NYC Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Meatless

Kim LaCapria - Author
By

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 1:57 a.m. ET

A New York City school cafeteria has become entirely meatless, one of the first schools in the US to eschew animal flesh entirely in its menu.

Students at P.S. 244, the Active Learning Elementary School, won’t find Grade D “burgers” or chicken-ish nuggets on their school’s monthly lunch calendar.

Instead, kids will have options like black bean quesadillas, tofu dishes with Asian sesame sauce, and falafel. It wasn’t a sudden switch for P.S. 244, where veggie options were the standard in the school’s grub hub three of five days a week — but the meatless every day thing is new.

Bob Groff is the Active Learning Elementary School principal, and he says that kids aren’t displeased with the new vegetarian cafeteria.

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Groff says comprehensive education including health curriculum has schooled the tots on why a meatless diet may be good for them, and he says:

“It’s been a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it’s about what is the healthiest option for them … Because we teach them throughout our curriculum to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we’re doing too.”

Groff says it’s not just about meatless fare, but opening up kids’ minds about healthy options. He adds:

“The big thing I would like people to know is, this isn’t just about a vegetarian menu … It’s about living a healthy lifestyle and educating students on what options are out there.”

Amie Hamlin is the executive director of New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, and Hamlin says science may support a meatless cafeteria:

“We know that when students eat a healthy diet, they’re able to focus better. Their immune systems are stronger, so they’re sick less, and then they’re in school more and they’re able to focus and concentrate better, and therefore learn better. There’s research about that.”

Do you think more schools should follow the Active Learning Elementary School and go vegetarian?

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