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New York City Schools Introduce More Veggie-Forward Lunch Options With Vegan Fridays

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Put down the pizza and burgers. More veggie-forward meals are on the menu for K-12 students in New York City.

As CBS2's Leah Mishkin reported Thursday, public schools are introducing Vegan Fridays in addition to Meatless Mondays.

The new initiative kicks-off Feb. 4 with vegan veggie tacos for lunch at high schools.

"They already have a vegan option, so why should they force everybody to go vegan on Fridays if there is a vegan option?" said Elijah Frechtman, a senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School.

The New York City Department of Education said students can still request non-vegan food options and milk.

"I think it's great," said Mei Van Der Schans, a mom of two.

Van Der Schans said her family is vegetarian about half the time.

"I try to give them a variety, a diversity of food, flavors, vegetarian, vegan. There's some meat nights," she said.

Mayor Eric Adams, who is vegan, said the initiative is a way to expose kids to healthier food.

On Fridays in February, students will experience Mediterranean chickpeas served with rice or pasta, and black beans and plantain rice bowls.

"In one voice, we talk about fighting childhood obesity, diabetes. Yet you go into a school building every day and you see the food that feeds our health care crisis," Adams said. "I am going to do the best I can to give them the options of a more healthier diet."

The DOE said this will build on the success of Meatless Mondays with a nutritious menu sampled and approved by students.

Mayor Adams has spoken many times about how being vegan changed his life. He credits the plant-based died with reversing his diabetes diagnosis.

CBS2's Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.

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