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Lunch Meal Pattern (Grades K-12)


Amount of Fooda Per Week (Minimum Per Day)
Meal Pattern Grades
K–5
Grades
K–8
Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12

Fruits (cups)b

2½ (½)

2½ (½)

2½ (½)

5 (1)

Vegetables (cups)b

3¾ (¾)

3¾ (¾)

3¾ (¾)

5 (1)

Dark Greenc

½

½

½

½

Red/Orangec

¾

¾

¾

Beans and Peas (legumes)c

½

½

½

½

Starchyc

½

½

½

½

Other c,d

½

½

½

¾

Additional Vegetables to Reach Totale

1e

1e

1e

e

Grain Minimums (oz eq)f

8-9 (1)*

8-9 (1)*

8-10 (1)*

10-12 (2)*

Meats/Meat Alternate Minimums (oz eq)

8-10 (1)*

9-10 (1)*

9-10 (1)*

10-12 (2)*

Fluid Milk (Cups)g

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

Other Specifications: Daily Amount Based on the Average for a 5-Day Week
Meal Pattern Grades
K–5
Grades
K–8
Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12

Min-max calories (kcal)h

550–650

600–650

600–700

750–850

Saturated Fat (% of calories)h

< 10

< 10

< 10

< 10

Sodium Target 1 (mg)h,i

≤ 1,230

≤ 1,230

≤ 1,360

≤ 1,420

Sodium Target 2 (mg)h,i
(Effective SY 2024–25)

≤ 935
935
1,035
1,080
Trans Fath
Nutrition label of manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving
Nutrition label of manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving
Nutrition label of manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving
Nutrition label of manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving

* U.S. Department of Agriculture has lifted the weekly maximums for grain and meat/meat alternates. The daily and weekly minimums for grains and meat/meat alternates 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 most current U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Buying Guide.

b One quarter cup of dried fruit counts as one half cup of fruit; one cup of leafy greens counts as one half 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 one eighth cup.

c Larger amounts of these vegetables may be served.

d This category consists of “Other Vegetables” as defined in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR) Section 210.10(c)(2)(iii)(E). For the purposes of the National School Lunch Program, the “Other Vegetables” requirement may be met with any additional amounts from the dark green, red/orange, and beans/peas (legumes) vegetable subgroups as defined in 7 CFR Section 210.10(c)(2)(iii).

e Any vegetable subgroup may be offered to meet the total weekly vegetable requirement.

fAt least half of the grains offered weekly must be whole grain rich and the remaining grains items must be enriched. The minimum creditable serving for a grain, a meat, or a meat alternate is at least one quarter ounce equivalent.

gAll fluid milk must be low-fat (one percent fat or less) or fat-free (skim). Milk may be unflavored or flavored, provided that unflavored milk is offered at each meal service.

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 Sodium Target 1 is effective through June 30, 2024. Sodium Target 2 is effective July 1, 2024 and is contained in 7 CFR Section 210.10(f)(3).

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

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 13, 2019
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