Less meat, more plants


Diets that embrace plant-based proteins are trending for both health and environmental reasons. One in four consumers are eating less meat and roughly half of younger consumers and one-third of older people already regularly choose plant-based foods instead of meat. In the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 “What’s Hot” survey, nearly 60 percent of professional chefs listed meatless items among the top culinary trends. In the 2019 “What’s Hot” survey, global flavors and plant forward topped the list with the tagline “Plant-based and veggie-centric foods are no longer just for vegetarians.” 

Health professionals and hospitals can take advantage of this trend to advance public and environmental health by educating and guiding individuals toward healthy climate-smart foods.

Hospitals and health care facilities are hiring executive chefs and training their culinary staff in scratch cooking techniques and are seeing the multitude of benefits: kitchen efficiencies, staff culinary skills and professional development, and overall a positive impact on ROI and customer or patient satisfaction

Goals for tracking less meat

Health care institutions track meat purchases by: 

1) The total pounds of meat purchased 

2) Category, to start tracking Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions

3) Becoming a Cool Food Pledge signatory to track greenhouse gas emissions from protein-rich foods

More than half of Practice Greenhealth’s reporting member hospitals (55%) have chosen to reduce meat purchases. Practice Greenhealth offers recommended goals, tools, and case studies to help our members use culinary creativity and sustainable food sourcing to serve plant-forward hospital food that is healthy for people and the planet while being delicious and on trend. Plant-forward meals created with everyday culinary techniques, are affordable to source and cook, and will increase profits. 

Primary strategies include:

  • Utilizing plant-based proteins like (beans, nuts, seeds, soy) in place of meat 
  • Blending ground meat with mushrooms (or other plants)
  • Adding vegetarian and vegan options in your meal service and other creative plant-forward recipes. 
  • Avoiding or minimizing meat alternatives and other food products that have been “highly processed” including added salt, sugar, fat, dyes, isolation of whole proteins or other ingredients associated with increased shelf life or palatability.

The Cool Food Pledge

The Cool Food Pledge is a new platform to help hospitals offer diners more of what they want while slashing food-related greenhouse gas emissions, saving costs, and improving health.

Learn more

Health Care Culinary Contest 

Showcase your talent to reimagine hospital food. Join the community of hospital chefs and food service professionals who are reinventing hospital food. Submit your best plant-forward recipe that celebrates flavorful food traditions while using creative and everyday culinary techniques.

Learn more


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