Menu Planning Tools for School Food Service

School Lunch Best Practices Sharing Center

This collection is intended for School Food Authorities and State Agencies to share resources and tools they use to serve healthy menus that meet school meal regulations. A preset search for meal pattern resources is available.


Nutrition Foundations for Alaska School Meals cover Nutrition Foundations for Alaska School Meals: A Nutrition Guide for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (PDF | 5.36 MB)

Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.

A guide for meeting the new school meal regulations.


Chef Designed School Meals Chef Designed School Meals

Idaho State Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs.

A two week cycle of school meals designed by a chef and dietitian and tested and approved by Idaho students. The menus have been planned to meet the new USDA Meal Pattern and use three to ten USDA Foods in each meal.


Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act Meal Pattern Calculator

Kansas State Department of Education, Child Nutrition & Wellness.


Healthier Kansas Menus

Kansas State Department of Education. Child & Nutrition Wellness.

Breakfast and lunch cycle menus with nutrient analysis, recipes, preparation instructions, serving tips, production records and a purchasing guide.


Iowa Gold Star Cycle Menus

Iowa Department of Education.

Breakfast and lunch cycle menus that meet the current USDA requirements and feature USDA foods. Includes a 2-week breakfast cycle menu, 1 week Grab ‘n Go breakfast menu, and 5-week lunch menu, as well as recipes, nutrient analyses, and other tools.


Field Trip Meals (PDF | 377 KB)

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

This resource provides tips and suggestions for providing reimbursable meals on school field trips, as well as several templates (DOC | 77 KB): Bag Meal Order Request Form, Bag Meal Packing Slip, List of Students Receiving Reimbursable Meals, and SOPs.


Menu Templates and Sample Menus

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Food, Nutrition and Wellness.

Menu templates and sample menus for school breakfast and lunch, for 5-day and 7-day weeks at various grade levels.


Meeting the Challenge Videos Meeting the Challenge Videos

Michigan Team Nutrition.

These videos illustrate how Michigan Child Nutrition professionals are meeting the school meal regulations. Each video includes a chef sharing tips and demonstrating recipes using whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.


Meal Pattern Resources

Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A collection of resources on the new meal pattern, including printable mini-posters of the vegetable sub groups, planning tools and PowerPoint presentations designed to be used to train food service staff.


Menus that Move: Cycle Menus and Recipes

Ohio Department of Education; Ohio State University.

Cycle menus for Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer featuring local foods in season. Each season contains 5 weekly menus for grades K-8 and 9-12 with meal components and nutrient standards. Menus meet the Target 1 sodium levels. Resource also contains 50 standardized recipes that use USDA foods.