It's school lunch - like you've never seen before. An elementary school in New York has traded the chicken nuggets and other unhealthy entrees...for an all *vegetarian menu. ABC's Marci Gonzalez explains.
At first glance - it is like any other school cafeteria -
But here at PS 244 in Queens, New York, they're not servin' up... mystery meat. In fact...they've dropped meat from their menu...all together. This is the first public school - in the country - to serve only *vegetarian* options.
"It was never really initially about the vegetarianism as it was about helping them understand that there is more choices out there," said Bob Groff, Principal.
The idea - controversial at first.
"We've had people saying, ‘my kids are not vegetarians why do they have to eat vegetarian meals," said Michelle Trahan, a parent.
But the kids...Are eating it up.
"It tastes more than delicious," said a student.
"And this - has been the challenge for other schools that have started serving healthier food in their cafeterias. Their options...they didn't taste quite this good," said Marci Gonzalez, reporting.
When the national school lunch program started requiring participating schools to serve lower-calorie meals last year some students - revolted at the results
Some school districts- backed out of the program - saying they were losing tens of thousands of dollars in food - students refused to eat.
But at PS 244 - the secret to getting students to actually like healthy food isn't just in the recipes.
"This is a wrap that has corn and cheese inside," said students at PS 244.
It's in education...with weekly classes teaching students about making nutritious choices...
"If we are eating something they'll say mommy is this healthy," said Trahan.
Since the switch to a vegetarian menu this Spring the school claims to have fewer students classified as overweight and obese higher test scores, and better attendance rates, but parents and teachers say the true purpose of this health push - is to reach kids early.
"Her age right now is when she's developing her taste buds," said Gen Ohkawa, Father of a PS 244 student.
Creating habits they hope will last a lifetime.
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