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Team Nutrition (TN) Resource: Using OVS at Lunch

The California Department of Education is pleased to share a new resource from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) TN. This resource provides guidance to Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators on the appropriate use of offer versus serve (OVS) in the school lunch program when adding to meals from home. You can access this resource on the USDA websiteExternal link opens in new window or tab..

When adding to meals from home, keep in mind that students must be offered all five meal components. While students may choose fewer items, they must be offered five. For the meal to be claimed for reimbursement, the student need only select three components, one of which must be a fruit and/or vegetable (minimum ½ cup serving).

For more information on OVS requirements, go to the USDA OVS Guidance for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. and check out TN’s OVS Materials web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. for posters and tip sheets.

Contact Information

If you have questions about this resource, please contact the USDA TN by email at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 1, 2021
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