By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Atlanta Public Schools students made room for legumes as part of their school lunch meals this week.
Thanks to National School Lunch Week, students enjoyed eating several different kinds of legumes, or beans, as they’re more commonly known. From baja bean salad, bean tacos and bean and vegetable quesadillas, to spicy black bean burgers and red beans and rice, APS students were given a choice of favorite peas or beans from which to select. Sponsored in partnership with Georgia Organics and the APS Nutrition Department, National School Lunch Week is designed to promote healthy menu choices and the importance of meatless menu options.
This year’s theme is “Make Room for Legumes.” A good source of complex carbohydrates and protein, legumes have very little fat, are protein rich, help lower blood pressure, and aids in preventing cancer and regulating blood glucose for diabetics.
“National School Lunch Week is designed to provide students with something new and creative by offering plant-based options,” said Angela Douge, R.D., regional compliance specialist and farm-to-school coordinator with the APS Nutrition Department. “Offering legumes helps broaden students’ perspective about eating something from Mother Nature that is not necessarily popular. Beans offer both the micro and macro nutrients you need.”
On Thursday, the red beans and rice selection was a big hit for students for Russell Kemp and other students at Morningside Elementary School.
“I like the taste of beans,” said Russell, who is in kindergarten. “I eat them at home.”
Assistant Principal Jacob Bland said “Make Room for Legumes” supports Morningside’s goal of providing healthy, nutritious options for students.
“I’m so happy that the district is leading the way to support not only our students, but also for what we are trying to accomplish at Morningside,” Bland said. “Having these options in the cafeteria (and our garden) supports our 2017 Green Ribbon school initiative. Not to mention, the red beans and rice were delicious.”