Menu Planning Guide for School Meals for Grades K-12


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The Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) Menu Planning Guide for School Meals contains comprehensive information and guidance on planning menus to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) meal patterns for grades K-12 in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP, based on USDA regulations and policy and Connecticut statutes and regulations.

The information in the Menu Planning Guide for School Meals for Grades K-12 applies only to school year 2021-22. The contents of this guide are subject to change. The CSDE will update this guide as the USDA issues additional policies and guidance for the NSLP and SBP.

Note: The meal patterns for preschoolers (ages 1-4) are different from the meal patterns for grades K-12. Effective October 1, 2017, the preschool meal patterns were updated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) final rule, Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and follow the same requirements as the CACFP. For information on the preschool meal patterns, visit the CSDE's Meal Patterns for Preschoolers in School Nutrition Programs webpage.

Menu Planning Guide for School Meals for Grades K-12
for School Year 2021-22

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Note: The information in this guide reflects the meal pattern requirements of the USDA's regulations for the NSLP and SBP. Pursuant to the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act (H.R. 6201, Title II), and the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has established nationwide waivers to support access to nutritious meals, while enforcing recommendations from public health experts with regard to social distancing measures. If a school food authority (SFA) has received approval from the CSDE to implement any of the national waiver provisions, these approvals supersede the applicable requirements in this guide. For more information, visit the “USDA Nationwide COVID-19 Waivers for School Year 2021-22” section of the CSDE’s Operation of Child Nutrition Programs during Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreaks webpage.