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TABLE P-1 Summary of 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Recommendations for School Meals that Address Increasing Conformity of Children’s Diets to the Guidelines

Guidelinea (specific recommendations for children and adolescents are also noted)

Recommendations that Address Increasing Alignment with Guidelineb

Adequate Nutrients within Calorie Needs


  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.

  • Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as the USDA Food Guide or the DASH Eating Plan.

  • Milk limited to plain and flavored fat-free and low-fat milk (no more than 1% milk fat).

  • Increased fruits at breakfast and vegetables at lunch.

  • Dark green and orange vegetables and legumes on menu each week; starchy vegetables served less often.

  • More whole grain-rich food products, fewer refined grain products.

  • Nearly all entrées, cheese, and grain products low in saturated fat.

  • Lower sodium content of meals.

  • Trans fats limited to as near zero as possible by requiring that processed foods have a zero value on the label.

  • Minimum and maximum energy (calorie) standards for school meals.

  • Menu pattern based largely on the USDA food guide (MyPyramid).

Weight Management


  • To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended.

  • Both minimum and maximum calorie levels are specified for school meals, based on best evidence regarding energy needs for children.

  • School meal programs are not intended for the treatment of established overweight or obesity; rather, they are to provide foods and nutrients to support a healthy, active lifestyle.

Overweight children. Reduce the rate of body weight gain while allowing growth and development. Consult a healthcare provider before placing a child on a weight-reduction diet.

Physical Activity


Children and adolescents. Engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Outside the scope of this committee’s charge, the value of physical activity in the school setting is recognized, particularly prior to lunch.

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