Key Resources

United States Department of Agriculture Meal Pattern Analyses

Our meal options and stand-alone recipes were created to help School Food Authorities get their extra 7 cents!

  • Recipes were analyzed using NUTRIKIDS Menu Planning and Nutritional Analysis Software, which is one of the United States Department of Agriculture’s approved tools.  Kilocalories, saturated fat, and sodium for food items such as brown rice, whole wheat crackers, whole wheat croutons, whole wheat dinner rolls, milk (low-fat cow’s milk=referent), and fruit (mixed fresh=referent) were determined using reference values obtained from Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, 19th edition.
  • Meal options (and menus) were developed to serve as a guide, using the United States Department of Agriculture’s (U.S.D.A.) guidelines for the National School Lunch Program.  Students should be able to select any one of the 2-3 daily meal options to meet both daily and weekly meal component requirements as well as weekly requirements for kilocalories, saturated fat, and sodium.  Additionally, most combinations will satisfy vegetable subgroups, but you many need to substitute vegetable types in some instances – Don’t worry: (1) our recipes were designed so that vegetables from each subgroup can be easily integrated and (2) just call or email us if you need any assistance.

Note: While meal pattern analyses should remain in tact regardless of food products selected and dietary analysis software utilized; kilocalorie, saturated fat, and sodium amounts will change.  Observed changes should not be significant, but if they are please let us know!  ALL OF OUR RECIPES WERE CREATED USING INGREDIENTS IMPORTED FROM THE U.S.D.A. BUYING GUIDE, to provide realistic meal pattern and dietary analyses for school meals.

Note: Weights and measures for individual ingredients were correlated based on industry standards as well as our own experience testing recipes.  Yields for fruits and vegetables are provided as measures only as the weight/measure correlations will vary depending on the product type (i.e., fresh, frozen, canned, or dried), size, age, cooking time, and cooking temperatures.  NOTE: our recipes were designed to incorporate fresh, frozen, or canned produce unless otherwise specified.  For fruits and vegetables our yields are conservative, meaning that you should have amounts in slight excess as opposed to not having enough to credit.  WE RECOMMEND USING THE U.S.D.A. BUYING GUIDE TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT (WEIGHT) OF PRODUCE THAT YOU WILL NEED TO ORDER TO CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNTS CALLED FOR IN THE RECIPES.  THE BUYING GUIDE CAN BE ACCESSED HERE:

Nutrition: What does the Science Say?

Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017