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Menu Planning & Production

    Best Practices

    • The USDA Best Practices Sharing Center helps School Food Authorities (SFAs) find and share resources, tools, and success stories to serve healthy menus and meet meal pattern regulations.
    • The USDA State Sharing Center offers resources, tools, and innovative menus that School Food Authorities (SFAs) develop or utilize to serve healthy meals and meet meal pattern regulations.
    • The USDA Tools for Schools assists School Food Authorities (SFAs) in meeting the updated nutrition standards for School Nutrition Programs.

    Meal Patterns

    Many schools serve pre-kindergarten (pre-K) students at breakfast and lunch, and may also provide supper or snacks.  The current requirements for serving meals to children in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) can be accessed through the link below.   The meal patterns provide guidance on the minimum number of components and amounts of food which must be served as part of a reimbursable breakfast, lunch, supper, or snack.  The portion sizes in the CACFP meal patterns are age-appropriate.    School meals for pre-K students may be planned using the CACFP meal patterns or the K-5 (or K-8) meal patterns used for elementary schools.

    Reference:  SP 10-2012 (v.9)

    Menu Planning


    Daily Meal Production Records

    CLICK HERE to access Meal Production Record (for Breakfast and Lunch) information, templates and sample forms for Commercial Kitchen, Homestyle Meals and Transported Meals.


    Nutrition Analysis

    In accordance with NC General Statute 115C-264.3, schools are required to conduct nutritional analysis of school menus twice annually to determine on-going compliance with regulatory requirements for the nutrient content of school breakfast and lunch meals, and to monitor levels of these dietary components.  North Carolina public schools are required to submit analysis of menus served in March and October that demonstrate they meet the USDA nutrient standards for calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.  The School Nutrition Services Section of the Department of Public Instruction monitors the progress of each local school administrative unit toward achieving the nutrition standards and provides technical assistance and continuing education as needed to assist local administrative units in implementing the nutrition standards.


    Offer versus Serve

    Standardized Recipes


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