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School Breakfast Meal Pattern Requirements

The School Nutrition Program School Breakfast Meal Pattern Requirements online training.

Course Description

This training describes how breakfast relates to children's health and achievement, the benefits of eating breakfast, and the daily and weekly requirements for a reimbursable breakfast. A variety of types of breakfast service is included as well as resources to provide and promote nutritious school breakfasts.

  • Course Number: 131
  • Training Length: 30 minutes
  • Certificate: Available at the end of the training
  • Target Audience: Food Service Director and Staff
  • Mandatory: No
  • Cost: Free
  • Date Recorded: October 2019

Online Course

Please note that this training reflects the 2018 final meal pattern rule which codified three menu planning flexibilities for milk, whole grains and sodium in the National School Breakfast Program (SBP). Note that effective July 1, 2022, Child Nutrition Program Operators are required to follow the Final Rule on Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium as follows:

Whole grain-rich

  • For grades K-12, at least 80 percent of all grains offered weekly in school breakfast must be whole grain-rich. The remaining 20 percent or less of grains, if any, must be enriched. Preschoolers must be offered whole grain-rich foods at least once per day.

Flavored Milk

Program Operators may offer flavored fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk as part of the reimbursable meal for children in grades K-12.

Please note that California has stricter rules pertaining to milk under competitive food rules specifically that only 1 percent (unflavored only) or nonfat (flavored or unflavored) is allowed when sold to students on campus.

Sodium Limits

For School Year 2022-23 and 2023-24 the weekly sodium limit for school breakfast will remain at the current level, known as Sodium Target 1.

Sodium limits apply to the average meal offered during the school week. It does not apply daily or per-meal.

Refer to the California Department of Education (CDE) Breakfast Meal Pattern (Grades K–12) web page for the most up-do-date information on the meal pattern requirements.

Begin the School Breakfast Meal Pattern Requirements course.

Referenced Resources

The following resources are referred to throughout this online course:


  • Crediting: 0.50 Hours
  • Key Area: Nutrition (1000)
    • Training Topic: Menu Planning (1100)
      • Learning Objective: Analyze Menus (1150)

For more information on crediting, access the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) web document Professional Standards Learning Objectives External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

Additional Information

For more information about nutrition education training and resources, visit the CDE Healthy Eating and Nutrition Education web page.

General Resources

  • The CDE's NSLP and SBP Meal Patterns web page

  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Weekly Nutrient Calculator External link opens in new window or tab. (XLSX), an Excel spreadsheet that is designed to average your weekly dietary specifications offered over the course of a week and is based on weighted averages. The spreadsheet is similar to the USDA Simplified Nutrient Assessment Tool, but is upgraded to work off of your planned menu for your planned quantity. Therefore, you will have a weighted average for the week. This tool does not replace the USDA approved nutrient analysis software. It is only a tool that you can use if you do not have nutrient analysis, but want to see where you are at, especially with sodium levels.

  • No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices web page External link opens in new window or tab. provides the tools and resources needed to help elected officials and their staff, educators, and community leaders achieve success in fighting childhood hunger. Learn what works in the fight against childhood hunger and discover toolkits, case studies, hunger stats, issue briefs, reports, and more.

  • Action for Healthy Kids Breakfast for Healthy Kids web page External link opens in new window or tab. provides resources including marketing materials, webinars, and helpful facts about school breakfast programs to help sell breakfast to administrators.

  • Food Research and Action Center School Breakfast Scorecard External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) a report that indicates that school breakfast participation continues to rise, but did not grow fast enough to meet the urgent need of eligible, low-income children to receive a healthy breakfast every day.

  • USDA Energize Your Day with School Breakfast web page External link opens in new window or tab. provides a collection of digital resources that program operators and other stakeholders may use to establish or expand the breakfast service within their school. Includes modules on getting started, implementing, and marketing school breakfast.

  • USDA SBP Marketing web page External link opens in new window or tab. will help you develop a promotion plan for your SBP. It includes fun ideas to make the program more appealing to students and parents, strategies for approaching your marketing plan, and adaptable resources such as flyers, letters, public service announcements, newsletter inserts, newspaper articles, and information sheets.

  • USDA Nutrient Analysis Protocols: How to Analyze Menus for USDA’s School Meals Programs (NAP Manual)External link opens in new window or tab. provides process suggestions for selecting nutrient analysis software, obtaining nutrient analysis of menus, and guidance calculating nutrient analysis of menus offered in NSLP and SBP.

  • USDA Offering Smoothies as Part of Reimbursable School Meals-Grades Kindergarten Through 12 (K-12)External link opens in new window or tab. provides you menu planning ideas, crediting tips, sample menus, and more to demonstrate how both scratch-made and commercially-prepared smoothies can be offered as part of a reimbursable school breakfast or lunch.

  • USDA Best Practices for Reducing Added Sugars at School Breakfast-Grades Kindergarten Through 12External link opens in new window or tab. provides school nutrition professionals training on how to identify sources of added sugars and specific ways to reduce the amount of added sugars in school breakfast meals.

Contact Us

If you have technical difficulties, please contact the Education and Nutrition Policy Unit by phone at 916-445-9127 for assistance. For questions regarding the course content, email your School Nutrition Program questions to

Questions:   Education and Nutrition Policy Unit | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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