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Consensus Study Report


Ensuring that the food provided to children in schools is consistent with current dietary recommendations is an important national focus. Various laws and regulations govern the operation of school meal programs. In 1995, Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements were put in place to ensure that all meals offered would be high in nutritional quality.

School Meals reviews and provides recommendations to update the nutrition standard and the meal requirements for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. The recommendations reflect new developments in nutrition science, increase the availability of key food groups in the school meal programs, and allow these programs to better meet the nutritional needs of children, foster healthy eating habits, and safeguard children's health.

School Meals sets standards for menu planning that focus on food groups, calories, saturated fat, and sodium and that incorporate Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes. This book will be used as a guide for school food authorities, food producers, policy leaders, state/local governments, and parents.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 2010. School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

394 pages |  6 x 9 |  Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-14436-0
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xiv
Summary 1-18
1 Introduction and Background 19-32
2 Foundation for Revising Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements 33-46
3 Schoolchildren's Food and Nutrient Intakes and Related Health Concerns 47-68
4 Process for Developing the Nutrient Targets 69-90
5 Process for Developing the Meal Requirements 91-106
6 Iterations - Achieving the Best Balance of Nutrition, Student Acceptance, Practicality, and Cost 107-114
7 Recommendations for Nutrient Targets and Meal Requirements for School Meals 115-130
8 Food Cost Implications and Market Effects 131-154
9 Projected Impact of the Recommended Nutrient Targets and Meal Requirements 155-178
10 Implementation, Evaluation, and Research 179-208
11 References 209-220
Appendix A: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary 221-228
Appendix B: Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 229-236
Appendix C: Critical Issues for Consideration by the Committee on Nutrition Standards for National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, as Submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 237-244
Appendix D: January 2009 Workshop Agenda and Summary of Public Comments 245-254
Appendix E: Standards for the Current Food- and Nutrient-Based Menu Planning Approaches 255-258
Appendix F: Data Used to Calculate Estimated Energy Requirements 259-262
Appendix G: Data Tables Containing Examples of New SNDA-III Analyses 263-268
Appendix H: Uses of MyPyramid Food Groups and the MyPyramid Spreadsheet 269-284
Appendix I: Dietary Intake Data and Calculation of the Target Median Intake for Iron 285-292
Appendix J: Target Median Intake (TMI) Tables 293-296
Appendix K: Use of the School Meals Menu Analysis Program 297-304
Appendix L: Baseline Menus 305-330
Appendix M: Sample Menus 331-362
Appendix N: Evidence Considered Related to the Definition for Whole Grain-Rich Foods 363-366
Appendix O: Comparison of Recommended Nutrient Targets to Various Nutrition Standards for School-Aged Children 367-372
Appendix P: Comparison of *Dietary Guidelines for Americans* with Recommended Meal Requirements 373-378
Appendix Q: Regulations Related to the Sodium Content of Foods Labeled "Healthy" 379-380

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Podcast:  School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children
School Meals: Building Blocks For Healthy Children

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