On the basis of the evidence considered during its Phase I activities, the committee proposes four criteria that can be used to derive and evaluate the recommendations that will be made during Phase II of the study. The criteria are identified and discussed below.
MyPyramid, which is based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (HHS/USDA, 2005), provides concrete recommendations for food intakes; and the Dietary Reference Intakes provide reference values for nutrient intakes. However, because school meals are provided to groups of children with a range of ages, body sizes, and activity levels, the committee cannot apply the values and recommendations directly to the Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements. In deriving the recommendations, the committee will give special attention to the following aspects of providing healthful amounts of food groups, food subgroups, and nutrients, as requested by USDA:
appropriate levels of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat in school meals;
the inclusion of specific foods whose consumptions should be encouraged on the basis of the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that is, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk products;
provisions for healthful levels of sodium and fiber;
nutrients and other dietary components of concern, as identified in the assessment of intakes by schoolchildren; and
calorie levels provided at lunch and breakfast that are sufficient to meet the child’s energy needs at those meals but that do not promote excessive energy intake.
To help reduce the possibility of excessive energy intake, maximum calorie levels for school meals will be considered. Criterion 1 refers to the “apparent prevalence of inadequate and excessive intakes” because adequacy, inadequacy, and excessive intake cannot be determined from dietary assessment alone. Throughout this report, terms such as “adequate intake,” “excessive intake,” and “nutrient intake” are used. The reader should recognize that phrases such as “apparently adequate intake” and “apparent nutrient inadequacy” would be more precise. We have omitted the qualifier for ease of reading.
If some of the nutrients or other dietary components of concern differ from the nutrients whose amounts are required to be listed on food labels, in accordance with the provisions of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (P.L. 101-535, 1990), the committee will consider the most effective ways to address labeling for these nutrients in implementing the recommendations for revisions to Nutrient Standards and Meal Requirements.