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Preschool Meal Pattern

  • Effective July 1, 2017, the new Preschool Meal Pattern must be followed.

  • If students are co-mingled with other K-5 age/grade group, a single menu it is allowed when preschoolers and K-5 students are in the same service area at the same time.

  • The USDA is allowing a transition period during fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018). During this time, state agencies must provide technical assistance in lieu of fiscal action when they observe violations related to the updated preschool meal pattern requirements. If schools are making a good faith effort to comply with the updated requirements, state agencies cannot disallow meals or find schools seriously deficient when meals fall short of the updated preschool meal patterns. As currently required, state agencies must continue to take immediate fiscal action if a meal or snack is completely missing one or more required food components.

  • The final rule clarifies that when a 5-year-old is in preschool or a 4-year-old is in kindergarten, the school food authority (SFA) may continue to serve the meal pattern appropriate for that grade.

USDA Preschool Meal Pattern Chart 

USDA Meal Pattern Training Tools


Preschool Meal Pattern Resources 

Meal Pattern Overview