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Breakfast Meal Pattern: Short and Long Weeks

Meal pattern requirements for short and long weeks for the School Breakfast Program (SBP) for grades K–12.

Overview

Program operators of the SBP are required to use meal patterns and dietary specifications established by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop menus and serve meals to students. The USDA is taking a multi-step approach to update the school meal nutrition standards. The final rule, Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium serves as a bridge for School Years 2022–23 and 2023–24, and is effective July 1, 2022.

Short and long week meal pattern charts have been established for schools that regularly operate on a shorter or longer weekly cycle. The following charts adjust the meal pattern components for short and long weeks and are rounded to nearest ½ ounce equivalent and ¼ cup. Since the dietary specifications are based on average daily amounts, these are unaffected by varying week lengths, (average over length of week, whether consisting of 3 to 7 days).

Meal Pattern Requirements

Measurement abbreviations: Cup = c, Ounce Equivalent = oz eq, Calories = kcal, Grams = g, and Milligrams = mg

Three Day School Week Meal Component Adjustments

Minimum Amount of Fooda Per Week

Meal Components Grades
K12
Grades
K5
Grades
K8
Grades
68
Grades
612
Grades
912
Fruits b, c 3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
Vegetables b, c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c
Grains *, d 5.5-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
4-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
5-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
5-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
5.5-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
5.5-6 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
Meat/Meat Alternates e 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq
Fluid Milk f 3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)
3 c
(1 c per day)

 

Four Day School Week Meal Component Adjustments

Minimum Amount of Fooda Per Week

Meal Components Grades
K12
Grades
K5
Grades
K8
Grades
68
Grades
612
Grades
912
Fruits b, c 4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
Vegetables b, c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c
Grains *, d 7-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
5.5-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
6.5-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
6.5-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
7-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
7-8 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
Meat/Meat Alternates e 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq
Fluid Milk f 4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)
4 c
(1 c per day)

 

Six Day School Week Meal Component Adjustments

Minimum Amount of Fooda Per Week

Meal Components Grades
K12
Grades
K5
Grades
K8
Grades
68
Grades
612
Grades
912
Fruits b, c 6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
Vegetables b, c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c
Grains *, d 11-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
8.5-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
9.5-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
9.5-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
11-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
11-12 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
Meat/Meat Alternates e 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq
Fluid Milk f 6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)
6 c
(1 c per day)

 

Seven Day School Week Meal Component Adjustments

Minimum Amount of Fooda Per Week

Meal Components Grades
K12
Grades
K5
Grades
K8
Grades
68
Grades
612
Grades
912
Fruits b, c 7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
Vegetables b, c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c 0 c
Grains *, d 12.5-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
10-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
11-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
11-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
12.5-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
12.5-14 oz eq
(1 oz eq per day)
Meat/Meat Alternates e 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq 0 oz eq
Fluid Milk f 7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)
7 c
(1 c per day)

Dietary Specifications

Specifications Grades
K–12
Grades
K–5
Grades
K–8
Grades
6–8
Grades
6–12
Grades
9–12
Min-max Calories g, h

450–500 kcal

350–500 kcal

400–500 kcal

400–550 kcal

450–550 kcal

450–600 kcal

Saturated Fat (% of calories) h

<10%

<10%

<10%

<10%

<10%

<10%

Sodium Target 1 h, i

≤ 540 mg

≤ 540 mg

≤ 540 mg

≤ 600 mg

≤ 600 mg

≤ 640 mg

Trans Fat h, j

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

 

* USDA has lifted the weekly maximums for grains. The daily and weekly minimums for grains and the weekly calorie ranges still apply. The maximums are used as a guide for menu planning purposes only.

a Food items included in each group and subgroup and amount equivalents as outlined in the USDA Food Buying Guide web page External link opens in new window or tab..

b One quarter cup of dried fruit counts as ½ cup of fruit; one cup of leafy greens counts as ½ cup of vegetables. No more than half of the fruit or vegetable offerings may be in the form of juice. All juice must be 100 percent full-strength. The minimum creditable serving for a fruit or vegetable is at least 1/8 cup.

c Vegetables may be substituted for fruits, but the first two cups per week of any such substitution must be from the dark green, red/orange, beans and peas (legumes) or “Other Vegetables” subgroups, as defined in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 210.10(c)(2)(iii).

d At least 80 percent of all grains offered weekly must be whole grain-rich. The remaining 20 percent or less of grains, if any, must be enriched. A whole grain-rich product contains 50 percent or more whole grains by weight, with any remaining grains being enriched. Schools may substitute one ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternate for one ounce equivalent of grains after the minimum daily grains requirement is met. Meat/meat alternates may be offered as extra food items that do not count toward the grain component or as food items for Offer Versus Serve. These extra food items need to be included in the weekly calories, sodium, and saturated fat. The minimum creditable serving for a grain, a meat, or a meat alternate is at least one quarter ounce equivalent.

e There is no meat/meat alternate requirement.

f At least two milk choices must be offered. Pasteurized, fluid types of milk that meet state and local standards and contain vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration must be offered. All milk must be fat-free or low-fat. Milk with higher fat content is not allowed. Fat-free and low-fat fluid milk may be flavored or unflavored. Low-fat or fat-free, lactose-free, and reduced-lactose fluid milk may also be offered.

g The average daily calories over the length of the school week must be within the range (at least the minimum and no more than the maximum values).

h Discretionary sources of calories (solid fats and added sugars) may be added to the meal pattern if within the specifications for calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Food products and ingredients must contain zero grams of trans fat (less than 0.5 grams) per serving.

i For SY 2022–23 (beginning July 1, 2022) and through SY 2023–24, the weekly sodium limit for school breakfast remains at Sodium Target 1. Note that the sodium limit applies to the average meal offered during the school week, not daily or per-meal.

j Nutrition label of manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving.

Please note: For offer versus serve, every student must take either ½ cup fruit (or substituted vegetable) or a combination of both to count as a reimbursable meal.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 23, 2022
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