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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 age/grade groups, a single menu is allowed when preschoolers and other 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.

Preschool Meal Pattern Chart

USDA Preschool Fact Sheet

USDA Meal Pattern Training Tools


Preschool Meal Pattern Resources


USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

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  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
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