Newly elected NYC mayor, Eric Adams, is starting a new initiative inside the New York City Public system is called vegan Fridays. The program will see K-12 students eating vegan meals one day a week. The mayor says that the policy will improve the health and “quality of life” of many students in the city. There's are more than 1 million students in over 1,700 public schools across NYC.
Adams won the mayoral vote back in November, he became the city's second African American and first vegan mayor in doing so. He started a plant-based diet in 2016, for health reasons to reverse his diabetes diagnosis.
Adams spoke about the school meal plan in an interview at Fox 5's Good Day New York last week. He explained that he is an ambassador for healthy food and that NYC children should not continually be fed with food that will cause them a health hazard such as childhood obesity, childhood diabetes, and asthma among many others. He strongly affirmed that the system should not be feeding the crises.
Many different studies have found the link between vegan diets and a lowered risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
On the other hand, researchers found that meat might increase the risk of those diseases.
A healthier diet is not new to the public system, back in 2019, NYC's Department of Education introduced Meatless Mondays at all public schools in the city. And last in April Meatless Fridays started the rotation too.
Mayor Adams said:
The school meal guidelines impact more than children's health, the mayor noted. “We have to do a better job in the food that we serve and we have to move away from our fixation on the products that are also destroying our environment,” Adams explained. “That is often not talked about. We talk about fossil fuel, we talk about ‘we need electric vehicles.' No one is talking about the plate.
“The plate is not only destroying mother nature, it is destroying our mothers and our children as well.”
Non-vegan options (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) will be available on request under the new policy. However, schools will still offer regular milk with every meal as per the current guidelines.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated the country's school nutrition standards – specifically, its milk, sodium, and whole-grain recommendations. There they stipulate that schools and childcare providers can only offer low-fat or non-fat cow's milk to “put children's health at the forefront,” the organization says.
This is extremely important knowing that students consume their main and healthiest meals at school.