17 May 2011

SOAR charter school in Colorado gives meat an F

School lunches are notorious for being filled with fat, cholesterol, empty calories and as kids would say ickiness. From meaty tacos featuring the infamous grease drenched shells to whole milk cheese topped pizza with pools of oil so deep that scuba gear may be required to actually consume each slice. It’s enough to make anyone who has endured one of these lunches to shudder even if Ronald Reagan was president the last time you ate one—did I just age myself?

Well one charter school in Colorado is doing its part to change the stigma of the school lunch by eliminating meat, sugar and only offering minimally processed foods. Yes kids that means no soda and definitely no soggy taco meat.

SOAR, based in the Green Valley Ranch area of Denver, has become Colorado’s only all-vegetarian school. The lunch menu includes whole foods such as fruits and veggies (gasp!) and even though milk and cheese are still offered only low-fat organically produced varieties are made available for students.

Parents are permitted to pack lunches for their little ones that include meat and processed sugary treats but that is the only way junior will be getting his junk food on because the school won’t touch the stuff.

“Nobody is sneaking in candy bars, but sometimes kids do bring in foods that are not part of our policy,” Gianna Cassetta head of school at SOAR told EdNewsColorado.org. “Parents get confused. But most are very supportive. A few are ‘Oh my God, what will life be like without meat at lunch?’ It’s a process. But we work with you, and with encouragement and time, kids can become really good eaters.”

Can you imagine all of the side effects from kids eating whole plant-based foods instead of meat filled and processed junk? The reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure truly deserves an “Oh my God” from parents and students alike.

Next stop, an all-vegan school.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cleopold73