CHICAGO – To support the health of students across Illinois, state Rep. Cyril Nichols, D-Chicago, introduced and passed legislation to require school districts to provide plant-based school lunch options. The bill was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Ensuring our students have access to nutritious school meals is an essential part of providing a quality education. When students are well-fed, they can fully concentrate on learning,” Nichols said. “Many students who are vegetarian or vegan are overlooked when it comes to school lunch menus, but this bill makes sure they are provided with a plant-based option to meet their dietary restrictions.”
House Bill 4089 requires a school district to provide a plant-based school lunch option that complies with federal nutritional mandates to students who submit a request to the district. According to the Mayo Clinic, a plant-based diet can reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. Plant-based diets can also help offset greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.
“Providing a plant-based school lunch option is a win for the health of our students and our environment,” said Nichols. “This bill gives students the freedom to choose which lunch option works best for their dietary needs and health concerns so they can focus on their academic success.”
House Bill 4089 will go into effect on August 1, 2023. For more information on this legislation, please visit www.ilga.gov.