Information on School Lunch components and offerings as mandated by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA),
mandated several changes to school lunch programs identifying age-appropriate
portion sizes and healthy ranges for fruits, vegetables, grains, meats/meat
alternates and milk. The HHFKA is complex, so we’ve simplified the main
points for you in the charts below. Keep in mind these guidelines are intended
to provide one-third of your child’s daily nutritional and energy needs. Whitsons
School nutrition remains committed to providing the best combination of nutrients
available to your child while they are in our care.
Weekly Vegetable Offerings
sub-groups Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
5 cups/week 5 cups/week 5 cups/week
Dark Green 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
Red/ Orange 1 cup 1 cup 1 1/4 cup
Legumes 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
Starchy 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
Other 1 cup 1 cup 3/4 cup
Lunch Tray Example 1
Ham & Cheese Wrap with Carrots,
Broccoli, Grapes, Apple & Skim Milk
Lunch Tray Example 2
Two Beef Tacos with Rice, Black Beans, Pico
De Gallo, Banana, Strawberries & Skim Milk
Lunch Tray Example 3
Cheese & Tomato Pizza with a Side Salad, Baby
Carrots, Red Grapes, Banana and Skim Milk
Daily Meal Component Offerings
Components Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
Fruits 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
Veggies 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
Grains 2oz 2oz 3oz
Meat/ Meat Alternate
2oz 2oz 2oz
Fluid Milk 1 cup 1 cup 1 cup
All school meals must meet the minimum requirements as defined by the HHFKA. There are no maximum
limitations on these meal components but the meal must fit within the weekly calorie range for that grade level. Daily grain and
meat/ meat alternate weights are approximated and may slightly increase or decrease on any given day.
*Net weight of pure protein source in the food served. Actual serving size might vary according to protein content.
The weights listed above are based on average weekly Whitsons offerings and may vary based on the specific likes and/or needs
of each district. Minimum HHFKA vegetable sub-group requirements are always met each week at each level.
Answers to Your Top 8 Questions
About Your Child’s School Nutrition Program.
For more information contact your school food service
director OR visit the school nutrition page on your
Nourishing Growing Minds.
Can students purchase additional food?
Yes, your child can purchase an additional lunch or
purchase a la carte items. However, If your child takes
all the components that are offered, he/she shouldn’t
need to purchase additional items as the portions are
designed according to his/her nutritional needs.
What about physically active students,
such as those involved in sports programs,
who might need more calories?
Helping students choose meal components wisely
the first time through the serving line is key. We
have signage throughout each servery explaining
the components of a balanced meal. Active students
should select all 5 meal components including; a
fruit, a vegetable, a grain, a meat or meat alternate
and a milk, focusing on foods that sustain energy.
Why do we have to have Whole Grains?
HHFKA requires over 50% of all grains items offered
to be whole grain or whole grain rich. Beginning the
school year 2014-15, 100% of all grain based items
offered will be required to be whole grain. People
who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a
reduced risk of some chronic diseases. This is why
you see that all of our grain offerings are whole grain
or whole grain rich.
What’s with all the low fat milks?
HHFKA restricts milk to 1% or fat-free for plain white
milk and ONLY fat-free for flavored milks. Drinking
low-fat or fat-free milk over the full fat alternative cuts
calories but doesn’t reduce the calcium or the other
essential nutrients. Milk is especially important to
build children’s growing bones.
Why have lunch offerings
and portion sizes changed?
Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program
(NSLP) are required to follow new HHFKA regulations that
set mandatory nutrition minimums based on age group.
There are no maximum limits in grains and meat/meat
alternates; however, meals must still comply with the agespecific
calorie limits, even though the portion sizes could
be larger. Meals are broken into 5 components and students
must take a minimum of 3 components (one must be a fruit
or vegetable). Vegetables are further broken-down into sub
groups by color; vegetables from every sub group must be
offered each week.
How Nutritious are Lunch Meals under the new
The new school meals are intended to be high in micronutrients
and adequate in calories. The new dietary
specifications (portions and calorie ranges) reflect the
latest scientific recommendations from nutrition experts on
the dietary needs of school children, so they are tailored to
your children’s needs. Lunch portions are “right sized” and
are designed to meet the caloric needs of school children.
Why must my child take a fruit or
vegetable with lunch?
Under the HHFKA, a healthy meal plate must include a
fruit or vegetable. We encourage students to select from
a variety of fruits and vegetables to meet the fruit and
vegetable requirements. They choose what foods they
want. We use educational tools such as our “Fruit and
Veggie of the Month”, as well as food tastings and other
promotions to help increase acceptance of new foods.
Why have snack options changed?
In an effort to provide the best combination of nutrients
available, we have revised our snack choices to include
foods that contain zero trans fats. Moreover, all snack
foods sold in schools are required to comply with the
USDA’s “All Foods Sold in Schools’ standards of the
HHFKA. Additionally, each state may further restrict
competitive snack foods.
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