Ginger Zee's 'Food Forecast':

Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian

Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian
.

View photo

Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian (ABC News)

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 ABCNews.com. "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 100 percent 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.

View Comments (2056)

Recommended for You

  • Aerial Footage Shows Italian Town Devastated by Earthquake

    Drone footage that captures the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Italy today shows the contrast between the chaos in one hard hit town and the serenity of the sprawling countryside beside it.The video pans from the affected area -- where some roofs are caved in, some buildings are destroyed and…

    Good Morning America15 mins ago
  • American University Under Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan

    The American University of Afghanistan in Kabul is under assault, as security forces exchange gunfire with the attackers. The number of students and professors inside are unknown, as is the identity of the attackers. The attackers managed to enter Noor Hospital, adjacent to the school, according…

    Good Morning America13 mins ago
  • Dozens Killed, Widespread Damage After Strong Quake in Central Italy

    Dozens of people were killed in a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy early Wednesday as most residents were sleeping in their homes. At least 73 people have been killed, with the majority of the fatalities in the Lazio region, according to Italy's Civil Protection Department. …

    Good Morning America13 mins ago
  • Bella Thorne Reveals She's Bisexual, Thanks Fans for Their Support

    Every once in a while, social media lifts celebrities up, rather than tearing them down.Bella Thorne experienced one of those miraculous moments Tuesday after she responded to a tweet questioning her sexuality.After a photo of Thorne, 18, kissing a girl surfaced earlier this month, a follower…

    Good Morning America44 mins ago
  • Seal Hops Aboard Boat to Avoid Hungry Killer Whales

    Kirk Fraser was out whale watching with family when he captured an incredible moment on camera, a seal scrambling onto his boat to escape killer whales. Fraser says they saw the seal's head pop up above the water and initially thought it was injured. Fraser said he was concerned the whales would…

    Good Morning America51 mins ago
  • Prince William, Princess Kate Visit Mental Health Charities

    Prince William and Princess Kate shone a spotlight on mental health and suicide this morning, visiting mental health-focused charities in Bedfordshire, England, and spending time at a children’s hospice. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chatted with young people -- some of whom are recovering…

    Good Morning America
  • Follow Drake White as He Performs for Charity in 5 Cities Over 24 Hours

    Country singer Drake White invited ABC News to join him on his "Livin' the Dream, Givin' the Dream" tour Wednesday, as he visits five charities across the country in just 24 hours.White kicks off his journey bright and early Wednesday morning in New York City. He'll then makes stops in Dallas,…

    Good Morning America
  • Dolly Parton, Lisa Hannigan, Ed Harcourt And More Music Reviews

    Country legend Dolly Parton dropped a new album, as did former Damien Rice collaborator Lisa Hannigan. English singer Ed Harcourt released a dark, immensely gripping album and singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews decided to explore her country side. Experimental electronic musician Tobacco…

    Good Morning America
  • Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Dawes Helps Renovate Harlem Boys & Girls Club

    Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Dominique Dawes traded the balance beam for a hard hat recently as she helped renovate a Boys & Girls Clubs of America center in New York's Harlem neighborhood. Dawes, a mother of two, is a spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which provides…

    Good Morning America
  • First-Year Chicago Teacher Creates Catchy Rap Song to Welcome 4th-Grade Class

    A first-time teacher may have discovered a surefire way get students excited for the dreaded first day of school by creating a catchy rap song.Dwayne Reed, a fourth-grade teacher in Chicago, created a song to replace the typical "Welcome Back" newsletters the school gives out, the description on…

    Good Morning America
  • Pope Expresses 'Heartfelt Sorrow' For Italy Quake Victims

    Pope Francis replaced his weekly catechesis in St. Peter's Square with a heartfelt address on the unfolding tragedy after a severe earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday. "Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning there are children among the dead, I…

    Good Morning America
  • Nutritious and Delicious Back to School Lunch Ideas

    Schools are back in session across the country and that means parents are back in the kitchen preparing daily lunches for their kids.Lifestyle expert Sandra Lee appeared on "Good Morning America" today with recipe ideas for lunch meals that will keep kids excited about eating and well-fueled for a…

    Good Morning America
  • Donald Trump Says He Would Meet With Mexico's President

    Donald Trump has said that he would meet with the president of Mexico. During a town hall tonight with Fox News' Sean Hannity, the Republican nominee was asked about Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's recently saying he would meet with the next U.S. president, regardless of who it is. "I'd…

    Good Morning America
  • 1,500 American Floaters Rescued After Drifting Into Canada

    “A burst of rain and high winds prompted hundreds of event participants to seek shelter ashore in Sarnia, where they were assisted by Canada Border Services Agency, Sarnia Police and the Canadian Red Cross,” Carol Launderville, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Coast Guard, told ABC News in an emailed…

    Good Morning America
  • Donald Trump Suggests 'Softening' of Immigration Policies Possible

    Donald Trump indicated there could be a "softening" of his controversial immigration policies during a Fox News town hall moderated by Sean Hannity that taped earlier tonight. When asked by Hannity if there was "any part of the law" he would change to accommodate law-abiding immigrants who have…

    Good Morning America
  • Teen Accused of Rape Gets Probation; Survivor's Group Says Judge's Ruling May Deter Other Victims

    An 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting two high school classmates is facing two years of probation despite the district attorney's office's recommendation of two years in prison. David Becker, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent…

    Good Morning America
  • Feds Investigate Hack of The New York Times, Suspect Russian Operatives Are to Blame

    Federal authorities are investigating a series of cyberattacks on The New York Times and other U.S. media organizations, and they believe those web-based assaults were "probably" carried out by the same Russian hackers who recently infiltrated Democratic organizations, a source familiar with the…

    Good Morning America