7 CFR 210.10 - Meal requirements for lunches and requirements for afterschool snacks.

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§ 210.10 Meal requirements for lunches and requirements for afterschool snacks.
(a) General requirements—
(1) General nutrition requirements. Schools must offer nutritious, well-balanced, and age-appropriate meals to all the children they serve to improve their diets and safeguard their health.
(i) Requirements for lunch. School lunches offered to children age 5 or older must meet, at a minimum, the meal requirements in paragraph (b) of this section. Schools must follow a food-based menu planning approach and produce enough food to offer each child the quantities specified in the meal pattern established in paragraph (c) of this section for each age/grade group served in the school. In addition, school lunches must meet the dietary specifications in paragraph (f) of this section. Schools offering lunches to children ages 1 to 4 and infants must meet the meal pattern requirements in paragraph (p) of this section.
(ii) Requirements for afterschool snacks. Schools offering afterschool snacks in afterschool care programs must meet the meal pattern requirements in paragraph (o) of this section. Schools must plan and produce enough food to offer each child the minimum quantities under the meal pattern in paragraph (o) of this section. The component requirements for meal supplements served under the Child and Adult Care Food Program authorized under part 226 of this chapter also apply to afterschool snacks served in accordance with paragraph (o) of this section.
(2) Unit pricing. Schools must price each meal as a unit. Schools need to consider participation trends in an effort to provide one reimbursable lunch and, if applicable, one reimbursable afterschool snack for each child every school day. If there are leftover meals, schools may offer them to the students but cannot get Federal reimbursement for them. Schools must identify, near or at the beginning of the serving line(s), the food items that constitute the unit-priced reimbursable school meal(s). The price of a reimbursable lunch does not change if the student does not take a food item or requests smaller portions.
(3) Production and menu records. Schools or school food authorities, as applicable, must keep production and menu records for the meals they produce. These records must show how the meals offered contribute to the required food components and food quantities for each age/grade group every day. Labels or manufacturer specifications for food products and ingredients used to prepare school meals must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving (less than 0.5 grams). Schools or school food authorities must maintain records of the latest nutritional analysis of the school menus conducted by the State agency. Production and menu records must be maintained in accordance with FNS guidance.
(b) Meal requirements for school lunches. School lunches for children ages 5 and older must reflect food and nutrition requirements specified by the Secretary. Compliance with these requirements is measured as follows:
(1) On a daily basis:
(i) Meals offered to each age/grade group must include the food components and food quantities specified in the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section;
(ii) Food products or ingredients used to prepare meals must contain zero grams of trans fat per serving or a minimal amount of naturally occurring trans fat; and
(iii) The meal selected by each student must have the number of food components required for a reimbursable meal and include at least one fruit or vegetable.
(2) Over a 5-day school week:
(i) Average calorie content of meals offered to each age/grade group must be within the minimum and maximum calorie levels specified in paragraph (f) of this section;
(ii) Average saturated fat content of the meals offered to each age/grade group must be less than 10 percent of total calories; and
(iii) Average sodium content of the meals offered to each age/grade group must not exceed the maximum level specified in paragraph (f) of this section.
(c) Meal pattern for school lunches. Schools must offer the food components and quantities required in the lunch meal pattern established in the following table:
Meal pattern Lunch meal pattern
Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
a Food items included in each group and subgroup and amount equivalents. Minimum creditable serving is 1/8 cup.
b One quarter-cup of dried fruit counts as 1/2 cup of fruit; 1 cup of leafy greens counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables. No more than half of the fruit or vegetable offerings may be in the form of juice. All juice must be 100% full-strength.
c Larger amounts of these vegetables may be served.
d This category consists of “Other vegetables” as defined in § 210.10(c)(2)(iii)(E). For the purposes of the NSLP, the “Other vegetables” requirement may be met with any additional amounts from the dark green, red/orange, and beans/peas (legumes) vegetable subgroups as defined in § 210.10(c)(2)(iii).
e Any vegetable subgroup may be offered to meet the total weekly vegetable requirement.
f Beginning July 1, 2012 (SY 2012-2013), at least half of grains offered must be whole grain-rich. Beginning July 1, 2014 (SY 2014-15), all grains must be whole grain-rich.
g Beginning July 1, 2012 (SY 2012-2013), all fluid milk must be low-fat (1 percent or less, unflavored) or fat-free (unflavored or flavored).
h Discretionary sources of calories (solid fats and added sugars) may be added to the meal pattern if within the specifications for calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Foods of minimal nutritional value and fluid milk with fat content greater than 1 percent are not allowed.
i Final sodium targets must be met no later than July 1, 2022 (SY 2022-2023). The first intermediate target must be met no later than SY 2014-2015 and the second intermediate target must be met no later than SY 2017-2018. See required intermediate specifications in § 210.10(f)(3).
Amount of food a per week
(minimum per day)
Fruits (cups) b 21/2 (1/2) 21/2 (1/2) 5 (1)
Vegetables (cups) b 33/4 (3/4) 33/4 (3/4) 5 (1)
Dark green c 1/2 1/2 1/2
Red/Orange c 3/4 3/4 11/4
Beans and peas (legumes) c 1/2 1/2 1/2
Starchy c 1/2 1/2 1/2
Other c d 1/2 1/2 3/4
Additional Veg to Reach Total e 1 e 1 e 11/2 e
Grains (oz eq) f 8-9 (1) 8-10 (1) 10-12 (2)
Meats/Meat Alternates (oz eq) 8-10 (1) 9-10 (1) 10-12 (2)
Fluid milk (cups) g 5 (1) 5 (1) 5 (1)
Other Specifications: Daily Amount Based on the Average for a 5-Day Week
Min-max calories (kcal) h 550-650 600-700 750-850
Saturated fat (% of total calories) h < 10 < 10 < 10
Sodium (mg) h i ≤ 640 ≤ 710 ≤ 740
Trans fat h Nutrition label or manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving.
(1) Age/grade groups. Schools must plan menus for students using the following age/grade groups: Grades K-5 (ages 5-10), grades 6-8 (ages 11-13), and grades 9-12 (ages 14-18). If an unusual grade configuration in a school prevents the use of these established age/grade groups, students in grades K-5 and grades 6-8 may be offered the same food quantities at lunch provided that the calorie and sodium standards for each age/grade group are met. No customization of the established age/grade groups is allowed.
(2) Food components. Schools must offer students in each age/grade group the food components specified in paragraph (c) of this section.
(i) Meats/meat alternates component. Schools must offer meats/meat alternates daily as part of the lunch meal pattern. The quantity of meats/meat alternates must be the edible portion as served. This component must be served in a main dish or in a main dish and only one other food item. Schools without daily choices in this component should not serve any one meat alternate or form of meat (for example, ground, diced, pieces) more than three times in the same week. If a portion size of this component does not meet the daily requirement for a particular age/grade group, schools may supplement it with another meats/meat alternates to meet the full requirement. Schools may adjust the daily quantities of this component provided that a minimum of one ounce is offered daily to students in grades K-8 and a minimum of two ounces is offered daily to students in grades 9-12, and the total weekly requirement is met over a five-day period.
(A) Enriched macaroni. Enriched macaroni with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to this part may be used to meet part of the meats/meat alternates requirement when used as specified in appendix A to this part. An enriched macaroni product with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to this part may be used to meet part of the meats/meat alternates component or the grains component but may not meet both food components in the same lunch.
(B) Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds and their butters are allowed as meat alternates in accordance with FNS guidance. Acorns, chestnuts, and coconuts may not be used because of their low protein and iron content. Nut and seed meals or flours may be used only if they meet the requirements for Alternate Protein Products established in appendix A to this part. Nuts or seeds may be used to meet no more than one-half (50 percent) of the meats/meat alternates component with another meats/meat alternates to meet the full requirement.
(C) Yogurt. Yogurt may be used to meet all or part of the meats/meat alternates component. Yogurt may be plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened. Noncommercial and/or non-standardized yogurt products, such as frozen yogurt, drinkable yogurt products, homemade yogurt, yogurt flavored products, yogurt bars, yogurt covered fruits and/or nuts or similar products are not creditable. Four ounces (weight) or 1/2 cup (volume) of yogurt equals one ounce of the meats/meat alternates requirement.
(D) Tofu and soy products. Commercial tofu and soy products may be used to meet all or part of the meats/meat alternates component in accordance with FNS guidance. Noncommercial and/or non-standardized tofu and soy products are not creditable.
(E) Beans and Peas (legumes). Cooked dry beans and peas (legumes) may be used to meet all or part of the meats/meat alternates component. Beans and peas (legumes) are identified in this section and include foods such as black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, kidney beans, mature lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and split peas.
(F) Other Meat Alternates. Other meat alternates, such as cheese and eggs, may be used to meet all or part of the meats/meat alternates component in accordance with FNS guidance.
(ii) Fruits component. Schools must offer fruits daily as part of the lunch menu. Fruits that are fresh; frozen without added sugar; canned in light syrup, water or fruit juice; or dried may be offered to meet the requirements of this paragraph. All fruits are credited based on their volume as served, except that 1/4 cup of dried fruit counts as 1/2 cup of fruit. Only pasteurized, full-strength fruit juice may be used, and may be credited to meet no more than one-half of the fruits component.
(iii) Vegetables component. Schools must offer vegetables daily as part of the lunch menu. Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and dry beans and peas (legumes) may be offered to meet this requirement. All vegetables are credited based on their volume as served, except that 1 cup of leafy greens counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables and tomato paste and puree are credited based on calculated volume of the whole food equivalency. Pasteurized, full-strength vegetable juice may be used to meet no more than one-half of the vegetables component. Cooked dry beans or peas (legumes) may be counted as either a vegetable or as a meat alternate but not as both in the same meal. Vegetable offerings at lunch over the course of the week must include the following vegetable subgroups, as defined in this section in the quantities specified in the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section:
(A) Dark green vegetables. This subgroup includes vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, dark green leafy lettuce, kale, mesclun, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, and watercress;
(B) Red-orange vegetables. This subgroup includes vegetables such as acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato juice, and sweet potatoes;
(C) Beans and peas (legumes). This subgroup includes vegetables such as black beans, black-eyed peas (mature, dry), garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, lentils, navy beans pinto beans, soy beans, split peas, and white beans;
(D) Starchy vegetables. This subgroup includes vegetables such as black-eyed peas (not dry), corn, cassava, green bananas, green peas, green lima beans, plantains, taro, water chestnuts, and white potatoes; and
(E) Other vegetables. This subgroup includes all other fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables, cooked or raw, such as artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bean sprouts, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, green peppers, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, turnips, wax beans, and zucchini.
(iv) Grains component.
(A) Enriched and whole grains. All grains must be made with enriched and whole grain meal or flour, in accordance with the most recent grains FNS guidance. Whole grain-rich products must contain at least 51 percent whole grains and the remaining grains in the product must be enriched.
(B) Daily and weekly servings. The grains component is based on minimum daily servings plus total servings over a five-day school week. Beginning July 1, 2012 (SY 2012-2013), half of the grains offered during the school week must meet the whole grain-rich criteria specified in FNS guidance. Beginning July 1, 2014 (SY 2014-2015), all grains must meet the whole grain-rich criteria specified in FNS guidance. The whole grain-rich criteria provided in FNS guidance may be updated to reflect additional information provided voluntarily by industry on the food label or a whole grains definition by the Food and Drug Administration. Schools serving lunch 6 or 7 days per week must increase the weekly grains quantity by approximately 20 percent (1/5) for each additional day. When schools operate less than 5 days per week, they may decrease the weekly quantity by approximately 20 percent (1/5) for each day less than five. The servings for biscuits, rolls, muffins, and other grain/bread varieties are specified in FNS guidance.
(C) Desserts. Schools may count up to two grain-based desserts per week towards meeting the grains requirement as specified in FNS guidance.
(v) Fluid milk component. Fluid milk must be offered daily in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.
(3) Food components in outlying areas. Schools in American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may serve vegetables such as yams, plantains, or sweet potatoes to meet the grains component.
(4) Adjustments to the school menus. Schools must adjust future menu cycles to reflect production and how often the food items are offered. Schools may need to change the foods offerings given students' selections and may need to modify recipes and other specifications to make sure that meal requirements are met.
(5) Standardized recipes. All schools must develop and follow standardized recipes. A standardized recipe is a recipe that was tested to provide an established yield and quantity using the same ingredients for both measurement and preparation methods. Standardized recipes developed by USDA/FNS are in the Child Nutrition Database. If a school has its own recipes, they may seek assistance from the State agency or school food authority to standardize the recipes. Schools must add any local recipes to their local database as outlined in FNS guidance.
(6) Processed foods. The Child Nutrition Database includes a number of processed foods. Schools may use purchased processed foods that are not in the Child Nutrition Database. Schools or the State agency must add any locally purchased processed foods to their local database as outlined in FNS guidance. The State agencies must obtain the levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the processed foods.
(7) Menu substitutions. Schools should always try to substitute nutritionally similar foods.
(d) Fluid milk requirement—
(1) Types of fluid milk.
(i) Schools must offer students a variety (at least two different options) of fluid milk. All milk must be fat-free or low-fat. Milk with higher fat content is not allowed. Fat-free fluid milk may be flavored or unflavored, and low-fat fluid milk must be unflavored. Low fat or fat-free lactose-free and reduced-lactose fluid milk may also be offered.
(ii) All fluid milk served in the Program must be pasteurized fluid milk which meets State and local standards for such milk. All fluid milk must have vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration and must be consistent with State and local standards for such milk.
(2) Inadequate fluid milk supply. If a school cannot get a supply of fluid milk, it can still participate in the Program under the following conditions:
(i) If emergency conditions temporarily prevent a school that normally has a supply of fluid milk from obtaining delivery of such milk, the State agency may allow the school to serve meals during the emergency period with an alternate form of fluid milk or without fluid milk.
(ii) If a school is unable to obtain a supply of any type of fluid milk on a continuing basis, the State agency may approve the service of meals without fluid milk if the school uses an equivalent amount of canned milk or dry milk in the preparation of the meals. In Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, if a sufficient supply of fluid milk cannot be obtained, “fluid milk” includes reconstituted or recombined fluid milk, or as otherwise allowed by FNS through a written exception.
(3) Fluid milk substitutes. If a school chooses to offer one or more substitutes for fluid milk for non-disabled students with medical or special dietary needs, the nondairy beverage(s) must provide the nutrients listed in the following table. Fluid milk substitutes must be fortified in accordance with fortification guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration. A school need only offer the nondairy beverage(s) that it has identified as allowable fluid milk substitutes according to the following chart.
Nutrient Per cup(8 fl oz)
Calcium 276 mg.
Protein 8 g.
Vitamin A 500 IU.
Vitamin D 100 IU.
Magnesium 24 mg.
Phosphorus 222 mg.
Potassium 349 mg.
Riboflavin 0.44 mg.
Vitamin B-12 1.1 mcg.
(4) Restrictions on the sale of fluid milk. A school participating in the Program, or a person approved by a school participating in the Program, must not directly or indirectly restrict the sale or marketing of fluid milk (as identified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section) at any time or in any place on school premises or at any school-sponsored event.
(e) Offer versus serve. School lunches must offer daily the five food components specified in the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section. Under offer versus serve, students must be allowed to decline two items at lunch, except that the students must select at least 1/2 cup of either the fruit or vegetable component. Senior high schools (as defined by the State educational agency) must participate in offer versus serve. Schools below the senior high level may participate in offer versus serve at the discretion of the school food authority.
(f) Dietary specifications—
(1) Calories. School lunches offered to each age/grade group must meet, on average over the school week, the minimum and maximum calorie levels specified in the following table:
Calorie ranges for lunch
Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
a The average daily amount for a 5-day school week must fall within the minimum and maximum levels.
b Discretionary sources of calories (solid fats and added sugars) may be added to the meal pattern if within the specifications for calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.
Min-max calories (kcal) ab 550-650 600-700 750-850
(2) Saturated fat. School lunches offered to all age/grade groups must, on average over the school week, provide less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat.
(3) Sodium. Schools lunches offered to each age/grade group must meet, on average over the school week, the levels of sodium specified in the following table within the established deadlines:
National school lunch program Sodium reduction: Timeline & amount
Age/grade group Baseline:Average current sodium levels in meals as offered 1 (mg) Target 1:July 1, 2014 (SY 2014-2015) (mg) Target 2:July 1, 2017 (SY 2017-2018) (mg) Final Target:July 1, 2022 (SY 2022-2023) (mg)
1 SNDA-III.
K-5 1,377 (elementary) ≤ 1,230 ≤ 935 ≤ 640
6-8 1,520 (middle) ≤ 1,360 ≤ 1,035 ≤ 710
9-12 1,588 (high) ≤ 1,420 ≤ 1,080 ≤ 740
(4) Trans fat. Food products and ingredients used to prepare school meals must contain zero grams of trans fat (less than 0.5 grams) per serving. Schools must add the trans fat specification and request the required documentation (nutrition label or manufacturer specifications) in their procurement contracts. Documentation for food products and food ingredients must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving. Meats that contain a minimal amount of naturally-occurring trans fats are allowed in the school meal programs.
(g) Compliance assistance. The State agency and school food authority must provide technical assistance and training to assist schools in planning lunches that meet the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section and the calorie, saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat specifications established in paragraph (f) of this section. Compliance assistance may be offered during trainings, onsite visits, and/or administrative reviews.
(h) State agency responsibilities for monitoring dietary specifications—
(1) Calories, saturated fat and sodium. As part of the administrative review authorized under § 210.18 of this chapter, State agencies must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis for the school(s) selected for review to evaluate the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium of the lunches offered to students in grades K and above during one week of the review period. The nutrient analysis must be conducted in accordance with the procedures established in paragraph (i)(3) of this section. If the results of the nutrient analysis indicate that the school lunches are not meeting the specifications for calories, saturated fat, and sodium specified in paragraph (f) of this section, the State agency or school food authority must provide technical assistance and require the reviewed school to take corrective action to meet the requirements.
(2) Trans fat. State agencies must review product labels or manufacturer specifications to verify that the food products or ingredients used by the reviewed school(s) contain zero grams of trans fat (less than 0.5 grams) per serving.
(i) State agency's responsibilities for nutrient analyses—
(1) Conducting the nutrient analyses. State agencies must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis of the reimbursable meals offered to children in grades K and above by a school selected for administrative review under § 210.18 of this chapter. The nutrient analysis must be conducted in accordance with the procedures established in paragraph (i)(3) of this section. The purpose of the nutrient analysis is to determine the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the meals offered over a school week within the review period. Unless offered as part of a reimbursable meal, foods of minimal nutritional value (see appendix B to part 210) are not included in the nutrient analysis.
(2) Software elements—
(i) The Child Nutrition Database. The nutrient analysis is based on the USDA Child Nutrition Database. This database is part of the software used to do a nutrient analysis. Software companies or others developing systems for schools may contact FNS for more information about the database.
(ii) Software evaluation. FNS or an FNS designee evaluates any nutrient analysis software before it may be used in schools. FNS or its designee determines if the software, as submitted, meets the minimum requirements. The approval of software does not mean that FNS or USDA endorses it. The software must be able to perform a weighted average analysis after the basic data is entered. The combined analysis of the lunch and breakfast programs is not allowed.
(3) Nutrient analysis procedures—
(i) Weighted averages. State agencies must include in the nutrient analysis all foods offered as part of the reimbursable meals during one week within the review period. Foods items are included based on the portion sizes and projected serving amounts. They are also weighted based on their proportionate contribution to the meals offered. This means that food items offered more frequently are weighted more heavily than those not offered as frequently. State agencies conduct the nutrient analysis and calculate weighting as indicated by FNS guidance.
(ii) Analyzed nutrients. The analysis determines the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the meals offered over a school week. It includes all food items offered by the reviewed school over a one-week period.
(4) Comparing the results of the nutrient analysis. Once the procedures in paragraph (i)(3) of this section are completed, State agencies must compare the results of the analysis to the calorie, saturated fat, and sodium levels established in § 210.10 or § 220.8, as appropriate, for each age/grade group to evaluate the school's compliance with the dietary specifications.
(j) State agency's responsibilities for compliance monitoring. Compliance with the meal requirements in paragraph (b) of this section, including dietary specifications for calories, saturated fat, sodium and trans fat, will be monitored by the State agency through administrative reviews authorized in § 210.18 of this chapter.
(k) Menu choices at lunch—
(1) Availability of choices. Schools may offer children a selection of nutritious foods within a reimbursable lunch to encourage the consumption of a variety of foods. Children who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches must be allowed to take any reimbursable lunch or any choices offered as part of a reimbursable lunch. Schools may establish different unit prices for each reimbursable lunch offered provided that the benefits made available to children eligible for free or reduced price lunches are not affected.
(2) Opportunity to select. Schools that choose to offer a variety of reimbursable lunches, or provide multiple serving lines, must make all required food components available to all students, on every lunch line, in at least the minimum required amounts.
(l) Requirements for lunch periods—
(1) Timing. Schools must offer lunches meeting the requirements of this section during the period the school has designated as the lunch period. Schools must offer lunches between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Schools may request an exemption from these times from the State agency.
(2) Adequate lunch periods. FNS encourages schools to provide sufficient lunch periods that are long enough to give all students adequate time to be served and to eat their lunches.
(m) Exceptions and variations allowed in reimbursable meals—
(1) Exceptions for disability reasons. Schools must make substitutions in lunches and afterschool snacks for students who are considered to have a disability under 7 CFR 15b.3 and whose disability restricts their diet. Substitutions must be made on a case by case basis only when supported by a written statement of the need for substitution(s) that includes recommended alternate foods, unless otherwise exempted by FNS. Such statement must be signed by a licensed physician.
(2) Exceptions for non-disability reasons. Schools may make substitutions for students without disabilities who cannot consume the regular lunch or afterschool snack because of medical or other special dietary needs. Substitutions must be made on a case by case basis only when supported by a written statement of the need for substitutions that includes recommended alternate foods, unless otherwise exempted by FNS. Except with respect to substitutions for fluid milk, such a statement must be signed by a recognized medical authority.
(i) Fluid milk substitutions for non-disability reasons. Schools may make substitutions for fluid milk for non-disabled students who cannot consume fluid milk due to medical or special dietary needs. A school that selects this option may offer the nondairy beverage(s) of its choice, provided the beverage(s) meets the nutritional standards established under paragraph (d) of this section. Expenses incurred when providing substitutions for fluid milk that exceed program reimbursements must be paid by the school food authority.
(ii) Requisites for fluid milk substitutions.
(A) A school food authority must inform the State agency if any of its schools choose to offer fluid milk substitutes other than for students with disabilities; and
(B) A medical authority or the student's parent or legal guardian must submit a written request for a fluid milk substitute identifying the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the student's diet.
(iii) Substitution approval. The approval for fluid milk substitution must remain in effect until the medical authority or the student's parent or legal guardian revokes such request in writing, or until such time as the school changes its substitution policy for non-disabled students.
(3) Variations for ethnic, religious, or economic reasons. Schools should consider ethnic and religious preferences when planning and preparing meals. Variations on an experimental or continuing basis in the food components for the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section may be allowed by FNS. Any variations must be consistent with the food and nutrition requirements specified under this section and needed to meet ethnic, religious, or economic needs.
(4) Exceptions for natural disasters. If there is a natural disaster or other catastrophe, FNS may temporarily allow schools to serve meals for reimbursement that do not meet the requirements in this section.
(n) Nutrition disclosure. To the extent that school food authorities identify foods in a menu, or on the serving line or through other communications with program participants, school food authorities must identify products or dishes containing more than 30 parts fully hydrated alternate protein products (as specified in appendix A of this part) to less than 70 parts beef, pork, poultry or seafood on an uncooked basis, in a manner which does not characterize the product or dish solely as beef, pork, poultry or seafood. Additionally, FNS encourages schools to inform the students, parents, and the public about efforts they are making to meet the meal requirements for school lunches.
(o) Afterschool snacks. Eligible schools operating afterschool care programs may be reimbursed for one afterschool snack served to a child (as defined in § 210.2) per day.
(1) “Eligible schools” means schools that:
(i) Operate school lunch programs under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act; and
(ii) Sponsor afterschool care programs as defined in § 210.2.
(2) Afterschool snacks shall contain two different components from the following four:
(i) A serving of fluid milk as a beverage, or on cereal, or used in part for each purpose;
(ii) A serving of meat or meat alternate. Nuts and seeds and their butters listed in FNS guidance are nutritionally comparable to meat or other meat alternates based on available nutritional data. Acorns, chestnuts, and coconuts are excluded and shall not be used as meat alternates due to their low protein content. Nut or seed meals or flours shall not be used as a meat alternate except as allowed under appendix A of this part;
(iii) A serving of vegetable(s) or fruit(s) or full-strength vegetable or fruit juice, or an equivalent quantity of any combination of these foods. Juice may not be served when fluid milk is served as the only other component;
(iv) A serving of whole-grain or enriched bread; or an equivalent serving of a bread product, such as cornbread, biscuits, rolls, or muffins made with whole-grain or enriched meal or flour; or a serving of cooked whole-grain or enriched pasta or noodle products such as macaroni, or cereal grains such as enriched rice, bulgur, or enriched corn grits; or an equivalent quantity of any combination of these foods.
(3) Afterschool snacks served to infants ages birth through 11 months must meet the requirements in paragraph (o)(3)(iv) of this section. Foods offered as meal supplements must be of a texture and a consistency that are appropriate for the age of the infant being served. The foods must be served during a span of time consistent with the infant's eating habits. For those infants whose dietary needs are more individualized, exceptions to the meal pattern must be made in accordance with the requirements found in paragraph (m) of this section.
(i) Breastmilk and iron-fortified formula. Either breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both, must be served for the entire first year. Snacks containing breastmilk and snacks containing iron-fortified infant formula served by the school are eligible for reimbursement. However, infant formula provided by a parent (or guardian) and breastmilk fed directly by the infant's mother, during a visit to the school, contribute to a reimbursable snack only when the school supplies at least one component of the infant's snack.
(ii) Fruit juice. Juice should not be offered to infants until they are 6 months of age and ready to drink from a cup. Fruit juice served as part of the meal pattern for infants 8 through 11 months must be full-strength and pasteurized.
(iii) Solid foods. Solid foods of an appropriate texture and consistency are required only when the infant is developmentally ready to accept them. The school should consult with the infant's parent (or guardian) in making the decision to introduce solid foods. Solid foods should be introduced one at a time, on a gradual basis, with the intent of ensuring the infant's health and nutritional well-being.
(iv) Infant meal pattern. Meal supplements for infants must include, at a minimum, breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both, in the appropriate amount indicated for the infant's age. For some breastfed infants who regularly consume less than the minimum amount of breastmilk per feeding, a serving of less than the minimum amount of breastmilk may be offered. In these situations, additional breastmilk must be offered if the infant is still hungry. Some infants may be developmentally ready to accept an additional food component. Meal supplements are reimbursable when schools provide all of the components in the Supplements for Infants table that the infant is developmentally ready to accept.
(4) The minimum amounts of food components to be served as meal supplements follow. Select two different components from the four listed in the Supplements for Infants table (Juice may not be served when fluid milk is served as the only other component). A serving of bread/bread alternate must be made from whole-grain or enriched meal or flour. It is required only when the infant is developmentally ready to accept it.
Supplements for Infants
Birth through 3 months 4 through 7 months 8 through 11 months
1 It is recommended that breastmilk be served in place of formula from birth through 11 months.
2 For some breastfed infants who regularly consume less than the minimum amount of breastmilk per feeding, a serving of less than the minimum amount of breastmilk may be offered with additional breast milk offered if the infant is still hungry.
3 Infant formula must be iron-fortified.
4 Fruit juice must be full-strength and pasteurized.
5 Bread and bread alternates must be made from whole grain or enriched meal or flour. A serving of this component must be optional.
Supplement (snack) 4-6 fl. oz. breastmilk 1 2 or formula 3 4-6 fl. oz. breastmilk 1 2 or formula 3 2-4 fl. oz. breastmilk 1 2, formula 3, or fruit juice 4;
0-1/2 bread 5 or
0-2 crackers 5.
(p) Lunches for preschoolers and infants—
(1) Requirements for preschooler's lunch pattern—
(i) General. Until otherwise instructed by the Secretary, lunches for children ages 1 to 4 must meet the nutrition standards in paragraph (p)(2) of this section, the nutrient and calorie levels in paragraph (p)(3) of this section, and meal pattern in paragraph (p)(4) of this section.
(ii) Unit pricing. Schools must price each meal as a unit. Schools need to consider participation trends in an effort to provide one reimbursable lunch for each child every day. If there are leftover meals, schools may offer them to the students but cannot receive Federal reimbursement for them.
(iii) Production and menu records. Schools must keep production and menu records for the meals they produce. These records must show how the meals contribute to the required food components and quantities every day. In addition, these records must show how the lunches contribute to the nutrition standards in paragraph (p)(2) of this section and the appropriate calorie and nutrient requirements for the children served. Schools or school food authorities must maintain records of the latest nutritional analysis of the school menus conducted by the State agency.
(2) Nutrition standards for preschoolers' lunches. Children ages 1 to 4 must be offered lunches that meet the following nutrition standards for their age group:
(i) Provision of one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C in the appropriate levels for the ages/grades (see paragraph (p)(3) of this section).
(ii) Provision of the lunchtime energy allowances (calories) in the appropriate levels (see paragraph (p)(3) of this section);
(iii) The following dietary recommendations:
(A) Eat a variety of foods;
(B) Limit total fat to 30 percent of total calories;
(C) Limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of total calories;
(D) Choose a diet low in cholesterol;
(E) Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits; and
(F) Choose a diet moderate in salt and sodium.
(iv) The following measures of compliance:
(A) Limit the percent of calories from total fat to 30 percent of the actual number of calories offered;
(B) Limit the percent of calories from saturated fat to less than 10 percent of the actual number of calories offered;
(C) Reduce sodium and cholesterol levels; and
(D) Increase the level of dietary fiber.
(v) Compliance with the nutrition standards and the appropriate nutrient and calorie levels is determined by the State agency in accordance with the procedures in paragraph (p)(10) of this section.
(3) Nutrient and calorie levels. The minimum levels of nutrients and calories that lunches for preschoolers must offer are specified in the following table:
Minimum Nutrient and Calorie Levels for Lunches—Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning Approach 1
Nutrients and energy allowances Group II preschoolages 3-4
School week averages
1 Current regulations only specify minimum nutrient and calorie levels for lunches for children ages 3-4.
2 The 1995 Dietary Guidelines recommend that after 2 years of age “* * * children should gradually adopt a diet that, by about 5 years of age, contains no more than 30 percent of calories from fat.”
Energy allowances (calories) 517
Total fat (as a percentage of actual total food energy) (2)
Saturated fat (as a percentage of actual total food energy) (2)
RDA for protein (g) 7
RDA for calcium (mg) 267
RDA for iron (mg) 3.3
RDA for Vitamin A (RE) 150
RDA for Vitamin C (mg) 14
(4) Meal pattern for preschoolers' lunches. Schools must follow the traditional food-based menu planning approach to plan lunches for children ages 1-2 and ages 3-4.
(i) Food components and quantities. Lunches must offer the food components and quantities specified in the following meal pattern:
Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning Approach—Meal Plan for Lunches
Group I ages 1-2 preschool Group II ages 3-4 preschool
1 Beginning July 1, 2012 (SY 2012-2013), fluid milk for children Ages 3-4 must be fat-free (unflavored or flavored) or low-fat (unflavored only).
2 Must meet the requirements in Appendix A of this part.
3 For the purposes of this table, a week equals five days.
Food components and food items Minimum quantities
Fluid milk (as a beverage) 6 fluid ounces 6 fluid ounces.1
Meat or Meat Alternates:
Lean meat, poultry, or fish 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Alternate Protein Products 2 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Cheese 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Large egg 1/2 3/4.
Cooked dry beans and peas 1/4 cup 3/8 cup.
Peanut butter or other nut or seed butters 2 tablespoons 3 tablespoons.
Yogurt, plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened 4 ounces or 1/2 cup 6 ounces or 3/4 cup.
The following may be used to meet no more than 50% of the requirement and must be used in combination with any of the above:
Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts, or seeds, as listed in program guidance, or an equivalent quantity of any combination of the above meat/meat alternate (1 ounce of nuts/seeds = 1 ounce of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish) 1/2 ounce = 50% 3/4 ounce = 50%.
Vegetable or Fruit: 2 or more servings of vegetables, fruits or both 1/2 cup 1/2 cup.
Grains/Breads (servings per week): Must be enriched or whole grain. A serving is a slice of bread or an equivalent serving of biscuits, rolls, etc., or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, macaroni, noodles, other pasta products or cereal grains 5 servings per week 3—minimum of 1/2 serving per day 8 servings per week 3—minimum of 1 serving per day.
(ii) Meat/meat alternate component.— The quantity of the meat/meat alternate component must be the edible portion as served. If the portion size of a food item for this component is excessive, the school must reduce that portion and supplement it with another meat/meat alternate to meet the full requirement. This component must be served in a main dish or in a main dish and only one other food item. Schools without daily choices in this component should not serve any one meat alternate or form of meat (for example, ground, diced, pieces) more than three times in the same week. Schools may adjust the daily quantities of this component provided that a minimum of one ounce is offered daily and the total weekly requirement is met over a five-day period.
(A) Enriched macaroni.— Enriched macaroni with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to this part may be used to meet part of the meat/meat alternate requirement when used as specified in appendix A to this part. An enriched macaroni product with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to this part may be used to meet part of the meat/meat alternate component or the grains/breads component but not as both food components in the same lunch.
(B) Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds and their butters are allowed as meat alternates in accordance with FNS guidance. Acorns, chestnuts, and coconuts must not be used because of their low protein and iron content. Nut and seed meals or flours may be used only as allowed under appendix A to this part. Nuts or seeds may be used to meet no more than one-half of the meat/meat alternate component with another meat/meat alternate to meet the full requirement.
(C) Yogurt. Yogurt may be used to meet all or part of the meat/meat alternate requirement. Yogurt may be plain or flavored, and unsweetened or sweetened. Noncommercial and/or non-standardized yogurt products, such as frozen yogurt, homemade yogurt, yogurt flavored products, yogurt bars, yogurt covered fruit and/or nuts or similar products are not creditable. Four ounces (weight) or 1/2 cup (volume) of yogurt equals one ounce of the meat/meat alternate requirement.
(iii) Vegetable/fruit component. Full strength vegetable or fruit juice may be used to meet no more than one-half of the vegetable/fruit requirement. Cooked dry beans or peas may be counted as either a vegetable or as a meat alternate but not as both in the same meal.
(iv) Grains/breads component—
(A) Enriched or whole grains. All grains/breads must be enriched or whole grain or made with enriched or whole grain meal or flour.
(B) Daily and weekly servings. The requirement for the grain/bread component is based on minimum daily servings plus total servings over a five day period. Schools serving lunch 6 or 7 days per week should increase the weekly quantity by approximately 20 percent (1/5th) for each additional day. When schools operate less than 5 days per week, they may decrease the weekly quantity by approximately 20 percent (1/5th) for each day less than five. The servings for biscuits, rolls, muffins, and other grain/bread varieties are specified in FNS guidance.
(C) Minimums under the traditional food-based menu planning approach. Schools must offer daily at least one-half serving of the grain/bread component to children in Group I and at least one serving to children in Group II. Schools which serve lunch at least 5 days a week shall serve a total of at least five servings of grains/breads to children in Group I and eight servings per week to children in Group II.
(D) Offer versus serve. Schools must offer all five required food items. At the school food authority's option, students in preschool may decline one or two of the five food items. The price of a reimbursable lunch does not change if the student does not take a food item or requests smaller portions.
(E) Meal pattern exceptions for outlying areas. Schools in American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may serve vegetables such as yams, plantains, or sweet potatoes to meet the grain/bread requirement.
(5) Fluid milk requirement. Schools must offer students in age group 1-2 fluid milk in a variety of fat contents, flavored or unflavored. Schools may also offer this age group lactose-free or reduced-lactose fluid milk. For students in age group 3-4, schools must offer fat-free milk (unflavored or flavored) and low-fat milk (unflavored only). Schools may also offer this age group lactose-free and reduced-lactose milk that is fat-free or low-fat. Students in age group 3-4 must be offered a variety (at least two different options) of fluid milk. All fluid milk served must be pasteurized fluid milk which meets State and local standards for such milk. All fluid milk must have vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration and must be consistent with State and local standards for such milk. Schools must also comply with other applicable milk requirements in § 210.10(d)(2) through (4) of this part.
(6) Menu choices. FNS encourages schools to offer children a selection of foods at lunch. Choices provide variety and encourage consumption. Schools may offer choices of reimbursable lunches or foods within a reimbursable lunch. Children who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches must be allowed to take any reimbursable lunch or any choices offered as part of a reimbursable lunch. Schools may establish different unit prices for each lunch offered provided that the benefits made available to children eligible for free or reduced price lunches are not affected.
(7) Requirements for lunch periods—
(i) Timing. Schools must offer lunches meeting the requirements of this section during the period the school has designated as the lunch period. Schools must offer lunches between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Schools may request an exemption from these times only from FNS.
(ii) Lunch periods for young children. With State agency approval, schools are encouraged to serve children ages 1 through 4 over two service periods. Schools may divide the quantities and/or the menu items, foods, or food items offered each time any way they wish.
(iii) Adequate lunch periods. FNS encourages schools to provide sufficient lunch periods that are long enough to give all students enough time to be served and to eat their lunches.
(8) Exceptions and variations allowed in reimbursable meals. Schools must comply with the requirements in § 210.10(m) of this part.
(9) Nutrition disclosure. If applicable, schools must follow the provisions on disclosure of Alternate Protein Products in § 210.10(n) of this part.
(10) State agency's responsibilities for monitoring lunches. As part of the administrative review authorized under § 210.18(g)(2) of this part, State agencies must evaluate compliance with the meal pattern requirements (food components and quantities) in paragraph (d) of this section. If the meals for preschoolers do not meet the requirements of this section, the State agency or school food authority must provide technical assistance and require the reviewed school to take corrective action. In addition, the State agency may take fiscal action as authorized in §§ 210.18(m) and 210.19(c) of this part.
(11) Requirements for the infant lunch pattern—
(i) Definitions—
(A) Infant cereal means any iron-fortified dry cereal, specially formulated and generally recognized as cereal for infants, that is routinely mixed with breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula prior to consumption.
(B) Infant formula means any iron-fortified formula intended for dietary use solely as a food for normal, healthy infants. Formulas specifically formulated for infants with inborn errors of metabolism or digestive or absorptive problems are not included in this definition. Infant formula, when served, must be in liquid state at recommended dilution.
(ii) Feeding lunches to infants. Lunches served to infants ages birth through 11 months must meet the requirements in paragraph (k)(5) of this section. Foods included in the lunch must be of a texture and a consistency that are appropriate for the age of the infant being served. The foods must be served during a span of time consistent with the infant's eating habits. For those infants whose dietary needs are more individualized, exceptions to the meal pattern must be made in accordance with the requirements found in § 210.10(m) of this part.
(iii) Breastmilk and iron-fortified formula. Either breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both, must be served for the entire first year. Meals containing breastmilk and meals containing iron-fortified infant formula served by the school are eligible for reimbursement. However, infant formula provided by a parent (or guardian) and breastmilk fed directly by the infant's mother, during a visit to the school, contribute to a reimbursable lunch only when the school supplies at least one component of the infant's meal.
(iv) Solid foods. For infants ages 4 through 7 months, solid foods of an appropriate texture and consistency are required only when the infant is developmentally ready to accept them. The school should consult with the infant's parent (or guardian) in making the decision to introduce solid foods. Solid foods should be introduced one at a time, on a gradual basis, with the intent of ensuring the infant's health and nutritional well-being.
(v) Infant meal pattern. Infant lunches must include, at a minimum, each of the food components indicated in Lunch Pattern for Infants table in the amount that is appropriate for the infant's age. For some breastfed infants who regularly consume less than the minimum amount of breastmilk per feeding, a serving of less than the minimum amount of breastmilk may be offered. In these situations, additional breastmilk must be offered if the infant is still hungry. Lunches may include portions of breastmilk and iron-fortified infant formula as long as the total number of ounces meets, or exceeds, the minimum amount required of this food component. Similarly, to meet the component requirements for vegetables and fruits, portions of both may be served. Infant lunches are reimbursable when schools provide all of the components in the Lunch Pattern for Infants table that the infant is developmentally ready to accept.
Lunch Pattern for Infants
Birth through 3 months 4 through 7 months 8 through 11 months
1 Infant formula and dry infant cereal must be iron-fortified.
2 Breastmilk or formula, or portions of both, may be served; however, it is recommended that breastmilk be served from birth through 11 months.
3 For some breastfed infants who regularly consume less than the minimum amount of breastmilk per feeding, a serving of less than the minimum amount of breastmilk may be offered, with additional breastmilk offered if the infant is still hungry.
4 A serving of this component is required only when the infant is developmentally ready to accept it.
4-6 fluid ounces of formula 1 or breastmilk 2 3 4-8 fluid ounces of formula 1 or breastmilk 2 3; and0-3 tablespoons of infant cereal 1 4; and 0-3 tablespoons of fruits or vegetables or both 4 6-8 fluid ounces of formula 1 or breastmilk 2 3; and2-4 tablespoons of infant cereal 1; and/or 1-4 tablespoons of meat, fish, poultry, egg yolk, cooked dry beans or peas; or
1/2-2 ounces of cheese, or1-4 ounces (volume) of cottage cheese; or
1-4 ounces (weight) of cheese food or cheese spread; and
1-4 tablespoons of fruits or vegetables or both.
[77 FR 4143, Jan. 26, 2012]

Title 7 published on 2014-01-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 7.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-06-27; vol. 79 # 124 - Friday, June 27, 2014
    1. 79 FR 36387 - National School Lunch Program: Independent Review of Applications Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010; Approval of Information Collection Request
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Food and Nutrition Service
      Final rule; Notice of approval of Information Collection Request (ICR).
      The ICR associated with the National School Lunch Program: Independent Review of Applications Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 rule published in the Federal Register on February 6, 2014 (79 FR 7049), and effective March 10, 2014, was approved by OMB on March 12, 2014.
      7 CFR Parts 210 and 245

Title 7 published on 2014-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 7 CFR 210 after this date.

  • 2014-06-27; vol. 79 # 124 - Friday, June 27, 2014
    1. 79 FR 36387 - National School Lunch Program: Independent Review of Applications Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010; Approval of Information Collection Request
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Food and Nutrition Service
      Final rule; Notice of approval of Information Collection Request (ICR).
      The ICR associated with the National School Lunch Program: Independent Review of Applications Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 rule published in the Federal Register on February 6, 2014 (79 FR 7049), and effective March 10, 2014, was approved by OMB on March 12, 2014.
      7 CFR Parts 210 and 245