We have had some clients asking about the USDA nutritional guidelines relative to bag lunches - those occasional meals provided to students when they're still in the care of your school/district but aren't able to eat in the cafeteria.
General Manager Laurie Yohn, SNS explains, "Bag meals must meet the daily meal pattern but do NOT need to meet the required vegetable subgroups since bag lunches are only used on an occasional basis." The exception to this provision is when students leave daily for programs such as work study. Then the meals provided to those students would also need to meet the vegetable subgroups.
A compliant bag lunch doesn't need to be elaborate: a simple turkey deli or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fresh carrots, vegetable juice, fresh apple and animal crackers can suffice. Don't forget the milk. If your program is offer vs. serve, determine how many milks must be taken on the event to ensure there's not a shortage. You must not run out.
If you'd like more guidance on field trip meals, check out our Field Trip (Bag) Lunch toolkit. NutriStudents K-12 clients, you can access the toolkit, recipes and reports within the "Lunch" drop-down menu within the client portal.