As the first school in the nation to go completely meatless, 400 students at New York City’s P.S. 244, the Active Learning Elementary School, are treated to eclectic fare that includes black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafels, and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce. “We’ve had a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it’s about healthy options,” says Principal Bob Groff.
“Because we teach them to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we’re doing, too.”
When the school opened in 2008, the cafeteria served vegetarian meals three days a week. “We started to try out recipes with small groups of students to see what they liked and didn’t like. It was a hit,” says Groff. All meals adhere to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, so students get plenty of nutrient- and protein-dense vegetables. Students are also welcome to pack their own lunches, including meat.