Blocked by the courts from banning big sodas in the Big Apple, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has zeroed in on another target in a quest for healthier lifestyles: Meat.
Public School 244 in the Flushing section of New York’s Queens borough has gone vegan — the first public school in the nation to serve only vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch.
Cafeteria workers at Active Learning Elementary School have switched out poultry for black beans, tofu and falafel. And the New York Daily News reported the students actually like it.
“This is so good,” said 9-year-old Marian Satti of a black bean and cheddar cheese quesadilla served at Tuesday’s lunch, the Daily News said. “I’m enjoying that it didn’t have a lot of salt in it.”
School heads — led by Chancellor Dennis Walcott, a self-claimed fitness guru — tout the healthier eating as pro-kid. Healthy kids make happy students, administrators said in the Daily News report.
“I don’t eat fried foods. I don’t drink soda. I try not to have sweets too often,” Walcott said in the report. “And that’s what we want for our students … to make sure they eat healthy both at home and school.”
The school’s switch to vegan comes amid a years-long drive by Bloomberg to improve health choices of city residents.
He’s banned smoking in bars, beaches and city parks. He’s also forced restaurants to post calorie counts and banned the use of trans fats.
He gained legislative approval earlier this year to cap fountain soda drinks at 16 ounces, but the courts recently halted the decree.
In city schools, Bloomberg has pushed most to only serve whole-grain breads and pastas, the Daily News said. And 1,000 of them now offer salad bars.
Plans to offer salad options at all 1,800 city schools are in the works and expected to be fixtures by the end of next year, the Daily News reported.