At the beginning of this school year, all 1,200 schools in the New York City public school district will now offer at least one vegan lunch option for students.
What’s on the menu?
The menu options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — which sound much more delicious and nutritious than the typical school lunch offerings we’re used to. Not only are the new lunch menu’s healthier and tastier, these new lunch options have a much lower carbon footprint too. In fact, a Friends of the Earth (FOE) study found that if every school district in the U.S. adopted this type of food policy, it would be equivalent to taking “150,000 cars off the road every year.”
Students will now be able to choose hummus for lunch, with several schools adding more creative vegan options such as Mexicali Chili, Lentil Stew, Lentil Sloppy Joes, Braised Black Beans with Plantains, and Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu.
The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF) is behind the new initiative and, to date, has worked with the city’s department of education to help three NYC schools—Active Learning Elementary School in Queens (PS244), Peck Slip School in Manhattan (PS343), and The Bergen Elementary School (PS1) in Brooklyn—to transition to an all-vegetarian menu.
PS1 Principal Arlene Ramos revealed that students asked for healthier, meatless options and that she is proud to be able to introduce the new vegan menu. Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams—who adopted a vegan diet last October to conquer his type 2 diabetes—supports the menu update.
“It is particularly exciting to learn that this is a youth-driven initiative,” Adams told VegNews.
“Our children understand that a healthy meal is the best fuel for a quality education, and I am pleased to work with CHSF as we advance a wholesome whole-food vision for our youngest Brooklynites and their families.”
New York is not the first city to launch a vegan lunch programme, as earlier this year, seven schools in the Los Angeles School District launched vegan lunch programmes, which have glowing reviews from students.