Meal Patterns 2012 - Moving Forward Together! The final rule for nutrition standards in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program was released January 26, 2012. It brings a new pattern to plan menus for school meals which align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. This is not just another option for menu planning but the only option for menu planning starting July 1, 2012. Being in compliance with the new standards will qualify schools for an additional 6 cents for every reimbursable lunch (free, reduced, and paid) starting October 1, 2012.
Click here to view four new videos available to assist in communicating changes in the school lunch program.
Each four- to seven-minute video is targeted to a different age group: elementary, middle school, high school, and adult.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires the additional 6 cents per lunch reimbursement be provided to school food authorities (SFAs) certified by a State agency to be in compliance with the new meal pattern requirements. The additional 6 cents per lunch is intended to assist SFAs in meeting the new meal patterns and becomes available October 1, 2012 to SFAs certified by the State agency to be in compliance. While there is no deadline for submitting certification documentation, all SFAs are required to meet the new meal patterns effective July 1, 2012.
For more information and links to USDA required forms, click here.
Click a video or transcript icon below to open it in a new window.
This webcast, originally delivered on March 15, 2012, explains an overview of the new meal patterns and new nutrition standards included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Q & A from the 3/15/12 Webinar
Gives a short overview of the new meal patterns and the timeline for implementation.
Provides additional information about the grain/bread requirements in the new meal patterns including the revised grain/bread chart from USDA.
Whole-Grain Rich Ounce Equivalency Requirements for School Meal Programs
Gives additional information about the nutrient standards for calories, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat with the new meal patterns and reviews the timeline for implementation.
Provides additional information about the requirements for the meat/meat alternate and milk components in the new meal patterns.
Gives additional information about offer vs. serve under the new meal patterns as well as answers questions about food bars, multiple menu choices, and multiple serving lines.
Provides additional information about the fruit requirements in the new meal patterns.
Provides additional information about the vegetable requirements in the new meal patterns.
Reviews changes that will be made in monitoring school meals programs, timelines(but not details) for implementation of the additional six-cent reimbursement for compliance with the new meal patterns, and resources available to help schools implement the new meal patterns.
K-12 Menu Planning Tool
This K-12 menu planning tool is designed to assist in evaluating whether minimum and maximum servings from each food group are included in weekly menus. There are rows for each of the food groups as well as each of the vegetable subgroups so they can be totaled weekly.
Menu Planning Tool for Multiple Entrees - Updated 06/15/2012
The MSExcel Spreasheet Menu Planning Tool contains formulas to evaluate whether the daily required vegetable servings, weekly required vegetable subgroup servings, and weeky minimum and maximum requirements for other food groups are met.
New Meal Pattern Food Production Record - Updates 08/27/2012
Food Production records are required daily documentation of specific food items offered to meet the meal pattern. This MSExcel workbook contians one sheet for lunch, with 3 grade groupings and adult/a la carte servings, one daily food bar sheet wih space to identify servings for 3 grade groupings and adult/a la carte, a daily tranport sheet, and a sheet for breakfast. Do Not use the breakfast sheet until SY2013-14. Please continue to use existing forms for this next school year.
Chef Cyndie Story Recipes
Ten new recipes that were developed, tested, and standardized by Chef Cyndie Story to assist schools with incorporating more dark green, orange/red vegetables, legumes, and whole grains into school meals. The recipes are a supplement to the existing Iowa Gold Star Recipes and can be a tool for schools as they work towards meeting the new meal pattern requirements.
Standardized Recipe Template
Standardized recipes are required for any menu item indicated on a production record that contains more than one ingredient, such as beef stir-fry, seasoned vegetables, and sandwiches. This MSWord template is comprehensive, adaptable and includes steps to standardize a recipe.
Menu, Recipe and Tools to Meet the New Meal Pattern
Healthier Kansas Menus
These breakfast and lunch menus meet the new menu pattern, HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Level requirements, and the Exemplary Level nutrition requirements of the Kansas School Wellness Policy Model Guidelines. Nutrient analysis, recipes, preparation instructions, serving tips, production records and a purchasing guide are available for both the 4-week breakfast menu cycle and 6-week lunch menu cycles. Click here.
Iowa Gold Star Cycle Menu and Recipes
These 5-week seasonal menus offer increased whole grains, fruits and vegetables and legumes, optional locally grown Iowa produce, and healthy USDA Foods. Seven schools pilot tested the menus and recipes in Fall 2010. The toolkit includes menu, recipes, shopping list, Nutrikids nutritional analysis, technical assistance materials, and produce merchandising resources. Click here.
Best Practice Sharing Center
This collection is intended for School Food Authorities and State Agencies to share resources and tools they use to serve healthy menus that meet school meal regulations. Search by “planning tools” to locate We Can Do This: Advice and Resources for Meeting the New Meal Pattern, a resource submitted by the School Nutrition Association. Click here.
Build a Healthy Lunch Reimbursable Meal Identification System
Iowa Team Nutrition has developed this reimbursable meal identification kit to assist students in selecting their meal choices and will reduce unintentional purchase of food items not included in the reimbursable meal. The kit was designed to help identify foods that are part of the reimbursable meal for the day at the near or beginning of the serving line (s) and allow schools to be in compliance of the "Identification of Reimbursable Meals" regulation that is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Mini Tray Sign (.jpeg)
Colored Tray (.jpeg)
The following tools have been developed to help school nutrition programs communicate effectively with the school staff, parents and the community about the needs and value of the child nutrition program. Each tools is to be edited and customized to meet specific school needs.
- Sample Parent Communication - This letter can be used to inform parents about the new meal pattern and what the changes will look like for their children this fall. It can be sent via e-mail, through a newsletter, inserted in the student handbook, or distributed at fall orientation.
- Sample School Staff Communication - This letter can be used to inform school staff about the new meal pattern and how school meals will change this fall. It can be sent via e-mail, through a staff newsletter, used as handout during a staff in-service, or placed in staff mailboxes.
- Sample Webpage Template - This template can be used to create or update an existing school nutrition program webpage. The different sections highlight the new meal pattern changes, as well as include resources for parents to support the changes
- Build a Healthy Lunch Lesson - Share this lesson with elementary teachers to help explain the “Build a Healthy Lunch” signage in the cafeteria and show support for the school meal program.
- Health Messages - Did you know? - These messages can help schools get the word out about the new meal pattern and educate students on how to make healthier food choices. Schools can utilize the messages in school newsletters, post on their nutrition program websites, or print on the back of menus. The messages can be read by students during morning announcements.