USDA has announced a one-year extension of the flexibility on meeting the weekly requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates for school meal programs through School Year 2013-14. The extension applies to both breakfast and lunch and states that schools must only meet the weekly minimum through SY 2013-14.
USDA said that it received a strong amount of feedback showing that the flexibility for this school year better allowed school nutrition programs to create healthy nutritious meals while maintaining the integrity of the objectives of the Meal Pattern Guidelines. It added that is open to the idea of a further extension in the future.
The School Nutrition Association says it is pleased to see the one-year extension since making the flexibility permanent is the first point of its 2013 Legislative Issue Paper, but it remains committed to achieving a permanent elimination of the weekly limits on Grains and Meat/Meat Alternates served in the National School Lunch Program. SNA maintains that weekly limits on grains and proteins create significant menu planning challenges as school nutrition professionals cannot efficiently offer healthy options like daily sandwiches (too much grain), a small side of peanut butter with celery sticks or low or non-fat cheese and yogurt on the salad bar (too much protein).
The entire USDA Memo can be found by clicking here