Schools adding meatless entrées to menus

Campuses offering healthier options

SAN ANTONIO – From picky eaters to those on a special diet, campus lunches are not what they used to be.

In New York City, PS 244 has dumped all meat from the menu. It's the first public school in America to serve only vegetarian options.

It was a bit controversial at first.

"We've had people saying, ‘my kids are not vegetarians – why do they have to eat vegetarian?" said parent Michelle Trahan.

Schools across the country were tasked with serving up tasty food that met the National School Lunch Program Standards. Districts abandoned the program, saying students refused to eat the meals. PS 244 found the secret to getting students to like healthy food isn't just what's happening in the kitchen. They're also holding weekly classes to teach students about making healthy choices.

"If we are eating something, they'll say, ‘Mommy, is this healthy?" Trahan said.

The school switched to a vegetarian menu in early 2013. Since then, the school said fewer students have been classified as overweight and obese. On the academic side, test scores and attendance rates have improved.

Some San Antonio-area districts have also adjusted their menus.

Scott Stephens, Comal Independent School District's director of child nutrition, does not have vegan or gluten-free options. It does have vegetarian items including:

  • yogurt with string cheese
  • macaroni with cheese
  • cheese enchiladas
  • cheese pizza
  • grilled cheese with tomato soup
  • meatless chef salad

Northside Independent School District said it offers meatless entrées including:

  • cheese pizza
  • cheese enchiladas
  • entrée salads
  • grilled cheese
  • yogurt
  • soy milk

The district said it is expanding its list of meatless items for next year.
Students can also make their meals vegan by choosing up to two fruits, two vegetables, grain items and milk or a milk substitute.