The hottest topic among school foodservice professionals right now is the new school meal patterns that are coming down the pipeline. Registration filled up quickly for the School Nutrition Foundation’s upcoming May 16 webinar on the topic (“Certification and Compliance of the New Meal Pattern: What you need to know to receive your six cents”) and schools across the country are working to revise their menus to meet the new requirements.
The National Dairy Council has published a host of new sample school menus for both breakfast and lunch on their website, to help school foodservice professionals meet the latest nutrition guidelines. You can find these menus (all in PDF format) on the NDC’s School Nutrition Resource page. Follow this same link to find nutrient information and analyses, information on the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge, and resources to help both school foodservice professionals and parents stay informed on dairy-related nutrition news and information.
The New Meal Pattern: Dairy Requirements
You can review the full set of the new meal pattern guidelines online. The new dairy regulations stipulate that at lunch, for all grade groups (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) five fluid milk cups per week/minimum one fluid milk cups per day are required. At lunch, the meal pattern stipulates:
1. Allowable milk options
- Fat-free (unflavored or flavored)
- Low-fat (unflavored only)
- Fat-free or low-fat (lactose-reduced or lactose-free)
2. Must offer at least two choices
3. Does not alter nutrition standards for milk substitutes (e.g. soy beverages)
4. Milk provisions also apply to children ages 3-4
Breakfast meal guidelines also require a milk component under the new meal patterns. As at lunch, the requirement for all grade groups (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) are five fluid milk cups per week/minimum one fluid milk cups per day. At breakfast, the meal pattern stipulations are the same as at lunch (bullet points, above) but with the addition of the stipulation that students may decline the milk component under OVS (offer-vs-serve).
Meal Pattern and Breakfast-in-the-Classroom Online Resources
We will be adding the new meal pattern-compliant list of NDC’s Sample School Menus to our own Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) Resource Center. Our resource center contains links to valuable information you will need to create, maintain, and improve your breakfast-in-the-classroom program. Check out each of the nine resource categories to jump start breakfast-in-the-classroom at your school:
- Key Stakeholders
- Feasibility Studies
- Financial Planning
- Menu Planning
- Implementation Tools
- BIC Highlights