Nutritional Requirements of School Meals

School meals are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA establishes meal patterns and nutritional guidelines based on the Guidelines for Healthy Americans and the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for children of different age groups. Menus are planned to meet the established nutritional guidelines of one-third (1/3) of the RDA for lunch, and one-fourth (1/4) for breakfast. The school meals are planned to have 30 percent or less calories from fat, 10 percent or less of calories from saturated fat, and specific levels of certain vitamins and minerals. Menus meet requirements and quantities established by USDA under the enhanced food based daily menu pattern. The State Education Department, Child Administration Unit analyzes and evaluates menus regularly in order to ensure that the USDA guidelines and RDA's are met.