Menu Planning Tools

Menu Planning & Production Forms and Tools

KSDE. Child Nutrition & Wellness.

Provides calculators, forms, and other tools to help with menu planning and production.

Food Buying Guides

Healthier Kansas Menus (2014-2016)

KSDE. Child Nutrition & Wellness.

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

Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs (2008)

USDA. FNS. Team Nutrition.

A guide for purchasing the correct amount and type of food, and for determining the specific contribution each food makes toward the meal pattern requirements. The Food Buying Guide is being updated in phases to include resources for the new Nutrition Standards for School Meals. The Food Buying Guide for School Meal Programs includes an introduction, appendixes, and information on Meat/Meat Alternates, Vegetables/Fruits, Grains/Breads, Milk, and Other Foods.

Food Buying Guide (FBG) Calculator for Child Nutrition Programs (2016)

ICN; USDA. Team Nutrition.

Online calculator for building shopping lists from the FBG and determining how much of each item to purchase.

Food Buying Guide Calculator for Child Nutrition Programs Resource Page

ICN; USDA. Team Nutrition.

The online interactive Food Buying Guide Calculator for Child Nutrition Programs has individual calculators for each of the 6 food groups outlined in the FBG and a self-tutorial instructional video. These resources include the FBG Calculator, training instructor and participant workbooks, and USDA webinars.

Analyzing Menus

Nutrient Analysis Protocols: How to Analyze Menus for USDA's School Meals Program Manual (February 2014) (PDF | 1.6 MB)


This manual establishes procedures (protocols) to conduct an accurate nutrient analysis. It is developed for:

      • State agencies, during an Administrative Review, that:
          • Conduct a nutrient analysis of one school week's menus for a school being reviewed
          • Validate a School Food Authority (SFA)-conducted nutrient analysis
      • SFAs that may conduct an optional nutrient analysis

Nutrient Analysis Software Approved by USDA for Nutrient Analysis

United States Department of Agriculture.

List of software programs that have been USDA approved for nutrient analysis.

Build a Healthy Lunch Reimbursable Meal Identification System (2012)

Iowa Department of Education.

Kit helps students identify foods that are part of the reimbursable meal for the day at the near or beginning of the serving line.

Home Grown: Menus of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The Home Grown: Menus of Wisconsin resources provide comprehensive materials for a three-week lunch cycle menu. The menus use a large variety of products grown and produced in Wisconsin and available through the USDA Foods program. These recipes follow whole grain-rich requirements and sodium limits for grade levels K-12.

Chef Designed School Meals (2013)

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. This includes a Chef Designed School Breakfast and Chef Designed School Lunch.

Great Trays™ Toolkit for School Foodservice (August 2015)

Minnesota Department of Health.

The Great Trays™ toolkit provides tools, information, and resources to plan kid-tested nutritious menus that meet the new nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs, start and promote farm to school programs, save money on food purchasing, and "nudge" students toward healthier choices.

Menus that Move: Cycle Menus and Recipes

OSU. Ohio Department of Education.

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.

On, Wisconsin! Menus

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

This complete menu resource includes breakfast and lunch cycle menus, creative recipes with new meal pattern crediting information, menu planning worksheets and production records, nutritional analysis, and 6 cents certification workbooks. Read tips before getting started then use resources based on grade group.

Girl eating sandwich Nutrition Standards for School Meals

Includes regulations, information about menu planning and nutrient analysis software, and the Child Nutrition Labeling Program.

Menu Planning Worksheets

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

These Word documents can be used to plan weekly menus that meet the requirements for various age groups.


Menu Planning Webinars (March 2016)

UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools.

Webinars on a variety of menu planning topics, including offer versus serve, production records, salad bars, meal claiming, transporting meals, and more.

School Meals Certification of Compliance (March 2016)


Resources regarding the Certification of Compliance with Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

Menu Planning and Meal Patterns Toolkit

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.

New Meal Pattern Training Resource (2014-2015)

Institute of Child Nutrition.

This training focuses on Food-Based Menu Planning (FBMP) required for the school meals programs. It provides an overview of the Meal Pattern and is part of the Recognizing a Reimbursable Meal training resource. The training includes a trainer's script, participants' handouts, and PowerPoint presentation.

Field Trips

Field Trip Meals (December 2015)

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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