Friday, October 17, 2008

Vegetarian School Lunch

I just had to post this one. I grew up vegetarian. I now eat chicken and fish, but I don't think I have ever had red meat. So, this story was particularly interesting to me. I brought cold lunch every day to school. Had I gone to this school, life would have been much easier! Hah!

From CNN: For many, the words "school lunch" summon images of greasy pizzas or "Mystery Meat Monday." Well, one school district is trying to change that. And they're having surprising success serving up vegetarian options.

Tofu dogs, black bean burger, soy chicken patties.. not a typical diet for more teens, but at a Berkmar Middle School in Lilburn Georgia the kids don't seem to care.

"I like the veggie chicken nuggets and the corn dogs here. I eat the grilled cheese sandwiches, and apples. Sometimes I eat the veggie burger," said one student.

Berkmar is just one of Gwinnett County's 110 schools that offer vegetarian options in the lunchline, and the kids are voting vegetarian at a surprise rate. "It's estimated 3% of teens are eating vegetarian, which is around 5,000 students for us," said the school administrator.

Some of the kids eat vegetarian for religious reasons, but many 10-12 year olds say they choose it for health reasons. "We went to the doctor and I was 10 pounds overweight. The doctor said that when I grow up I could die faster, my mom didn't like that so she started making more healthy food, and it made me lose those 10 pounds. I wanna stay healthier and have a healthy life," said one girl.

All in all, Gwinnett County schools have served close to 500 thousand vegetarian meals in the last year alone, and Karen Crawford hopes the habits they learn now will stay with them for a lifetime. "We know that nutrition profoundly affects how kids.. their ability to learn and grow and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and its important to teach them these lessons when they're young like this," said a nutritionist.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Maria said...

While I am not much of a meat eater myself, and I feel better when I don't consume large quantities of meat, I think that the premise that vegetarian is healthier no matter what is misleading. Over-processed foods, whether meat or soy, are not healthy. switching from chicken nuggets to veggie nuggets isn't the same as switching to raw vegetables and nuts. I'm not saying that all those switching are eating like that, but there are plenty of vegetarian junk food options available, so one needs to be careful to chose wisely. said...

Very true Maria, I agree.

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