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mented as needed with imputed values using similar food items and, if necessary, values from current records of actual food service units. The data file was created as a Microsoft Access Database which allows the user the ability to query and create reports.

Program Functions and Reports

The menus for a school meal can be entered, deleted, and edited in the database. Similarly, items in the food list for the nutrient composition data can created, deleted, and edited.

Any particular Menu Plan has a Plan ID number. Within this Menu Plan, there can be individual meal menus, breakfast or lunch, for each weekday. Each of these meal menus has its own Menu ID number, one through five for Monday through Friday, respectively, and labeled breakfast or lunch. A meal menu has a number of food items, each with its own Item number. The food items in a menu are matched with comparable food items in the nutrient composition database and to data on the food items including price. Figure K-1 provides an overview of the program mapping and structure.

One can generate a report from a single menu or for all menus and copy and paste the report into a spreadsheet or other program that handles tabular data. Staff used this output to prepare tables that describe the nutrient values of various types of menus and that compare the costs of baseline representative menus with those of modified baseline menus.

The report on a single menu prints the menu, ordered by day, one line per food item. Each line includes pertinent descriptions, mass of the item, mass of one serving, price, and energy information. The next section of the report has a nutritional summary. Both of these sections use concepts of “offer weight” and “percent take-up.”

In the menu report, the user can view and update a food item through a dialog box. Figure K-2 shows an image of the dialog box for query and updating information on a single food item in a menu.

As shown in the dialog box (Figure K-2), food items in the menu are described in terms of the food item code, verbal description, price per 100 g and a “quantity” measure. In addition, the dialog box shows the defined measures per serving, nutrient information, number of items, offer weight, and percent take up. “Offer weight” is entered on the food item dialog following rules set by the USDA for this purpose (USDA/FNS, 2007a). The built-in assumption is that a total of 300 meals will be served. Three examples illustrate the method:

  1. If three items are offered and the student may take one, the value assigned to each choice is 100.

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