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

district website.

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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(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
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