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Elementary school cafeteria goes vegetarian. .. . . .Thoughts?

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

A New York City elementary school cafeteria is one of the first in the nation to go meatless.

Students at P.S. 244 , the Active Learning Elementary School, are being treated to eclectic fare, including black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafel and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce.

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

When the school opened in 2008, they started serving vegetarian meals three days a week. The campus became a vegetarian test kitchen for the city, Groff said.

“We then started to try out recipes with small groups of students, see what they liked, see what they didn’t like,” he said.

The recipes were a hit, Groff said, prompting the school to expand its meat-free meals to four days a week and then adopting a 100 percent vegetarian kitchen in January.

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

All meals have to adhere to USDA standards, he said, making sure students get plenty of nutrients, including protein, for their growing bodies.

That means nutrient-dense foods such as chickpeas, kidney beans and tofu.

If the herbivore-friendly grub doesn’t suit students,  Groff said they’re always welcome to pack their lunch, including meat.

The school operates on an application and lottery system, meaning it’s not zoned to a particular neighborhood. It serves 400 students from pre-kindergarten through grade three.


abc veggie school nt 130501 wblog Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian

Posted by Anonymous on May. 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM
Replies (121-122):
by Emerald Member on May. 1, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Yes they can do the same with a meat-filled school, however I see more of an assortment and variety with a more open menu, that would give students better options to help meet their nutrition needs. 

You are lucky that your parents helped you keep with your vegatarian diet... however, read through some of these posts on cafemom, and a lot of families wouldn't accomidate their children for special diets..

then take into consideration that a lot of these children rely on free lunch programs, their parents can't afford to pack a lunch for them, and it really leaves you questioning what they are eating at home.  If they aren't getting some of these nutrients at home.. I'd worry they aren't getting them at all.

BUT.. again, I didn't say I was completely against the program either, I just said I was concerned about how it was monitered for their studies.. to make sure that issues like I listed above, were taken into consideration.

Of course there could be similar issues if for example, only meat entrees were served..and I didn't say I agreed with those menu's either.

Thankfully the school I attended has a decent variety of foods.. we had a salad bar and sandwich bar, which allowed students to have any type of sub or salad and also include an veggie entree as well on their menu.   We had our "cultural" entree line.. which served anything from Tacos, to different chinese dishes,  italian dishes.. japanese dishes.. etc.  and our main entree bar which served most common = dishes.. meatloaf, speghetti, turkey dinner, etc. 

every entree came iwth a side of veggies, (and you typically had a choice of veggies), and a side of fruit.  A large majority of the time there was always something for everyone. 

The elementary was/is little more limited.. For example tomorrow at my daughters school (she attends the same school I went to) they have the options of sloppy joe, ham and cheese subs, minni mouse salad, pb and j sandwiches, and meat free pasta. Choice side veggies include broccoli or 4 bean salad, and fruits are fresh fruit (which are typically apples, oranges or bananas) or pears.  Baby carrots are served every day to any child who asks for them.. at no charge.. and kids can pick up to 4 sides, so long as one is a fruit and one is a veggie. 

Quoting NorthStar09:

But couldn't they do the same with a regular meat-filled school lunch?

I distinctly remember 2 entire years in the UK (meat served whether you liked it or not, I was a vegetarian) that I ate ONLY the fruit or vegetable, the treat, and whatever side they ahd as long as it had no meat. If that.

I had enough protein at home, my parents didn't mind buying different food for me, so I had plenty of vegetarian protein, but I sure didn't get any at school.

Quoting jessi2girls:

I don't mind it.. they still allow children to bring meals from home if they want.. and gives the children healthy foods..

my only concern is how well they monitored this to make sure the children are eating the healthy balanced diet that is served to them.. there is no point in having a plate of tufo carrot sticks and an apple if all they eat is the apple and carrots and not the tofu.. there is then little to no protien for them there.. 

by Ruby Member on May. 1, 2013 at 11:48 PM
They still do that. On the few days my son eats school lunch, he throws away his milk. He's lactose intolerant but they have to give it to him anyway because I never sent an allergy notice to the cafeteria (its not an allergy and no dairy is too strict since he can have some cheese. He knows what he can have). The only alternative is juice which he doesn't like. He's all "what is wrong with plain water? Why won't they let me have a bottle of water?!"

Quoting Anonymous:

Interesting. It's funny how times have changed. I remember buying school lunch and asking the lunch lady to not put meat on my plate. She refused and said she had to give me the meat whether or not I ate it was up to me.

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