The old adage “you are what you eat” is more than just a phrase our parents used to recite whenever our younger selves were going a little overboard with candy and snack food. Our bodies are like machines and like any piece of equipment (pardon the objectifying language for the sake of this example), they require not only regular maintenance in whatever form of exercise best suits us but also the right kind of fuel. This is especially true of the growing minds and bodies of the children who will one day lead the way.
In recent years, plant-based eating has become one of the most-talked-about “diets” in the nutrition world. Concerns range from how to get enough calcium without milk to how to make sure you’re eating enough protein. As more and more people choose to eschew the Standard American Diet (SAD) in favor of plant-based diets, we are also seeing an impact on the younger generation. While healthy vegan kids snacks would have been niche in the 1990’s, today, fruit snacks made from real fruit and fresh veggie snacks are taking over. Schools, too, are starting to get serious about providing kids with healthy foods.
Reported by Grub Street, P.S. 1 in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood has become the first public school in Brooklyn to go meat-free. Currently, all city schools offer hummus and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as plant-based options for students, but P.S. 1 has chosen to take meat off the menu entirely, joining two other schools. According to The Daily Meal, students at meat-free schools have options such as lentil sloppy Joes, braised black beans with plantains, and teriyaki crunchy tofu.
The switch came about thanks to the help of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a non-profit that partnered with the Department of Education’s Office of School Food in order to provide plant-based options for students in public schools. According to Amie Hamlin, director of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, more schools are expressing interest in having vegetarian menus. What may surprise you is that in the case of P.S. 1, it was the students who made the argument to leave meat off the menu. According to principal Arlene Ramos, “My students have expressed an interest in healthier eating, and the school gave them the option to choose this menu.” But it isn’ so strange that students are hungry for change. Teenage activist Lila Copeland, for example, has been a strong proponent of bringing vegan menus to two California school districts. Earlier this year, she finally succeeded. We hope to see more young minds making the case for plant-based food in schools.
Eating the right kind of food is important not only to growing minds and bodies, but to adults as well. To learn more about how to make sure you’re eating a healthy plant-based diet, read The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. Of course, no two bodies are the same, so before you make any drastic changes, be sure to do your research and consult your health professional, if needed.
If you’re looking for more delicious and seasonal plant-based recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
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