A New York City public elementary school is one of the first in the United States to adopt an all-vegetarian menu. Our reaction? A step in the right direction!
After serving all-veggie lunches first 3 and then 4 times a week, P.S. 244 in Flushing, Queens, decided to go completely vegetarian. Principal Robert Groff said:
“We discovered early on that our kids were gravitating toward our vegetarian offerings, and we kept expanding the program to meet the demand.”
Reportedly, menu options at the school include tofu wraps, vegetarian chili, and black bean quesadillas with roasted potatoes. P.S. 244 has 400 students ranging from pre-K to third grade.
A spokesperson from PETA told the Wall Street Journal that this school may be the first vegetarian school in the whole United States. Cool, right?! I’m positive this development will lead to backlash from meat-lovers, as well as from Big Food, but personally, I think it’s great. I’m not a vegetarian (although I’ve dabbled in veganism), but as a health writer, I’m acutely aware that evidence continues to show that plant-based diets are healthier for people of all ages.
While serving only vegetarian food is probably cheaper for the school itself, it’s also probably much healthier for the children and better for the environment. Chicken fingers and cheesesteaks stick in my mind as classic school lunch fare—not that I ever ate them, I was super picky and basically only ate my mom’s homemade PB&J— and I think it’s awesome that this school is helping to reinvent the meaning of cafeteria food. Who knows, in fifteen or twenty years standard school fare might be hummus wraps and veggie stir-frys! And our rate of childhood obesity, which has skyrocketed in the past 30 years, would be all the better for it, I imagine.