Division of Food & Nutrition Services > Menus
The school nutrition programs provide nutritious meals to children during the school day. In order to serve healthy, high-quality meals to all children, we must make sure we are financially secure. You play a key role in this effort, and are responsible for purchases made by your child in their school cafeteria. As parents/guardians, MCPS wants to ensure that you are notified when student cafeteria accounts are low and/or go into a negative balance. All are expected to pay.
The following efforts will be utilized to ensure that low or unpaid meal balances are addressed by you in collaboration with your school:
Central Office support will entail the following:
If your child's growing negative balance is concerning you, your child may be eligible to receive Free or Reduced-Price meals. You may apply online at MySchoolApps.com or complete a Household Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals, available from your child's school.
MySchoolBucks.com is an optional service for parents/guardians to make prepayments to your child's cafeteria account for breakfast, lunch, and a la carte meals via the Internet with a credit/debit card. This service is offered as a convenience for interested families. By creating a secure online account, parents can monitor and/or manage their child's account. There is a $1.95 convenience fee for each payment transaction. There is no cost to set up an account and check your child's spending history or receive low balance notifications.
Our dietitians work diligently to balance many aspects of menu planning — regulations established by the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety, cost, preparation, storage, seasonal availability, Healthy Guidelines for Americans and donated government foods — to provide healthy meals that are acceptable to our customers.
In addition, we collaborate with manufacturers and develop specifications to provide foods that not only taste good, but also are lower in fats and sodium. New products are tested periodically with student groups and, if results are positive, the products are introduced on menus for all students.
Sometimes, foods, such as whole grains, are not particularly acceptable to students, but recognized as highly beneficial and healthy. In these instances we will try different forms of the product, believing that, over time, students will become more accustomed to having these foods as a regular part of their diets.
MCPS menus are planned in cycles during the school year. Different menu items may be offered for a specified period of time and then replaced with new offerings. This allows us to increase the variety of foods offered during the year.
In continuing efforts to promote and maintain a healthy school environment, guidelines for the sale of snack and beverage items through vending machines, school stores, athletic department and fundraisers have been updated. Under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, schools were notified of the nutritional requirements for the sale of food sold to students from midnight until 30 minutes after the end of the instructional day.
A variety of a la carte items may be available in your student's school cafeteria. All items available for sale are in compliance with JPG-RA. Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health. Specific items vary at each school. Examples of items for sale are baked chips, crackers and low-fat ice cream. For specific information regarding items available at your child's school or to restrict the purchase of a la carte items, please contact your school cafeteria manager.
Click here for Smart Snack Calculator.