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TABLE 7-10 Comparison of Current and Recommended Meal Requirements

Age Groups

Current Requirements

Recommended Requirements and Specifications


0–3, 4–7, 8–11 mo

0–5, 6–11 mo


Patterns for 3 age groups spanning 1 to 12 years, older children “may be served larger portions”

Patterns for 4 age groups spanning 1 to 19 years

Eating Occasion




Must meet daily pattern

Must meet daily and weekly pattern to provide more flexibility and better alignment with the Dietary Guidelines


3 meal components

4 or 5 meal components

Lunch or supper

4 meal components

5 meal components


Any 2 of 4 components

Variety specified for the week Choice between 2 small snacks or 1 enhanced snack

Meal Component




Fruits and vegetables are combined as a category

Fruits are a separate category, and servings are increased; juice is not provided for infants and is limited for children; fruits containing added sugars are limited.



Vegetables are a separate category from fruit, and servings are increased; must provide variety including dark green leafy, bright yellow/orange, legumes; sodium content is limited; starchy vegetables are limited.


Enriched or whole grain, proportions not specified

At least half must be whole grain-rich, additional whole grains are encouraged, grain products high in SoFAS are limited to control calories and saturated fat, high-sodium grains are also limited.

Meat/meat alternate

None at breakfast

Included in weekly breakfast pattern three times a week to provide balance to meal but flexibility through the week; some types are limited to help control calories, solid fat, and sodium.


Any type of fluid milk

Must be nonfat or low-fat (1% fat) for children over 2 years of age and adults. Flavored milk must be nonfat and is allowed only for at-risk afterschool programsa and adults.

For children over 2 years of age and adults, nonfat or low-fat yogurt may be used as a substitute for milk or as a meat alternate no more than once per day.

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