7 CFR § 220.8 - Meal requirements for breakfasts.
(a) General requirements. This section contains the meal requirements applicable to school breakfasts for students in grades K through 12, and for children under the age of 5. In general, school food authorities must ensure that participating schools provide nutritious, well-balanced, and age-appropriate breakfasts to all the children they serve to improve their diet and safeguard their health.
(1) General nutrition requirements. School breakfasts offered to children age 5 and 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 breakfasts must meet the dietary specifications in paragraph (f) of this section. Schools offering breakfasts to children ages 1 to 4 and infants must meet the meal pattern requirements in paragraphs (o) and (p), as applicable, of this section. When breakfast is served in the cafeteria, schools must make potable water available and accessible without restriction to children at no charge.
(2) Unit pricing. Schools must price each meal as a unit. The price of a reimbursable lunch does not change if the student does not take a food item or requests smaller portions. 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).
(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 for students in grades K through 12 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 breakfasts. School breakfasts 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:
(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 as specified in paragraph (f) of this section; and
(iii) 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 the 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 as specified in paragraph (f) of this section;
|Food components||Breakfast meal pattern|
|Grades K-5||Grades 6-8||Grades 9-12|
|Amount of food a per week (minimum per day)|
|Fruits (cups) bc||5 (1)||5 (1)||5 (1)|
|Vegetables (cups) bc||0||0||0|
|Beans and peas (legumes)||0||0||0|
|Grains (oz. eq.) d||7-10 (1)||8-10 (1)||9-10 (1)|
|Meats/Meat Alternates (oz eq) e||0||0||0|
|Fluid milk (cups) f||5 (1)||5 (1)||5 (1)|
|Min-max calories (kcal) gh||350-500||400-550||450-600|
|Saturated fat (% of total calories) h||<10||<10||<10|
|Sodium (mg) hi||≤430||≤470||≤500|
||Nutrition label or manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of
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 Schools must offer 1 cup of fruit daily and 5 cups of fruit weekly. Vegetables may be substituted for fruits, but the first two cups per week of any such substitution must be from the dark green, red/orange, beans and peas (legumes) or “Other vegetables” subgroups, as defined in § 210.10(c)(2)(iii) of this chapter.
d All grains offered weekly must be whole grain-rich as specified in FNS guidance. Schools may substitute 1 oz. eq. of meat/meat alternate for 1 oz. eq. of grains after the minimum daily grains requirement is met.
e There is no meat/meat alternate requirement.
f All fluid milk must be low-fat (1 percent fat or less, unflavored) or fat-free (unflavored or flavored).
g The average daily calories for a 5-day school week menu must be within the range (at least the minimum and no more than the maximum values).
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 milk fat are not allowed.
i Final sodium targets (shown) must be met no later than July 1, 2022 (SY 2022-2023). The second intermediate target must be met no later than SY 2017-2018. See required intermediate specifications in § 220.8(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 the established age/grade groups, students in grades K-5 and grades 6-8 may be offered the same food quantities at breakfast 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 meal pattern in paragraph (c). Food component descriptions in § 210.10 of this chapter apply to this Program.
(i) Meats/meat alternates component. Schools are not required to offer meats/meat alternates as part of the breakfast menu. Schools may substitute meats/meat alternates for grains, after the daily grains requirement is met, to meet the weekly grains requirement. One ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternate is equivalent to one ounce equivalent of grains.
(A) Enriched macaroni. Enriched macaroni with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to part 210 may be used to meet part of the meats/meat alternates requirement when used as specified in appendix A to part 210. An enriched macaroni product with fortified protein as defined in appendix A to part 210 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 program 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 part 220. 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 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 daily the fruit quantities specified in the breakfast meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section. Fruits that are fresh; frozen without added sugar; canned in light syrup, water or fruit juice; or dried may be offered to meet the fruits component requirements. Vegetables may be offered in place of all or part of the required fruits at breakfast, but the first two cups per week of any such substitution must be from the dark green, red/orange, beans and peas (legumes) or other vegetable subgroups, as defined in this section. 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 fruit component.
(iii) Vegetables component. Schools are not required to offer vegetables as part of the breakfast menu but may offer vegetables to meet part or all of the fruit requirement. Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and dry beans and peas (legumes) may be offered to meet the fruit 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 tomato 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 vegetable 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.
(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 FNS guidance on grains. The whole grain-rich criteria included in FNS guidance may be updated to reflect additional information provided by industry on the food label or a whole grains definition by the Food and Drug Administration. Whole grain-rich products must contain at least 50 percent whole grains and the remaining grains in the product must be enriched. Schools may substitute meats/meat alternates for grains, after the daily grains requirement is met, to meet the weekly grains requirement. One ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternate is equivalent to one ounce equivalent of grains.
(B) Daily and weekly servings. The grains component is based on minimum daily servings plus total servings over a 5-day school week. Schools serving breakfast 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 5. The servings for biscuits, rolls, muffins, and other grain/bread varieties are specified in FNS guidance. All grains offered weekly must meet the whole grain-rich criteria specified in FNS guidance.
(d) Fluid milk requirement. Breakfast must include a serving of fluid milk as a beverage or on cereal or used in part for each purpose. Schools must offer students a variety (at least two different options) of fluid milk. All fluid milk must be fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1 percent fat or less). 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. Schools must also comply with other applicable fluid milk requirements in § 210.10(d)(1) through (4) of this chapter.
(e) Offer versus serve for grades K through 12. School breakfast must offer daily at least the three food components required in the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section. To exercise the offer versus serve option at breakfast, a school food authority or school must offer a minimum of four food items daily as part of the required components. Under offer versus serve, students are allowed to decline one of the four food items, provided that students select at least 1/2 cup of the fruit component for a reimbursable meal. If only three food items are offered at breakfast, school food authorities or schools may not exercise the offer versus serve option.
(f) Dietary specifications.
Calorie Ranges for Breakfast - Effective SY 2013-2014
a The average daily amount for a 5-day school 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.
|School breakfast program||Sodium timeline & limits|
|Age/grade group||Target 2:
July 1, 2017
July 1, 2022
(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 breakfasts that meet the meal pattern in paragraph (c) of this section, the dietary specifications for calorie, saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat established in paragraph (f) of this section, and the meal pattern in paragraphs (o) and (p) of this section, as applicable. Compliance assistance may be offered during training, onsite visits, and/or administrative reviews.
(h) State agency responsibilities for monitoring dietary specifications -
(1) Calories, saturated fat, and sodium. When required by the administrative review process set forth in § 210.18, the State agency must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis to evaluate the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium of the breakfasts offered during one week within the review period. The nutrient analysis must be conducted in accordance with the procedures established in § 210.10(i) of this chapter. If the results of the review indicate that the school breakfasts are not meeting the standards for calories, saturated fat, or 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 conducting an administrative review must review product labels of 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) Nutrient analyses of school meals. Any nutrient analysis of school breakfasts conducted under the administrative review process set forth in § 210.18 of this chapter must be performed in accordance with the procedures established in § 210.10(i) of this chapter. The purpose of the nutrient analysis is to determine the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the breakfasts offered to each age grade group over a school week.
(j) Responsibility for monitoring meal requirements. Compliance with the applicable breakfast requirements in paragraph (b) of this section, including the dietary specifications for calories, saturated fat, sodium and trans fat, and paragraphs (o) and (p) of this section will be monitored by the State agency through administrative reviews authorized in § 210.18 of this chapter.
(l) Requirements for breakfast period.
(o) Breakfast requirements for preschoolers -
(1) Breakfasts served to preschoolers. Schools serving breakfast to children ages 1 through 4 under the School Breakfast Program must serve the meal components and quantities required in the breakfast meal pattern established for the Child and Adult Care Food Program under § 226.20(a), (c)(1), and (d) of this chapter. In addition, schools serving breakfasts to this age group must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (g), (k), (l), and (m) of this section as applicable.
Preschool Breakfast Meal Pattern
|Food components and food items 1||Minimum quantities|
|Ages 1-2||Ages 3-5|
|Fluid Milk 2||4 fluid ounces||6 fluid ounces.|
|Vegetables, fruits, or portions of both 3||
|Grains (oz eq):
|Whole grain-rich or enriched bread||
|Whole grain-rich or enriched bread product, such as biscuit, roll, muffin||
|Whole grain-rich, enriched, or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, 7 cereal grain, and/or pasta||
|Whole grain-rich, enriched, or fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereal (dry, cold): 7|
|Flakes or rounds||
1 Must serve all three 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 Pasteurized full-strength juice may only be used to meet the vegetable or fruit requirement at one meal, including snack, per day.
4 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.
5 Meat and meat alternates may be used to meet the entire grains requirement a maximum of three times a week. One ounce of meat and meat alternates is equal to one ounce equivalent of grains.
6 Beginning October 1, 2021, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.
7 Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21.2 grams sucrose and other sugars per 100 grams of dry cereal).
(p) Breakfast requirements for infants -
(1) Breakfasts served to infants. Schools serving breakfasts to infants ages birth through 11 months under the School Breakfast Program must serve the food components and quantities required in the breakfast 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 breakfasts to infants must comply with the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a), (c)(3), (g), (k), (l), and (m) of this section as applicable.
Infant Breakfast Meal Pattern
|Age birth through 5 months||Age 6 through 11 months|
|4-6 fluid ounces breastmilk 1 or formula 2||6-8 fluid ounces breastmilk
1 or formula;
0-4 tablespoons infant cereal,
0-2 ounces of cheese; or
0-4 ounces (volume) of cottage cheese; or
0-4 ounces or
0-2 tablespoons vegetable or fruit, or a combination of both
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, 2021, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.
4 Yogurt 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.
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