What is a School Meal?

OKCPS participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). NSLP meals must be certain requirements and according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),   The National School Lunch Act mandates that school meals “safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children”.  All participating schools must serve lunches that are consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans including:

  • eat a variety of foods;
  • make half of your grains whole grains,
  • choose a diet with lots of vegetables and fruits;
  • choose a diet moderate in sugars and salt; and
  • choose a diet with 30% or less of calories from fat and less than 10% of calories from saturated fat.

In addition, lunches must provide, on average over each school week, at least 1/3 of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowances for protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. At OKCPS, we use Nutrikids software to analyze the nutritional content of all of our meals to ensure that they meet these guidelines.

All school lunches are planned using food-based menu planning. Each meal contains:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Meat or Meat Alternate (for example, beans or cheese)
  • Fluid Milk

The serving size for each food group depends on the age/grade level served. For example, elementary students are required to have 8oz of grain servings at lunch per week, but high school students are required to have 10oz. Each grade level also must meet certain calorie levels.  For example, elementary students require 550-650 calories at lunch, and high school requires 750-850. However, this means that we cannot provide any more calories than allowed for each grade level.

Because we participate in the National School Lunch Program, we also receive reimbursement from the government for every child we serve, even the “full pay” kids. This is why we charge more for adults than for students. Full-price meals cost $2.25 at elementary schools, $2.75 at secondary schools, and $3.50 for adults. $3.50 is a bargain for a balanced meal with all 5 food groups!