Entries in Cafeteria (3)


Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City elementary school cafeteria is one of the first in the nation to go meatless.

Students at P.S. 244, the Active Learning Elementary School, are being treated to eclectic fare, including black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafel and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce.

“It’s been a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it’s about what is the healthiest option for them,” principal Bob Groff told ABC News. “Because we teach them throughout our curriculum to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we’re doing too.”

When the school opened in 2008, they started serving vegetarian meals three days a week. The campus became a vegetarian test kitchen for the city, Groff said.

“We then started to try out recipes with small groups of students, see what they liked, see what they didn’t like,” he said.

The recipes were a hit, Groff said, prompting the school to expand its meat-free meals to four days a week and then adopting a completely vegetarian kitchen in January.

“The big thing I would like people to know is, this isn’t just about a vegetarian menu,” Groff said. ”It’s about living a healthy lifestyle and educating students on what options are out there.”

All meals have to adhere to USDA standards, he said, making sure students get plenty of nutrients, including protein, for their growing bodies.

That means nutrient-dense foods such as chickpeas, kidney beans and tofu.

If the herbivore-friendly grub doesn’t suit students, Groff said they’re always welcome to pack their lunch, including meat.

The school operates on an application and lottery system, meaning it’s not zoned to a particular neighborhood. It serves 400 students from pre-kindergarten through grade three.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Texas College Cafeteria Goes Vegan

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DENTON, Texas) -- The Big Texan, an Amarillo, Texas landmark, has been serving 72-ounce steaks to customers since the early 1960s.  Now, a few hundred miles to the east, some Texas college students are going all vegan.

The University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton opened an all-vegan, full-service cafeteria on its campus last week, prompting applause from animal-rights activists, environmentalists and, of course, vegan students on campus.  Although college campuses around the nation have been offering vegan choices for several years, UNT’s cafeteria appears to be the first exclusively vegan venue.

The menu eschews animal products, like meat, milk, and eggs, and instead features vegetarian soups, paninis and vegetarian sushi.  The university’s dining services reports that so far, many of the students who eat there aren’t necessarily vegan, but just want to eat healthy.

These students aren’t alone.  A 2004 survey of college students by food service provider Aramark showed that one of every four students surveyed wanted vegan meal options on college campuses.

Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said it makes sense that college students would want to explore new diets.

“Lots of young people experiment,” Ayoob said.  “They do it with booze, drugs...why not a new way of eating?”

At first glance, going vegan seems far healthier than the typical college student diet.  But dietitians warn that meals missing animal fats aren’t necessarily more nutritious.

Connie Diekman, director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said that students who don’t choose their fruits and vegetables wisely may be missing out on key vitamins and nutrients, like protein, iron and vitamin B12.

“Vegetarian eating, and the vegan aspect, can be very nutritious if people are educated to make the right choices to meet their nutritional needs,” Diekman said.

And students still need to watch their intake of sugars, refined starch and oils, which are still included in vegan foods.

“Simply eating a vegan diet doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be eating better,” Ayoob said.  “There can be vegan junk food, too.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


USDA to Announce Healthier New School Lunch Guidelines

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce Thursday the first new school lunch guidelines in 15 years.

Throughout that time span, childhood obesity rates in the country have continued to rise.

"The more we can reinforce the right set of choices and encourage the right set of choices, the greater the chances are that we will get a handle on obesity," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told ABC News.

The new guidelines, which are based on an Institute of Medicine study, will call for a reduction in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.  Schools will be required to serve more whole grains, as well as serving both fruits and vegetables daily.  And, for the first time, schools will have to set maximum calorie counts in addition to minimum ones.

Here's an example of a current school lunch:

-- Breaded beef patty on a roll
-- Fruit popsicle
-- Low-fat milk

And here's what a meal might look like under the new rules:

-- Baked fish nuggets
-- Whole wheat roll
-- Mashed potatoes
-- Broccoli
-- Peaches
-- Skim milk´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio