Common Questions about the Approved Software and Other Software Programs


Q: How do I obtain the software approved by USDA for use in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program?

A: All the approved software must be purchased directly from the software company; the USDA does not sell or distribute any of the approved software. Please refer to the approved software list.
The contact information for purchasing is located under the name of each software.


Q: Why does the USDA approve nutrient analysis software?

A: USDA approves nutrient analysis software for use in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. According to the Final Rule: Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, nutrient analysis software used to analyze school meals for calories, saturated fat, and sodium must be approved by USDA. The list of currently approved nutrient analysis software can be found here.


Q. How can I find cost information for software approved by the USDA?

A: Contact the software company for more information about the cost of the approved software. The contact information for purchasing is located under the name of each software on the approved software list. . The cost of some software varies depending on the needs of the school, such as the number of students or the number of schools using the software. It is important to note that many software companies sell more than one software, program, or system, be sure to ask for the price of the nutrient analysis and menu planning software or module, as it is often sold separately.


Q: How can I get more information about the nutrient analysis software approved by USDA for use in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program?

A: Please refer to the link below for the list of nutrient analysis software approved by USDA:
Approved Software List.

All the approved software has nutrient analysis functionality described under the links to Benefits of Using Approved Software and the Brief Description of Requirements document under Support Materials for Software Companies Developing Software for NSMP. If you would like to gain feedback from other users, you can join Mealtalk, an email discussion group, where you can communicate with other professionals participating in Child Nutrition Programs.


Q: How can I find nutrient analysis software that is NOT specific to a school market?

A: Some of the software approved by USDA is also marketed to non-school audiences. Please refer to the approved software list: approved software list. .

Suggested places to find information about the many other nutrient analysis programs on the market, include:

1) Professional and Career Resources Software page in FNIC

2) the Today's Dietitian Buyer's Guide (http://www.todaysdietitian.com/buyersguide/TD122011_BG.pdf)

4) this article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association: It All Adds Up: Nutrition Analysis Software Can Open the Door to Professional Opportunities. K. Stein. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(2): 214-218. 2011 (February). Available to members or for a fee to nonmembers at: http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/yjada/article/S0002-8223(10)01990-5/fulltext), and

5) members only Web pages on professional association Web sites (some professional associations, such as The American Dietetic Association and the Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group, have software information on their members only Web pages)

USDA does not endorse or recommend any of the software programs listed at these sites.