7 CFR 226.20 - Requirements for meals.
(a)Food components. Except as otherwise provided in this section, each meal served in the Program must contain, at a minimum, the indicated food components:
(1)Fluid milk. Fluid milk must be served as a beverage or on cereal, or a combination of both, as follows:
(iv)Adults. Adults must be served unflavored low-fat (1 percent), unflavored fat-free (skim), or flavored fat-free (skim) milk. Six ounces (weight) or 3/4 cup (volume) of yogurt may be used to fulfill the equivalent of 8 ounces of fluid milk once per day. Yogurt may be counted as either a fluid milk substitute or as a meat alternate, but not as both in the same meal.
(2)Vegetables. A serving may contain fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables, dry beans and peas (legumes), or vegetable juice. All vegetables are credited based on their volume as served, except that 1 cup of leafy greens counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables.
(i) Pasteurized, full-strength vegetable juice may be used to fulfill the entire requirement. Vegetable juice or fruit juice may only be served at one meal, including snack, per day.
(ii) Cooked dry beans or dry peas may be counted as either a vegetable or as a meat alternate, but not as both in the same meal.
(3)Fruits. A serving may contain fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruits, or fruit juice. All fruits are based on their volume as served, except that 1/4 cup of dried fruit counts as 1/2 cup of fruit.
(i) Pasteurized, full-strength fruit juice may be used to fulfill the entire requirement. Fruit juice or vegetable juice may only be served at one meal, including snack, per day.
(ii) A vegetable may be used to meet the entire fruit requirement at lunch and supper. When two vegetables are served at lunch or supper, two different kinds of vegetables must be served.
(i)Enriched and whole grains. All grains must be made with enriched or whole grain meal or flour.
(A) At least one serving per day, across all eating occasions of bread, cereals, and grains, must be whole grain-rich. Whole grain-rich foods contain at least 50 percent whole grains and the remaining grains in the food are enriched, and must meet the whole grain-rich criteria specified in FNS guidance.
(B) A serving may contain whole grain-rich or enriched bread, cornbread, biscuits, rolls, muffins, and other bread products; or whole grain-rich, enriched, or fortified cereal grain, cooked pasta or noodle products, or breakfast cereal; or any combination of these foods.
(ii)Breakfast cereals. Breakfast cereals are those as defined by the Food and Drug Administration in 21 CFR 170.3(n)(4) for ready-to-eat and instant and regular hot cereals. 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).
(iii)Desserts. Grain-based desserts do not count towards meeting the grains requirement.
(5)Meat and meat alternates.
(i) Meat and meat alternates must be served in a main dish, or in a main dish and one other menu item. The creditable quantity of meat and meat alternates must be the edible portion as served of:
(A) Lean meat, poultry, or fish;
(B) Alternate protein products;
(C) Cheese, or an egg;
(D) Cooked dry beans or peas;
(E) Peanut butter; or
(F) Any combination of these foods.
(ii)Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds and their butters are allowed as meat alternates in accordance with FNS guidance. For lunch and supper meals, nuts or seeds may be used to meet one-half of the meat and meat alternate component. They must be combined with other meat and meat alternates to meet the full requirement for a reimbursable lunch or supper.
(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 because of their low protein and iron content.
(iii)Yogurt. Four ounces (weight) or 1/2 cup (volume) of yogurt equals one ounce of the meat and meat alternate component. Yogurt may be used to meet all or part of the meat and meat alternate component as follows:
(A) Yogurt may be plain or flavored, unsweetened, or sweetened;
(B) Yogurt must contain no more than 23 grams of total sugars per 6 ounces;
(C) Noncommercial or commercial standardized yogurt products, such as frozen yogurt, drinkable yogurt products, homemade yogurt, yogurt flavored products, yogurt bars, yogurt covered fruits or nuts, or similar products are not creditable; and
(iv)Tofu and soy products. Commercial tofu and soy products may be used to meet all or part of the meat and meat alternate component in accordance with FNS guidance and appendix A of this part. Non-commercial and non-standardized tofu and soy products cannot be used.
(v)Beans and peas (legumes). Cooked dry beans and peas may be used to meet all or part of the meat and meat alternate component. Beans and peas include black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, kidney beans, mature lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and split peas. Beans and peas may be counted as either a meat alternate or as a vegetable, but not as both in the same meal.
(vi)Other meat alternates. Other meat alternates, such as cheese, eggs, and nut butters may be used to meet all or part of the meat and meat alternate component.
(b)Infant meals -
(1)Feeding infants. Foods in reimbursable meals served to infants ages birth through 11 months must be of a texture and a consistency that are appropriate for the age and development of the infant being fed. Foods must also be served during a span of time consistent with the infant's eating habits.
(2)Breastmilk and iron-fortified formula. Breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both, must be served to infants birth through 11 months of age. An institution or facility must offer at least one type of iron-fortified infant formula. Meals containing breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula supplied by the institution or facility, or by the parent or guardian, are eligible for reimbursement.
(i)Parent or guardian provided breastmilk or iron-fortified formula. A parent or guardian may choose to accept the offered formula, or decline the offered formula and supply expressed breastmilk or an iron-fortified infant formula instead. Meals in which a mother directly breastfeeds her child at the child care institution or facility are also eligible for reimbursement. When a parent or guardian chooses to provide breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula and the infant is consuming solid foods, the institution or facility must supply all other required meal components in order for the meal to be reimbursable.
(ii)Breastfed infants. 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 at a later time if the infant will consume more.
(3)Solid foods. The gradual introduction of solid foods may begin at six months of age, or before or after six months of age if it is developmentally appropriate for the infant and in accordance with FNS guidance.
(4)Infant meal pattern. Infant meals must have, at a minimum, each of the food components indicated, in the amount that is appropriate for the infant's age.
(i)Birth through 5 months -
(A)Breakfast. Four to 6 fluid ounces of breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both.
(B)Lunch or supper. Four to 6 fluid ounces of breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both.
(C)Snack. Four to 6 fluid ounces of breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both.
(ii)6 through 11 months. Breastmilk or iron-fortified formula, or portions of both, is required. Meals are reimbursable when institutions and facilities provide all the components in the meal pattern that the infant is developmentally ready to accept.
(A)Breakfast, lunch, or supper. Six to 8 fluid ounces of breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, or portions of both; and 0 to 4 tablespoons of iron-fortified dry infant cereal, meat, fish, poultry, whole egg, cooked dry beans, or cooked dry peas; or 0 to 2 ounces (weight) of cheese; or 0 to 4 ounces (volume) of cottage cheese; or 0 to 4 ounces of yogurt; and 0 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable, fruit, or portions of both. Fruit juices and vegetable juices must not be served.
(B)Snack. Two to 4 fluid ounces of breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula; and 0 to 1/2 slice bread; or 0-2 crackers; or 0-4 tablespoons infant cereal or ready-to-eat cereals; and 0 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable or fruit, or portions of both. Fruit juices and vegetable juices must not be served. A serving of grains must be whole grain-rich, enriched meal, or enriched flour.
(5)Infant meal pattern table. The minimum amounts of food components to serve to infants, as described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, are:
(c)Meal patterns for children age 1 through 18 and adult participants. Institutions and facilities must serve the food components and quantities specified in the following meal patterns for children and adult participants in order to qualify for reimbursement.
(1)Breakfast. Fluid milk, vegetables or fruit, or portions of both, and grains are required components of the breakfast meal. Meat and meat alternates may be used to meet the entire grains requirement a maximum of three times per week. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at breakfast are as follows:
(2)Lunch and supper. Fluid milk, meat and meat alternates, vegetables, fruits, and grains are required components in the lunch and supper meals. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at lunch and supper are as follows:
(3)Snack. Serve two of the following five components: Fluid milk, meat and meat alternates, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Fruit juice, vegetable juice, and milk may comprise only one component of the snack. The minimum amounts of food components to be served at snacks are as follows:
(d)Food preparation. Deep-fat fried foods that are prepared on-site cannot be part of the reimbursable meal. For this purpose, deep-fat frying means cooking by submerging food in hot oil or other fat. Foods that are pre-fried, flash-fried, or par-fried by a commercial manufacturer may be served, but must be reheated by a method other than frying.
(e)Unavailability of fluid milk -
(1)Temporary. When emergency conditions prevent an institution or facility normally having a supply of milk from temporarily obtaining milk deliveries, the State agency may approve the service of breakfast, lunches, or suppers without milk during the emergency period.
(2)Continuing. When an institution or facility is unable to obtain a supply of milk on a continuing basis, the State agency may approve service of meals without milk, provided an equivalent amount of canned, whole dry or fat-free dry milk is used in the preparation of the components of the meal set forth in paragraph (a) of this section.
(f)Statewide substitutions. In American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, the following variations from the meal requirements are authorized: a serving of starchy vegetable, such as yams, plantains, or sweet potatoes, may be substituted for the grains requirement.
(g)Exceptions and variations in reimbursable meals -
(1)Exceptions for disability reasons. Reasonable substitutions must be made on a case-by-case basis for foods and meals described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section for individual participants who are considered to have a disability under 7 CFR 15b.3 and whose disability restricts their diet.
(i) A written statement must support the need for the substitution. The statement must include recommended alternate foods, unless otherwise exempted by FNS, and must be signed by a licensed physician or licensed health care professional who is authorized by State law to write medical prescriptions.
(ii) A parent, guardian, adult participant, or a person on behalf of an adult participant may supply one or more components of the reimbursable meal as long as the institution or facility provides at least one required meal component.
(2)Exceptions for non-disability reasons. Substitutions may be made on a case-by-case basis for foods and meals described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section for individual participants without disabilities who cannot consume the regular meal because of medical or special dietary needs.
(i) A written statement must support the need for the substitution. The statement must include recommended alternate foods, unless otherwise exempted by FNS. Except for substitutions of fluid milk, as set forth below, the statement must be signed by a recognized medical authority.
(ii) A parent, guardian, adult participant, or a person on behalf of an adult participant may supply one component of the reimbursable meal as long as the component meets the requirements described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section and the institution or facility provides the remaining components.
(3)Fluid milk substitutions for non-disability reasons. Non-dairy fluid milk substitutions that provide the nutrients listed in the following table and are fortified in accordance with fortification guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration may be provided for non-disabled children and adults who cannot consume fluid milk due to medical or special dietary needs when requested in writing by the child's parent or guardian, or by, or on behalf of, an adult participant. An institution or facility need only offer the non-dairy beverage that it has identified as an allowable fluid milk substitute according to the following table.
|Nutrient||Per cup (8 fl oz)|
|Vitamin A||500 IU.|
|Vitamin D||100 IU.|
|Vitamin B-12||1.1 mcg.|
(h)Special variations. FNS may approve variations in the food components of the meals on an experimental or continuing basis in any institution or facility where there is evidence that such variations are nutritionally sound and are necessary to meet ethnic, religious, economic, or physical needs.
(i)Meals prepared in schools. The State agency must allow institutions and facilities which serve meals to children 5 years old and older and are prepared in schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to substitute the meal pattern requirements of the regulations governing those Programs ( 7 CFR parts 210 and 220, respectively) for the meal pattern requirements contained in this section.
(j)Meal planning. Institutions and facilities must plan for and order meals on the basis of current participant trends, with the objective of providing only one meal per participant at each meal service. Records of participation and of ordering or preparing meals must be maintained to demonstrate positive action toward this objective. In recognition of the fluctuation in participation levels which makes it difficult to estimate precisely the number of meals needed and to reduce the resultant waste, any excess meals that are ordered may be served to participants and may be claimed for reimbursement, unless the State agency determines that the institution or facility has failed to plan and prepare or order meals with the objective of providing only one meal per participant at each meal service.
(k)Time of meal service. State agencies may require any institution or facility to allow a specific amount of time to elapse between meal services or require that meal services not exceed a specified duration.
(l)Sanitation. Institutions and facilities must ensure that in storing, preparing, and serving food proper sanitation and health standards are met which conform with all applicable State and local laws and regulations. Institutions and facilities must ensure that adequate facilities are available to store food or hold meals.
(n)Family style meal service. Family style is a type of meal service which allows children and adults to serve themselves from common platters of food with the assistance of supervising adults. Institutions and facilities choosing to exercise this option must be in compliance with the following practices:
(1) A sufficient amount of prepared food must be placed on each table to provide the full required portions of each of the components, as outlined in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section, for all children or adults at the table and to accommodate supervising adults if they wish to eat with the children and adults.
(2) Children and adults must be allowed to serve the food components themselves, with the exception of fluids (such as milk). During the course of the meal, it is the responsibility of the supervising adults to actively encourage each child and adult to serve themselves the full required portion of each food component of the meal pattern. Supervising adults who choose to serve the fluids directly to the children or adults must serve the required minimum quantity to each child or adult.
(p)Prohibition on using foods and beverages as punishments or rewards. Meals served under this part must contribute to the development and socialization of children. Institutions and facilities must not use foods and beverages as punishments or rewards.
- 7 CFR 226.6 — State Agency Administrative Responsibilities.
- 7 CFR 226.19 — Outside-School-Hours Care Center Provisions.
- 7 CFR 226.2 — Definitions.
- 7 CFR 226.17a — At-Risk Afterschool Care Center Provisions.
- 7 CFR 226.14 — Claims Against Institutions.
- 7 CFR 226.17 — Child Care Center Provisions.
- 7 CFR 220.8 — Meal Requirements for Breakfasts.
- 7 CFR 210.10 — Meal Requirements for Lunches and Requirements for Afterschool Snacks.
- 7 CFR 226.19a — Adult Day Care Center Provisions.
- 7 CFR 226.18 — Day Care Home Provisions.