A School Cafeteria With No Chicken Fingers Or Meatballs? Hmm . .

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Unless you are a vegetarian, the concept of a cafeteria with no meat, probably evokes images of broccoli (eww) and spinach (yuck). However, ask the kids at Active Learning Elementary School in Flushing, New York and they will tell you that it's much more than that. They would know because their school cafeteria offers only vegetarian food!

And if you think that the kids are moaning and groaning about losing all the mystery meat, think again - They are all giving it a big thumbs up! The East Coast public school, which is the first in the US to make this 'radical' change, says that they began offering healthier vegetarian options about three years ago, when they noticed students avoiding the cafeteria and instead, bringing in their own vegetarian lunches.

They began by going meatless just three days a week about a year and a half ago, and then gradually shifted to four, before going all out in January 2013. However, along the way they did something most organizations making drastic changes often forget to do - Get the opinion of the kids and tweak the menu, based on the feedback.

In case you are wondering what a 'yummy' vegetarian menu comprises of, here are a few examples of what the students get to choose from - Fluffy egg omelet with melted cheese on a New York-style bagel or Waffles with warm syrup and string cheese, for breakfast, black bean and cheddar quesadilla with salsa, red roasted potatoes and broccoli or roasted organic tofu with cacciatore sauce, whole-grain pasta and roasted zucchini, for lunch.

In all fairness, the fact that Active Learning's student body which is 85% Asian and 10% Hispanic is accustomed to vegetarian and ethnic foods, made this transition a lot easier. But given the growing diversity in American schools and the push to offer healthier cuisine we would not be surprised to see the concept adopted by other public schools maybe one or two days a week.

Would you be open to at least trying it for a short period of time or would the idea of losing chicken fingers and pepperoni pizza be just inconceivable? Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.

Resources: CNN.com, upi.com

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748 Comments
  • wolfy_blue
    wolfy_blueover 1 year
    Uhh....my schools food stinks (as in bad) all the food that my school is serving is not real and why would the other schools do the same??or really any school?
    • gold3nglare
      gold3nglareover 1 year
      My school's food is not fresh. we don't even have real meat. Plus our school showed up in a video talking about the top 10 schools with the worst lunch.
      • Darkniteover 3 years
        It’s not nice
        • wolfdog
          wolfdogover 3 years
          They're forcing children to eat vegan food! Why!
          • wolfdog
            wolfdogover 3 years
            This 'lunch' does not even have nearly all the protein and vitamins found in meat, or even a monitored vegan diet. Also, potatoes aren't a very healthy choice, sweet potatoes are better. The only thing I can find decent in the dish is the orange and the milk. They have to eat an unbalanced diet 5/7 days a week? Hm. This is actually more unhealthy than meat if you really think about it.
            • playstationxmas
              There's tofu, zucchini, beans... And if potatoes aren't a very healthy choice, then why did was there a whole episode about them on the Jazzy Vegetarian, which is a show all about healthy eating?
            • meat is gr8over 3 years
              we need meat dairy veggies and grains and oats but i would try the quesdila and the omlet they sound kinda good i am hungry now
              • black littleover 3 years
                INCONEIVABLE!!!
                • and youalmost 4 years
                  I personaly think that is good because they are teaching the kids that you don't need meat for lunch all the time
                  • wolfdog
                    wolfdogalmost 4 years
                    No support. Vegetables do not hold one thing: Iron. Iron helps the body make oxygen for red blood cells and virtually the entire body. Without it, you will be fatigue and sluggish. Meat holds much more iron than most veggies, especially steak and pork. We also cannot consume vegetables everyday, nor meat everyday, and must have a balanced diet. People are omnivores, not herbivores. It is also impossible to stop a millon people from eating meat, eggs/fish are also meat. Farms are still in produce, and are very valuable in 3rd world countries. Sorry vegetarians!
                    • Annalmost 4 years
                      Do people in the comments not realize that you can get your protein from nuts, beans, meat replacements, and even some vegetables? And meat leads to heart diesease and some cancers, so being vegetarian/vegan is much healthier.