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Major Recommended Changes in the Meal Requirements

Meal Planning Approaches

  • The recommended approach to meal planning is food-based with the additions of quantitative specifications for minimum and maximum calorie levels, maximum saturated fat content, and maximum sodium content.

  • Only one approach to menu planning is recommended.

  • Computer analysis of nutrient content could be used to assist in planning menus that meet the recommended standards for menu planning but would not be needed to analyze the vitamin and mineral content of meals.

Standards for Menu Planning

  • The standards for all age-grade groups include more food groups and introduce food subgroups. More fruit is specified. Fruits and vegetables are not interchangeable.

  • Specifications for types of food to be included are more precise.

    • Over a 5-day school week,

      • The average daily calorie content of the meal offerings must be within the specified minimum and maximum levels and the average saturated fat content must be less than 10 percent of calories.

      • Vegetable offerings at lunch must include at least one-half cup equivalent of each of the following: dark green vegetables, bright orange vegetables, and legumes.

      • No more than half of the fruit offerings may be in the form of juice.

      • At least half of the bread/grain offerings must meet the criterion for a whole grain-rich food (based on at least half of the grain content as whole grain, see Box 7-1 in Chapter 7).

    • On a daily basis,

      • The milk must be fat-free (plain or flavored) or plain low-fat (1 percent milk fat or less).

      • If purchased commercially, the nutrition labeling or manufacturer’s specification must indicate that the product contains zero grams of trans fat per serving.

      • The inclusion of unsaturated vegetable oils is encouraged within calorie limits.

Standards for Foods That Are Selected by the Student

  • Two options are presented, and the strengths and limitations of each are described in the text. Both options specify that the student must select a fruit at breakfast and either a fruit or vegetable at lunch for the meal to be reimbursable.

Recommendation 4. The Food and Nutrition Service, working together with state agencies, professional organizations, and industry, should provide extensive support to enable food service operators to adapt to the many changes required by revised Meal Requirements. The types of support required include the following:

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