New York City public school students are getting a taste of life under the new Adams administration. Starting this week, city schools will debut “Vegan Fridays” with an inaugural meal of veggie tacos, broccoli, and carrot and lemon salad.
The city is phasing in the shift and plans to offer cheese sandwiches as a backup; officials said non-vegan items will be available by request. One school indicated that vegan breakfasts will consist of bagels and jelly, and cereal. Beverages appear to be exempt from the new rule, and milk will still be offered.
Adams, a proud and vocal vegan, promised to make school meals, which are free to the 930,000 students, healthier during his mayoral campaign.
“Plant-based options in schools means healthy eating and healthy living, and improving the quality of life for thousands of New York City students,” he said in a statement.
Adams supported a pilot project in Brooklyn that became the basis for citywide Meatless Mondays in 2019. Meatless Fridays followed last spring.
“The earlier in life that we can establish healthful eating habits, the better,” said Eugenia Gianos, Director of Cardiovascular Prevention for Northwell Health and Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital. “I see our young people struggle with overweight, obesity and even diabetes at younger and younger ages. Research shows that plant-based diets help people achieve a healthy weight, so I applaud this positive step.”
Adams said that after converting to a vegan diet in 2016, he was able to reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes, including loss of vision in his left eye and nerve damage in his extremities. He wrote a book, published in 2020, called, “Healthy at Last: A Plant-Based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses.”
The menu for the following Friday, February 11th, will feature Mediterranean chickpeas, served with rice or pasta. roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and spinach and cranberry salad. (Full February menu here.)