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Soy Protein for School Lunches

While strides have been made in recent years to improve the nutritional quality of cafeteria food provided to schoolchildren, there’s still more work to be done. Pizza, French fries, tacos and friend chicken nuggets remain staples of the daily student diet; the majority of fat from these and other foods comes from meat, dairy and processed foods.

A study in the April 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Dietary Association investigated the effects of substituting meat with soy products, with the specific intention of evaluating the impact of such a substitution on the overall nutritional quality of school lunches. Meat content was reduced by 30% and replaced with soy protein in 132 elementary school lunch selections, including Sloppy Joes; lasagna; pizza; chicken enchiladas; and tuna and ham salad.

Results: With the exception of chicken entrees, kilocalories and average grams of total and saturated fat decreased in meat-only entrees (replaced with soy) than in entrees with fat from additional ingredients such as cheese or oil. The authors note in their conclusion that soy protein can be a good way to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches, particularly those in which meat (pork, ground beef and ground turkey) is the primary source of fat.

Your doctor of chiropractic can help outline a nutritional and exercise program suitable to your family’s needs. For additional information on nutrition, visit


Thomas J, Lutz S. Soy protein lowers fat and saturated fat in school lunch beef and pork entrees. Journal of the American Dietary Association 2001: Vol. 110, No. 4, pp461-63.