with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States. Food Policy Manager Kristie Middleton says the movement is part of the war against chronic, preventable disease.
"About one-third of Americans are overweight or obese. That includes our children. There is an abundance of evidence that high levels of meat consumption are related to obesity," Middleton said.
That number is projected to jump to 42 percent by the year 2030. Middleton says kids as young as five years old are showing signs of diet-related complications.
Bridget O'Brien Wood, Food Service Director for the Buffalo schools, says the program will become more developed as the year goes on.
"We started off pretty slow in September with cheese pizza and our yogurt and cheese stick meal," O'Brien Wood said. "But now we're going to really try to get them to try some new things and work on recipe development to get new items out there."
Dozens of school districts across the country have adopted Meatless Mondays, including Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest district.