Queens School Goes Vegetarian with School Lunches

P.S. 224 in Flushing Queens is the first of the city’s schools to go veggie. This Flushing school is now serving an all vegetarian menu that consists of items such as braised black beans and plantains,tofu roasted in Asian sesame sauce, falafel and cucumber salad. P.S. 224 began phasing out meat gradually but has now gone totally meet free. The schools population primarily consists of an Asian and Indian population so making the transition was simpler than most considering it’s cultural similarity. “We created PS 244 based on a principle of a healthy lifestyle and academic achievement,” Principal Robert Groff, one of the school’s founders, said. “We discovered early on that our kids were gravitating toward our vegetarian offerings, and we kept expanding the program to meet the demand. The vegetarian menu fits right in with our mission and we are thrilled that our students in Pre-Kindergarten all the way up to Grade 3 understand the importance of healthy and nutritious meals.”[like_to_read]

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food has partnered with PS244 and the Office of SchoolFood since 2009. At the time, the Coalition introduced its Cool School Food Program, which includes the development and introduction of plant-based entrée recipes. In 2012, the partnership created a vegetarian lunch menu that is healthy, low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and high in fiber. Amie Hamlin, Executive Director of New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, said,  “Plant-based, nutrient-dense options help students do better in school, and reduce global warming.”

There is a powerful impact of whole foods plant-based nutrition on disease prevention and learning, and we hope that P.S. 224 is the first of many to adopt this menu.