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The recommendations for Nutrient Targets and Meal Requirements and for implementing and monitoring them are consistent with the committee’s criteria, as summarized below.

Criterion 1.
Consistent with Current Dietary Guidance

The Nutrient Targets were based on the Dietary Reference Intakes, using methods recommended for this purpose. The Meal Requirements were designed to come as close as possible to Dietary Guidelines and to the Nutrient Targets while still being practical. Sample menus were reviewed to confirm their consistency with Dietary Guidelines (see Box S-4) and were analyzed to confirm reasonable consistency with the recommended Nutrient Targets. Chapter 10 addresses strategies to reduce the sodium content and to increase whole grains in school meals to bring them into closer alignment with Dietary Guidelines.

Dietary Guidelines emphasize meeting nutrient needs without exceeding energy needs. The ranges for the calorie content of school meals reflect the best judgment of the committee based on current evidence for the energy requirements of schoolchildren. The committee recognizes that there is a wider range of actual requirements, but it set the ranges with the objective of avoiding the provision of excessive calories while ensuring the offering of amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein that would be appropriate


Recommended Changes in Standards for Menu Planning Improve Alignment with Dietary Guidelines for Americans

  • Both a minimum and a maximum calorie level

  • More fruit at breakfast, including whole fruit

  • A greater amount and variety of vegetables at lunch

  • Both fruit and vegetables required on the lunch menu

  • More whole grain-rich foods, fewer refined grain foods

  • Milk choices limited to fat-free (unflavored or flavored) and plain low-fat (1 percent milk fat or less)

  • Increased emphasis on limiting saturated fat

  • Encouragement to include unsaturated oils within the calorie limits

  • Minimized content of trans fat

  • Major reduction in sodium content to be achieved fully by the year 2020, with stepwise reductions

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