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New York City’s Peck Slip School (PS343) in lower Manhattan recently announced that it’s taken meat off the cafeteria menu, making it the second public school in New York City to serve all-vegetarian fare to students.
In the spring of 2013, Public School 244 in Queens launched the first all-veg menu in the city’s public school system and by the next semester it was declared a huge success with student test scores improving as well as increased energy levels and attention spans.
While Peck Slip School is now publicizing its meatless menu this week, school officials say they’ve been serving their students – kindergarten through second-grade – all-vegetarian meals since the fall of 2013.
According to Principal Maggie Sienna: “We decided to implement the vegetarian menu because of the health benefits of a diet including more legumes, vegetables and whole grains and our concerns about the environmental impact of meat production. As it turns out, the vegetarian dishes are pretty delicious, too — we are seeing more kids trying and liking chickpeas, brown rice and whole wheat pasta — kale salad was a huge hit.”
With nationwide childhood obesity rates reaching unprecedented levels, it’s encouraging that cafeterias are starting to swap the greasy cafeteria “mystery” meatloaf and fatty chicken nuggets out for healthier protein-packed plant-based options.
And it doesn’t stop there. Last month, New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal introduced a Meatless Monday Resolution aimed at empowering all city residents to choose healthier and more humane foods, setting a positive example for the nation.