Overview and History of School Food Service

Norwin Food Service staff prepares and serves over 400 breakfasts and 3500 lunches per day. School food service is the world's largest food service business, serving more meals a day than the fast food industry. School lunch has often been referred to as the original fast food operation: serving millions of lunches across the United States in a time span of 1 1/2 hours.
 
The National School Lunch Act of 1946 established the National School Lunch Program to safeguard the health and well being of our nation's children. Studies found that the overall health of Americans was poor and many were malnourished. Minimum nutritional requirements were defined. Prior to 1946, school lunches were done primarily by volunteer groups serving mostly cold lunches.
 
 
 

Final Rule Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs – Jan. 2012

 

Breakfast Meal Pattern

Lunch Meal Pattern

 

Grades  K-5a

Grades  6-8a

Grades 9-12a

Grades    K-5

Grades  6-8 

Grades 9-12 

Meal Pattern

Amount of Foodb  Per Week (Minimum Per Day)

Fruits (cups)c,d

5 (1) e

5 (1) e

5 (1) e

2 ½  (½)

2 ½  (½)

5 (1)

Vegetables (cups)c,d

0

0

0

½

½

½

       Dark greenf

0

0

0

¾

¾

¾

       Red/Orangef

0

0

0

½

½

½

       Beans/Peas               (Legumes)f

0

0

0

½

½

½

       Starchyf

0

0

0

½

½

½

       Otherf,g

0

0

0

½

½

¾

Additional Veg to Reach Totalh

0

0

0

1

1

1 ½

Grains (oz eq) i

7-10 (1) j

8-10 (1) j

9-10 (1) j

8-9 (1)

8-10 (1)

10-12 (1)

Meats/Meat Alternates (oz eq)

0 k

0 k

0 k

8-10 (1)

9-10 (1)

10-12 (1)

Fluid milk (cups) l

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

5 (1)

Other Specifications:  Daily Amount Based on the Average for a 5-Day Week

Min-max calories (kcal)m,n,o

350-500

400-550

450-600

550-650

600-700

750-850

Saturated fat             (% of total calories)n,o

< 10

< 10

< 10

< 10

< 10

< 10

Sodium (mg)n,p

< 430

< 470

< 500

< 640

< 710

< 740

Trans fatn,o

Nutrition label or manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving.

aIn the SBP, the above age-grade groups are required beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-14).  In SY 2012-2013 only, schools may continue to use the meal pattern for grades K-12 (see §220.23).

bFood items included in each food group and subgroup and amount equivalents.  Minimum creditable serving is ⅛ cup.

cOne quarter-cup of dried fruit counts as ½ cup of fruit; 1 cup of leafy greens counts as ½ 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.

dFor breakfast, 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).

eThe fruit quantity requirement for the SBP (5 cups/week and a minimum of 1 cup/day) is effective July 1, 2014 (SY 2014-2015).

fLarger amounts of these vegetables may be served.

gThis category consists of “Other vegetables” as defined in §210.10(c)(2)(iii)(E).  For the purposes of the NSLP, “Other vegetables” requirement may be met with any additional amounts from the dark green, red/orange, and beans/peas (legumes) vegetables subgroups as defined in §210.10(c)(2)(iii).

hAny vegetable subgroup may be offered to meet the total weekly vegetable requirement.

iAt least half of the grains offered must be whole grain-rich in the NSLP beginning July 1, 2012 (SY 2012-2013), and in the SBP beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014).  All grains must be whole grain-rich in both the NSLP and the SBP beginning July 1, 2014 (SY 2014-2015).

jIn the SBP, the grain ranges must be offered beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014).

kThere is no separate meat/meat alternate component in the SBP.  Beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014), schools may substitute 1 oz. eq. of meat/meat alternate for 1 oz. eq. of grains after the minimum daily grains requirement is met.

lFluid milk must be low-fat (1 percent milk fat or less, unflavored) or fat-free (unflavored or flavored).

mThe average daily amount of calories for a 5-day school week must be within the range (at least the minimum and no more than the maximum values).

nDiscretionary 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.

oIn the SBP, calories and trans fat specifications take effect beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014).

pFinal sodium specifications are to be reached by SY 2022-2023 or July 1, 2022.  Intermediate sodium specifications are established for SY 2014-2015 and 2017-2018.  See required intermediate specifications in §210.10(f) (3) for lunches and §220.8(f)(3) for breakfast.

 
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