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Kayla Pasko Kayla Pasko

NYC Public Schools Are Going Vegan on Fridays

Mayor Eric Adams and the NYC Department of Education have made the decision to introduce more vegan options in schools across the city.

Beginning this month, NYC public schools are going vegan on Fridays. After successfully implementing Meatless Mondays in 2019 and Meatless Fridays in April 2021, NYC’s Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Education (DOE) made the decision to begin serving fully vegan meals in schools as a way to introduce students to healthy, nutritious foods and to create exposure to vegan options they might not see elsewhere.

“Plant-based options in schools means healthy eating and healthy living and improving the quality of life for thousands of New York City students,” Mayor Adams told VegOut. “Plant-based meals are delicious and nutritious, which is why I previously called for vegetarian and vegan options in schools. I’m thrilled to see that all students will now have access to healthy foods that will prevent debilitating health conditions.”

Vegan Lunches at NYC Public Schools

The vegan lunches at NYC public schools will feature items such as vegan veggie tacos served with crispy or soft tortillas and a salsa cup, seasoned broccoli, and carrot and lemon salad. The schools will also have plant-based daily offerings, like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, chickpea wraps, hummus and pretzels, and fresh fruit. While vegan meals will be the star of the menu on Fridays, there will still be an option to choose non-vegan menu items. In addition, milk will also still be served, which is required under federal USDA guidelines.

“The DOE is committed to the health and well-being of every child, and having a consistent, nourishing and filling meal each day is essential in ensuring students can succeed both inside and outside the classroom,” said Jenna Lyle, Associate Press Secretary at NYC DOE. “Following on the success of Meatless Monday and Fridays, we are excited to be expanding access to healthy and nutritious food options for NYC students with the phasing in of a vegan-focused menu on Fridays. Non-vegan menu items will be available upon request.”

Making Immune-Boosting Foods More Accessible to Everyone

The goal of Vegan Fridays is to accommodate the needs and wants of a growing vegetarian and vegan student population, while also making immune-boosting foods more accessible to everyone.

“Vegan Fridays will give every student in New York City Public Schools access to plant-based meals that taste great and are good for them, too!” said Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Giving students more immune-boosting fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans is now more important—and will also help set them up for a lifetime of good health.”

While nutrition in the food is important, the enjoyability of the meals also matters, which is why all products on NYC public school menus, including the vegan food options, have been taste-tested and approved by small groups of the students themselves.

The monthly menus for NYC public schools can be found on the DOE website and are available at the start of every month.

Kayla Pasko

@kaylapasko

Kayla, a Midwest girl living in NYC, is a writer with a background in media sales. When she’s not scoping out trendy vegan spots, she’s usually taking a yoga class, shopping at Trader Joe’s, or catching a Packers game.

Articles by Kayla

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