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Menu Planning & Production


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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.

Food Buying Guide

Meal Patterns

Menu Planning

Meal Components and Quantities Worksheets (MCQW)

Meal Component and Quantity Worksheets (MCQWs) are tools that are used by School Nutrition administrators to demonstrate compliance with current meal patterns required by USDA in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP).

Meal Production Records (Daily)

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 the State Board of Education North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Agreement to Administer the Federally-funded School Nutrition Program(s), public and charter schools are required conduct nutritional analysis of school menus annually to determine on-going compliance with regulatory requirements for the nutrient content of school breakfast and lunch meals.  The analysis shall be conducted based upon one week of menus planned in October, demonstrating that they meet the USDA nutrient standards for calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium for the appropriate age/grade group. The School Nutrition Services Section of the Department of Public Instruction monitors the progress of each local school food authority toward achieving the nutrition standards and provides technical assistance and continuing education as needed to assist local administrative units in implementing and achieving the nutrition standards set forth by USDA.

  • CLICK HERE for a list of nutrient analysis software products approved by USDA

Nutrient Analysis Protocols: How to Analyze Menus for USDA’s School Meal Program Manual (February 2014)
  • This manual establishes procedures/protocols on how to conduct an accurate nutrient analysis.

Offer versus Serve

Standardized Recipes

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