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 through 4 and infants must meet the meal pattern requirements in paragraph (p) of this section. Schools must make potable water available and accessible without restriction to children at no charge in the place(s) where lunches are served during the meal service.

(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.

(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
Amount of food a per week
(minimum per day)
Fruits (cups) b 2 1/2 ( 1/2) 2 1/2 ( 1/2) 5 (1)
Vegetables (cups) b 3 3/4 ( 3/4) 3 3/4 ( 3/4) 5 (1)
Dark green c 1/2 1/2 1/2
Red/Orange c 3/4 3/4 1 1/4
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 1 1/2 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.

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).

(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 ppendix 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 50 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 for grades K through 12. 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 components 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
Min-max calories (kcal) ab 550-650 600-700 750-850

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.

(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)
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

1 SNDA-III.

(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; the calorie, saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat specifications established in paragraph (f) of this section; and the meal pattern requirements in paragraphs (o), (p), and (q) of this section as applicable. 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, and paragraphs (o), (p), and (q) of this section, as applicable, will be monitored by the State agency through administrative reviews authorized in § 210.18.

(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. With State agency approval, schools may serve lunches to children under age 5 over two service periods. Schools may divide quantities and food items offered each time any way they wish.

(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 snack requirements for grades K through 12. Afterschool snacks must 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, including nuts and seeds and their butters listed in FNS guidance that are nutritionally comparable to meat or other meat alternates based on available nutritional data.

(A) Nut and seed meals or flours may be used only if they meet the requirements for alternate protein products established in appendix A of this part.

(B) Acorns, chestnuts, and coconuts cannot be used as meat alternates due to their low protein and iron content.

(iii) A serving of vegetable or fruit, or full-strength vegetable or fruit juice, or an equivalent quantity of any combination of these foods. Juice must 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 snack requirements for preschoolers -

(i) Snacks served to preschoolers. Schools serving afterschool snack to children ages 1 through 4 must serve the food components and quantities required in the snack meal pattern established for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, under § 226.20(a), (c)(3), and (d) of this chapter. In addition, schools serving afterschool snacks to this age group must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (4), and (7), (d)(2) through (4), (g), and (m) of this section.

(ii) Preschooler snack meal pattern table. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at snack are as follows:

Preschool Snack Meal Pattern

Ages 1-2 Ages 3-5
Food Components and Food Items 1 Minimum Quantities
Fluid milk 2 3 4 fluid ounces 4 fluid ounces.
Meats/meat alternates
Edible portion as served:
Lean meat, poultry, or fish 1/2 ounce 1/2 ounce.
Tofu, soy products, or alternate protein products 4 1/2 ounce 1/2 ounce.
Cheese 1/2 ounce 1/2 ounce.
Large egg 1/2 1/2.
Cooked dry beans or peas 1/8 cup 1/8 cup.
Peanut butter or soy nut butter or other nut or seed butters 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp.
Yogurt, plain or flavored unsweetened or sweetened 5 2 ounces or 1/4 cup 2 ounces or 1/4 cup.
Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts, or seeds 1/2 ounce 1/2 ounce.
Vegetables 3 1/2 cup 1/2 cup.
Fruits 3 1/2 cup 1/2 cup.
Grains (oz eq) 6 7
Whole grain-rich or enriched bread 1/2 slice 1/2 slice.
Whole grain-rich or enriched bread product, such as biscuit, roll, muffin 1/2 serving 1/2 serving.
Whole grain-rich, enriched or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, 8 cereal grain, and/or pasta 1/4 cup 1/4 cup.
Whole grain-rich, enriched or fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereal (dry, cold) 8 9
Flakes or rounds 1/2 cup 1/2 cup.
Puffed cereal 3/4 cup 3/4 cup.
Granola 1/8 cup 1/8 cup.

1 Select two of the five components for a reimbursable snack. Only one of the two components may be a beverage.

2 Must be unflavored whole milk for children age one. Must be unflavored low-fat (1 percent) or unflavored fat-free (skim) milk for children two through five years old.

3 Pasteurized full-strength juice may only be used to meet the vegetable or fruit requirement at one meal, including snack, per day.

4 Alternate protein products must meet the requirements in appendix A to part 226 of this chapter.

5 Yogurt must contain no more than 23 grams of total sugars per 6 ounces.

6 At least one serving per day, across all eating occasions, must be whole grain-rich. Grain-based desserts do not count towards meeting the grains requirement.

7 Beginning October 1, 2019, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.

8 Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21 grams sucrose and other sugars 100 grams of dry cereal).

9 Beginning October 1, 2019, the minimum serving sizes specified in this section for ready-to-eat breakfast cereals must be served. Until October 1, 2019, the minimum serving size for any type of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals is 1/4 cup for children ages 1-2, and 1/3 cup for children ages 3-5.

(4) Afterschool snack requirements for infants -

(i) Snacks served to infants. Schools serving afterschool snacks to infants ages birth through 11 months must serve the food components and quantities required in the snack meal pattern established for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, under § 226.20(a), (b), and (d) of this chapter. In addition, schools serving afterschool snacks to infants must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (4), and (7), (g), and (m) of this section.

(ii) Infant snack meal pattern table. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at snack are as follows:

Infant Snack Meal Pattern

Infants Birth through 5 months 6 through 11 months
Snack 4-6 fluid ounces breastmilk 1 or formula 2 2-4 fluid ounces breastmilk 1 or formula 2; and
0- 1/2 slice bread 3 4; or
0-2 cracker 3 4; or
0-4 tablespoons infant cereal 2 3 4 or ready-to-eat breakfast cereal 3 4 5 6; and
0-2 tablespoons vegetable or fruit, or a combination of both 5 7

1 Breastmilk or formula, or portions of both, must be served; however, it is recommended that breastmilk be served in place of formula from birth through 11 months. 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 at a later time if the infant will consume more.

2 Infant formula and dry infant cereal must be iron-fortified.

3 A serving of grains must be whole grain-rich, enriched meal, or enriched flour.

4 Beginning October 1, 2019, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.

5 A serving of this component is required when the infant is developmentally ready to accept it.

6 Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21 grams sucrose and other sugars per 100 grams of dry cereal).

7 Fruit and vegetable juices must not be served.

(p) Lunch requirements for preschoolers -

(1) Lunches served to preschoolers. Schools serving lunches to children ages 1 through 4 under the National School Lunch Program must serve the food components and quantities required in the lunch meal pattern established for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, under § 226.20(a), (c)(2), and (d) of this chapter. In addition, schools serving lunches to this age group must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (4), and (7), (d)(2) through (4), (g), (k), (l), and (m) of this section.

(2) Preschooler lunch meal pattern table. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at lunch are as follows:

Preschool Lunch Meal Pattern

Ages 1-2 Ages 3-5
Food Components and Food Items 1 Minimum Quantities
Fluid milk 2 4 fluid ounces 6 fluid ounces.
Meat/meat alternates
Edible portion as served:
Lean meat, poultry, or fish 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Tofu, soy products, or alternate protein products 3 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Cheese 1 ounce 1 1/2 ounces.
Large egg 1/2 3/4.
Cooked dry beans or peas 1/4 cup 3/8 cup.
Peanut butter or soy nut butter or other nut or seed butters 2 Tbsp 3 Tbsp.
Yogurt, plain or flavored unsweetened or sweetened 4 4 ounces or 1/2 cup 6 ounces or 3/4 cup.
The following may be used to meet no more than 50 percent of the requirement:
Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts, or seeds, as listed in program guidance, or an equivalent quantity of any combination of the above meat/meat alternates (1 ounce of nuts/seeds = 1 ounce of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish) 1/2 ounce = 50% 3/4 ounce = 50%.
Vegetables 5 1/8 cup 1/4 cup.
Fruits 5 6 1/8 cup 1/4 cup
Grains (oz eq) 7 8
Whole grain-rich or enriched bread 1/2 slice 1/2 slice.
Whole grain-rich or enriched bread product, such as biscuit, roll, muffin 1/2 serving 1/2 serving.
Whole grain-rich, enriched or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, 9 cereal grain, and/or pasta 1/4 cup 1/4 cup.

1 Must serve all five components for a reimbursable meal.

2 Must be unflavored whole milk for children age one. Must be unflavored low-fat (1 percent) or unflavored fat-free (skim) milk for children two through five years old.

3 Alternate protein products must meet the requirements in appendix A to part 226 of this chapter.

4 Yogurt must contain no more than 23 grams of total sugars per 6 ounces.

5 Pasteurized full-strength juice may only be used to meet the vegetable or fruit requirement at one meal, including snack, per day.

6 A vegetable may be used to meet the entire fruit requirement. When two vegetables are served at lunch or supper, two different kinds of vegetables must be served.

7 At least one serving per day, across all eating occasions, must be whole grain-rich. Grain-based desserts do not count towards the grains requirement.

8 Beginning October 1, 2019, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of the creditable grain.

9 Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21 grams sucrose and other sugars per 100 grams of dry cereal).

(q) Lunch requirements for infants -

(1) Lunches served to infants. Schools serving lunches to infants ages birth through 11 months under the National School Lunch Program must serve the food components and quantities required in the lunch meal pattern established for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, under § 226.20(a), (b), and (d) of this chapter. In addition, schools serving lunches to infants must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (4), and (7), (g), (l), and (m) of this section.

(2) Infant lunch meal pattern table. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at lunch are as follows:

Infant Lunch Meal Pattern

Infants Birth through 5 months 6 through 11 months
Lunch 4-6 fluid ounces breastmilk 1 or formula 2 6-8 fluid ounces breastmilk 1 or formula 2; and
0-4 tablespoons
infant cereal 2 3
meat,
fish,
poultry,
whole egg,
cooked dry beans, or
cooked dry peas; or
0-2 ounces of cheese; or
0-4 ounces (volume) of cottage cheese; or,
0-8 ounces or 1 cup of yogurt 4; or a combination of the above 5; and
0-2 tablespoons vegetable or fruit, or a combination of both 5 6

1 Breastmilk or formula, or portions of both, must be served; however, it is recommended that breastmilk be served in place of formula from birth through 11 months. 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 at a later time if the infant will consume more.

2 Infant formula and dry infant cereal must be iron-fortified.

3 Beginning October 1, 2019, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.

4Yogurt must contain no more than 23 grams of total sugars per 6 ounces.

5 A serving of this component is required when the infant is developmentally ready to accept it.

6 Fruit and vegetable juices must not be served.

[77 FR 4143, Jan. 26, 2012, as amended at 78 FR 13448, Feb. 28, 2013; 78 FR 39090, June 28, 2013; 81 FR 24372, Apr. 25, 2016]

Title 7 published on 2015-01-01

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

  • 2015-05-11; vol. 80 # 90 - Monday, May 11, 2015
    1. 80 FR 26846 - Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Food and Nutrition Service
      Proposed rule.
      To be assured of consideration, written comments on this proposed rule must be received by July 10, 2015.
      7 CFR Parts 210, 215, 220 and 235