28 July 2011

Schools in Greenville County South Carolina nix hot dogs and nuggets for tofu

Elementary school children attending 11 Greenville County schools in South Carolina will no longer be munching on cafeteria staples such as pizza, chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

Instead the little tikes will be enjoying plant-based favorites like tofu, black bean burgers and gasp…fresh fruits and vegetables.

It not only sounds nutritious but delicious as well. But hey that’s coming from someone who already knows the joys of vegan cooking, not a picky child who is accustomed to munching on greasy slices of cafeteria pizza and deep fried corn dogs.

Well actually students attending last year’s test site for the healthy lunch program, A.J. Whittenberg Elementary, agree with my statement.

According to the Greenville News, approximately 82 percent approved of the new menu that features three main options: a healthy entrée with meat; a vegetarian entrée; and a soup/salad and bread bar.

Yes meat is still involved and dairy products appear on the new menu but this appears to be a major step in the right direction. Especially when you consider the food will be made from scratch.

Amazingly—but not surprisingly— cafeteria workers are being taught how to dice and cut vegetables. And we wonder why our childhood obesity problem has become an epidemic.

Thanks to grant money, 80 cafeteria workers will be attending two weeks of training at Greenville Technical College’s Culinary Institute of the Carolinas to prepare for a year of cooking, rather than re-heating.

Even more good news, officials plan to expand the program to every school in the county within the next few years.

To that I raise my marinated tofu sandwich with peppers and onions and say great job Greenville.

Eric Fortney | Facebook |@elfortney | email
Greenville, SC Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of This Dish Is Veg. In addition to editing all the articles that appear on the site, he maintains TDIV's active social media accounts. Along with his work at TDIV, Eric is a copy editor for an online media company and father of three daughters.

Photo credit: Katelyn Vajgrt