Remember when you were in elementary school and your mom forgot to pack your lunch, so you were forced to eat the dreaded cafeteria food. Seriously, that slab of gray mystery “meat” still haunts our dreams. While the memory of school lunch might not sit so well with us, for the students at The Peck Slip School in New York City, lunch just took a turn for the magnificent.

Like a handful of other schools, The Peck Slip School has decided to swap out their regular menu for an entirely vegetarian lunch spread. Although the school as been serving all vegetarian meals since 2013, they just announced their official meatless menu.

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P.S. 244, in Flushing, Queens, the first public NYC school to go vegetarian, opted for a meat-free menu to help teach their students about what it means to eat a nutritious balanced diet. While this is certainly part of Peck Slip’s goal for their new meal plan, their motivation for going veg extends far beyond that.

“We decided to implement the vegetarian menu because of the health benefits of a diet including more legumes, vegetables and whole grains and our concerns about the environmental impact of meat production,” principal Maggie Siena said in a statement.

As we learn more and more about how livestock production negatively impacts the planet, it would seem that lowering or eliminating our consumption of animal products would be in our best interest. In fact, we can all half our carbon footprints by simply leaving meat off our plates.

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Learning about how food choices can impact the environment is a very important lesson for children growing up in this day and age. While we may have never given a second thought to the environmental consequences of our diet’s in the past, we are faced with the reality that the planet simply cannot sustainable a population of heavy meat eaters. We are so pleased to see The Peck Slip School considering these important factors in their decision to implement a meat-free lunch menu.

Not to mention, introducing children to a whole food plant-based diet at a young age can set them up to be more health conscious into adulthood. With delicious options like Kung Pao Tofu and Lentil Chili, The Peck Slip School’s new menu is sure to make everyone happy.

So, the only question we have left about this awesome new program is … when can we stop by for lunch?

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Image source: Amanda Kreuger/Flickr