The trend toward plant-based and plant-forward dishes that took root early on C&U and B&I menus has now migrated to senior living and trickled down to K-12. Flexitarians—not vegans—are the main customers, say the chefs. Occasionally going meatless—not only on Mondays—is healthier, they believe.

But that’s not the only reason vegetables, fruits, grains and pulses are pushing their way to the center of the plate. While not all the chefs are fans of plant-based burgers and other faux meats, these products have become more readily available from several suppliers, making it easy to swap out beef, pork and poultry in such favorites as lasagna, tacos and sandwiches. Consumer concerns about meat’s impact on the environment are also providing a boost.