Offer versus Serve for School Nutrition Programs

Overview

School Nutrition Programs | Program Guidance | Forms | Resources | Nutrition Education

Offer versus serve (OVS) is a concept that applies to menu planning and the determination of reimbursable school meals for grades K-12 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (including the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). OVS allows students to decline a certain number of food components in the meal and select the foods they prefer to eat. OVS is designed to reduce food cost and waste. It allows menu planners the flexibility to address student participation and selection trends to determine what and how much food to prepare.

At lunch, OVS must be implemented in senior high schools but is optional for all other grades. At breakfast, OVS is optional for all grades. OVS is also optional for the SSO. OVS is not allowed for the Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) or meals for preschoolers (ages 1-4) in the NSLP (including the SSO) and SBP.

Implementation Guidance