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Child Nutrition Information

Child Nutrition Services
23 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0023
(207)624-6842
Fax (207)624-6841

Child Nutrition > Programs > National School Lunch Program

 

National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.

 

 

 

National School Lunch Meal Pattern (Printable PDF)

 

Amount of Food Per Week (Minimum Per Day)

K-5

 

K-8
6-8
9-12

Fruit (cups)

 

2 1/2 (1/2)
2 1/2 (1/2)
2 1/2 (1/2)
5 (1)

Vegetables (cups)

 

3 3/4 (3/4)
3 3/4 (3/4)
3 3/4 (3/4)
5 (1)

Dark Green

 

1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2

Red/Orange

 

3/4
3/4
3/4
1 1/4

Beans/Peas/Legumes

 

1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2

Starchy

 

1/2
1/2
1/2
3/4

Other

 

1/2
1/2
1/2
1 1/2

Additional Veg to Reach Total

 

1
1
1

Grains* (oz eq)

 

8 (1)
8 (1)
8 (1)
10 (2)

Meat/Meat Alternates (oz eq)

 

8 (1)
9 (1)
9 (1)
10 (2)
Fluid Milk (cups)
5 (1)
5 (1)
5 (1)
5 (1)

 

 

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

Min-Max Calories

 

 

550-650

 

600-650

 

600-700

 

 

750-850

Saturated Fat (% of total calories)

 

<10
<10
<10
<10

Sodium (mg)

 

<1230
<1230
<1360
<1420
Trans Fat: Nutrition label or manufacturer specifications must indicate zero grams of trans fat per serving.
 

*All grains offered will be whole grain rich in SY 2014-2015

Important Notes:
-Calorie ranges are weekly weighted values
-Sodium Standards are weekly weighted values that begin in School Year 2014-2015

 

 

Menu Planning Tools:

Crediting Guidance:

 

State of Maine Meal Pattern Resources:

Meal Pattern Production Records:

 

Federal Guidance Regarding the Meal Pattern:

Smart Snacks In Schools (Competitive Foods)

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to serve lunch every school day? Yes, the agreement the superintendent signs states lunch will be served each day.

Does this include early release days? Yes it is considered a school day.

What about Saturday if school is operating? If it is a required school day for all students then lunch will be offered.

Is the NSLP offered if a school allows students to obtain bag lunch after dismissal to take home? A self serve /bag lunch is not acceptable as a reimbursable meal to take home. National School Lunch Meals are intended to be consumed in the school. There are exceptions to bag lunches for special events.  Contact the State Agency for guidance and approval. (FNS 786-8)

During mid-terms and finals if a high school only requires students to be in attendance to the extent of their exams and exams are two sessions in the morning, does offering lunch after the second exam meet the requirement? The meal is offered, therefore the student can chose to leave or take part in the program. The lunch time should be scheduled as close to the regular time as possible.

What about field trips, community service days, freshman awareness program, and other programs conducted off campus? Is the school required to offer lunches to these students? Students that are off campus at a school sponsored/structured event are still eligible to participate in the NSLP.  As long as the meals met the meal pattern requirements and is served as part of the school structured event.  The events listed in this question would qualify as a school structured event in that the students are the responsibility of the school until they get back on campus or are released at a certain time from the events. (FNS 786-8)

Does this include High School? What about early release because of inclement weather? Yes it includes High School. In many cases the food is being prepared when early release is determined. So ye,s the students should be fed. However if it becomes a real safety issue other arrangements will need to be made. Keep in mind this is a huge financial loss to the program because product and labor will be wasted.