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Manhattan School Cuts The Fat; Urges Others To Join

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Some city officials and parents want schools to stop serving meat on Mondays, saying it could be good for the environment, help kids get healthier and save the Department of Education a few bucks. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Pasta, veggie burgers, apples, oranges and salad. It's a typical Monday spread at the East Village Community School, all of which is vegetarian.

"It's kind of fun that we don't have any meat in our schools on that one day," said East Village Community School student Maizy Greenberg.

The three schools in the building are among the first in the city to adopt Meatless Mondays -- a public health initiative from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The school is named, as one might guess, for the mayor who's been a major donor. The idea is to teach kids about healthy, plant-based food options.

Health officials say it's good for the kids' health and good for the planet, since industrial meat production may be one of the causes of climate change.

"There is a need for students to be healthy and parents know that and we have some very active parents who are interested as much as the staff, to provide good nutritional options for students," said East Village Community School principal Robin Williams.


"Teaches kids to be more careful what they eat and be more thoughtful and be more green," said East Village Community School student Alexia Siebers.

Parents whose children attend the school said it was easy to make the change.

"We looked at the menus and said why are these children eating meat everyday? It's really not healthy for them and it's not environmentally conscious to do this and we asked our school's food manager, who was there at our meeting, can we have meatless Mondays and they said yes," Children's Workshop School parent Elizabeth Puccini.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the whole public school system has gone meatless on Mondays -- something Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer would like to see adopted in New York City.

"One out of five kindergartners in this city are overweight, meaning that already that starting out their lives they are classified as obese. And the reason is because their diet is leading them to an unhealthy lifestyle and we want to change that," Stringer said.

The DOE's office of school food said Monday it's reviewing the idea of starting each week without meat in every cafeteria in the city.

Meanwhile, parents at East Village Community School are urging individual schools to consider going vegetarian on Mondays.

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