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Nutrition Requirements of School Meals

NutritionSchool Meals are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Menus are planned to meet and exceed the established nutritional guidelines.  The school menus are planned to have 30 percent or less calories from fat, 10 percent or less of calories from saturated fat, 0 grams trans-fat, and calorie ranges for each grade level.  All menus meet the guidelines of the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).

The Division of Food and Nutrition Services analyzes and evaluates menus regularly in order to ensure that the USDA guidelines are met.  In addition, the Maryland State Department of Education, School and Community Nutrition Programs Branch conduct an annual review of operations and menus.

Look What is New on the Menu

MCPS school meals already meet or exceed many of the new requirements, so students will notice only small changes on the menus.

  • Students must select at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable at breakfast.
  • Students must select at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable at lunch. 
  • The menus are age appropriate and separated by grade group: Kindergarten through 5th grade, 6th through 8th grade and 9th through 12th grade.
  • The menus offer a rainbow of colors of fruits and vegetables with more choices available to students.
  • 100% of grains on the menu are whole grain. 
  • We continue to offer only fat-free and 1% low-fat milk.
  • No foods contain trans- fat and saturated fat is limited to less than 10% of calories.
  • Menu items contain less sodium.
  • All cafeteria serving lines have a poster showing the food groups by color (the same as on ChooseMyPlate) and all food items are labeled by food group on the serving line.  The poster explains to the students which food groups can make a lunch and that a fruit or vegetable must be included with lunch.

We will continue to introduce new menu items throughout the school year.

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