Conscious Eating Canada | sustainable food system | Chef

About Us

Canadians want to eat healthier and increasingly scan menus for nutritious food, whether at work or school or at the hospital or dining hall.

At Conscious Eating Canada, we believe finding nourishing meals that don’t hurt our planet shouldn’t be difficult. That’s why we’re working with foodservice professionals and chefs to help create healthier and more sustainable menus—at no cost to them.

And we want to work with you.

When I eat better, I feel better. Simple as that. I'm so excited about Conscious Eating Canada, and now is the time for institutions across Canada to join this phenomenal program to promote healthy and sustainable food.

Tricia Helfer  - Canadian Model and Actress
Photo Credit: Marc Cartwright


As a foodservice professional, you have such an important—and challenging—job. Whether feeding students in a school, patients in a hospital, or employees in a large organization, you need to know their preferences, offer tasty and nutritious foods, and stay within your budget.

One way to better meet all these goals is to add more grains, beans, and vegetables to the menu. Plant-based foods are not just healthier, more sustainable, and increasingly popular. They are also inexpensive and can reduce food costs for your organization.

According to leading health experts, diets high in vegetables, legumes, grains, and other plant-based proteins are associated with lower rates of obesity, cholesterol, and hypertension as well as reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Reducing meat consumption also has a positive impact on the environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and our use of precious resources, such as water and land.

"No single food can reduce your risk of cancer, but a healthy balanced diet that includes a variety of plant-based foods may help lower your cancer risk and promote overall health."

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

"The environment and climate would benefit substantially if more people… cut down on meat and animal products, especially in over-consuming Western societies."

David Suzuki Foundation

"Cutting out saturated fats that are found in meat can help lower your cholesterol, maintain your weight and improve your health. Of course, you don't have to be a vegetarian to reap benefits of eating more plant-based foods and less meat."

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada

"If you're striving for a long, healthy life, getting your protein from beans, nuts, and grains is a better bet."

Harvard Health

Get Involved

Let us help you meet your goals

  • Feeding people tasty and nutritious foods they will love
  • Reducing cost of food
  • Contributing to the environmental and sustainability goals of your organization

We work side by side with you to explore simple and creative ways to replace a portion of the meat on your menu with delicious plant-based foods. Some organizations replace meat, fish, and eggs with plant-based proteins on their menus one day a week. Others simply reduce the meat’s portion size by 20 percent throughout the week and fill the plate with healthier plant-based proteins, such as beans, whole grains, or vegetables.

You understand the preferences of the people you feed. So many of the crowd favourites you already serve can easily be made with plant-based foods. Let us show you how! Not sure where to start? Looking for inspiration? We can also share recipes that have had great success in other organizations.

Our Advisory Board

Dr Pamela Fergusson

Dr Pamela Fergusson

Pamela Fergusson, RD, PhD, promotes health and healing through a plant-based diet at her private practice in Toronto. A dietitian since 2001, she earned her doctorate at the University of Liverpool and worked in the nutrition field in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Dr Tushar Mehta

Dr Tushar Mehta

Tushar Mehta, MD, completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Toronto and works as an emergency medicine physician in the Toronto area. He is keenly interested in the medical and nutritional evidence linking plant-based diets and disease prevention.

Susan Macfarlane

Susan Macfarlane

Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD, helps people achieve their best health through a whole-food, sustainably sourced diet. She runs a private nutrition counselling practice in Ottawa and specializes in plant-based nutrition, weight management, and eating disorder recovery.

Dr Deniz Akyurekli

Dr Deniz Akyurekli

Deniz Akyurekli, MD, practices cutaneous and aesthetic surgery in Ontario. He adopted a plant-based diet for ethical reasons and has since realized the associated health benefits. His second passion is improving people’s quality of life by advocating a healthy plant-based diet.

Kristy Leavitt

Kristy Leavitt

Kristy Leavitt, RD, is passionate about equipping people with the knowledge and tools they need to live healthy lives. A believer in socially responsible eating, Kristy has worked in Calgary as a registered dietitian in diverse areas within the field of nutrition.

The change has begun



City of Vancouver Supports Meat Reduction

In 2013, Vancouver adopted a Meatless Monday resolution encouraging residents to go meat-free one day a week. Officials cited the health benefits of reduced meat consumption and a U.N. report that found meat production generates one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

McGill Promotes Meatless Monday in Residential Dining Halls

Collaboration between students and dining services at the highly ranked McGill University brought Meatless Monday to three residence dining halls. Through a delicious meat-free menu every Monday and educational printed materials, McGill’s goal is to reduce meat consumption to benefit health and the environment.

Branksome Hall School Gets Kids Excited About Fresh, Plant-Based Foods

Branksome Hall, a K–12 school in the heart of Toronto, made offering plant-based meals to students part of its guiding principles. The school serves healthy, simple, delicious food that students love.

Less Meat on the Menu Turns into Savings for this School District

Oakland Unified School District in California saved $42,000 by cutting animal products served in schools by 30 percent. The school district also saved 42 million gallons of water and reduced its carbon footprint by 14 percent. Oakland Unified is one of hundreds of school districts in the U.S. that have implemented Meatless Mondays.

São Paulo embraces Meatless Mondays

The city of São Paulo in Brazil committed to a meat-reduction strategy across its public schools and Bom Prato restaurants, which serve over 80,000 meals a day to low-income residents. One day a week, they remove meat from their menus and offer dishes rich in plant-based proteins.

The Chinese Government Urges its Citizens to Cut Meat Consumption by 50 percent

China’s health ministry released dietary guidelines encouraging the country’s population to cut meat consumption by 50 percent. The measure aims to improve public health - decreasing the incidence of obesity and diabetes, which today affect around 100 million Chinese - and to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Conscious Eating Canada | sustainable food system | Pizza Photo

Our Team

Alan Darer

Alan Darer

Global Food Policy Manager

Alan Darer manages a global team of food policy specialists working in Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. As global food policy manager, Alan provides strategic guidance to the food policy team and oversees development of meat-reduction campaigns for public schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Alan understands that climate change and human health are global issues but also recognizes that real change happens at the country level. Alan has been highly successful in directing and supporting mobilisation campaigns for institutions seeking to add healthy and sustainable food to their menus.

Melissa Kucbel-Saumier

Melissa Kucbel-Saumier

Food Policy Specialist

As a food policy specialist, Melissa Kucbel-Saumier works with institutional decision makers to increase the healthy and sustainable food options on their menus. Melissa understands how to support stakeholders to achieve common goals and brings over a decade of experience working with decision makers. Her foundational MBA gives her the tools to understand business incentives and support initiatives with strong business cases and real-world success stories. She has worked extensively with healthcare networks in the private sector, federal and provincial governments, NGOs, professional associations, and community-based organizations.

Contact Us

At Conscious Eating Canada, we are here to help you meet the changing preferences of the people you feed! We offer free marketing resources, a network of nutritionists and chefs for recipe development and menu consultations, and other support you need to mobilize your organization around this exciting change. Best of all, as a nonprofit program, we offer all our services at no charge to you.

Please fill out the form below so we can get in touch!