New York City Public School Goes Vegetarian!

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New York City Public School Goes Vegetarian!

Post by  on Wed May 01, 2013 8:40 am

Queens school goes all-vegetarian, in a first

By YOAV GONEN Education Reporter / Reprint NY Post:

Say so long to sloppy Joes and chicken fingers!
A Queens elementary school has become the first traditional public school in the
country to serve all vegetarian all the time, replacing lunchroom
legends like meatloaf with organic tofu, spinach wraps and couscous.
Education officials say PS 244 in Flushing was the natural choice to pioneer a
meat- and fish-free menu because it has incorporated healthy living and
eating into its academics for years.

And with much of its population hailing from East Asian countries,
the diverse elementary school is home to plenty of already-committed
vegetarians. “My favorite food has to be rice and beans with
mashed potatoes — but not the ones with a lot of salt. The ones with a
lot of protein and nutrition,” said third-grader Simran Puri, a
9-year-old who welcomed the menu modifications.
“It’s much more healthier,” she added. “It helps to make our bodies stronger.”
Yesterday’s inaugural meal — which schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott sampled
alongside dozens of kids — consisted of black bean and cheddar
quesadillas served with salsa, red roasted potatoes and steamed
broccoli. Students were also given a choice of an orange or a banana.
While the food was well received, not all the kids were wild about having
their meat consumption restricted to grandpa’s chicken wings or mom’s
home-cooked fish. “The beef and meat is pretty good [at school],”
said 9-year-old Mavis Li, a third-grader. “I already miss the meat we
had a few months ago.” School officials said that parents have
been consulted every step of the way and that the school began by
piloting an all-vegetarian menu three days of the week.
Parents still have the option of packing meaty offerings into their kids’ lunch boxes.
“It’s been received very well; that’s why there’s so much excitement about
it,” said Amie Hamlin, director of the school’s partner, the NY
Coalition for Healthy School Food. She said a handful of private
schools and public charter schools in the country have all vegetarian
menus, but this is the first known foray by a traditional public school.
“We’ve already been approached by other [interested] schools,” said Hamlin.
To make sure kids aren’t scared off by bland, plant-based cafeteria
entrees, PS 244 has been serving as a test-kitchen for the school system
to help spice things up.

The pint-sized food critics convinced
school chefs to ditch the big, square block of unseasoned tofu and
instead serve smaller cubes seasoned with jerk sauce and paired with
noodles. “Sometimes, they make something I don’t like, like
carrots. I don’t like tomato,” said 6-year-old first-grader Diego
Figueroa. “[But] it’s good. I don’t like to eat meat a lot.”
For kids who object to the daintier dishes, childhood staples such as
PB&J sandwiches or the simple but sturdy cheese sandwich are offered
as daily alternatives.
Additionally, Fridays are now a weekly
pizza party at PS 244, which will serve New York-style pizza slices,
pizza bagels and French-bread pizza.

Join date : 1969-12-31

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