County Superintendents
County Nutrition Directors
Richard J. Goff, Executive Director
Office of Child Nutrition
SUBJECT: West Virginia Board of Education
Policy 4321.1, Standards for School Nutrition
Lunch Option A Menu Planning Implementation
OCN Memo 86 – 4.3.
May 27, 2008
This memo provides clarification for implementing Option A Meal Pattern under Policy
4321.1, Standards for School Nutrition effective July 1, 2008. Local Education Agencies
(LEAs) have the option of selecting one of two menu planning systems under the
National School Lunch Program for West Virginia Schools. These menu planning
systems are: Option A-nutrient based and Option B-food based. The nutrition goals and
the nutrient standards apply to both menu planning systems and when averaged over
one week, must meet the nutrient standards for the selected age or grade group and the
recommendations of the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Option A is a nutrient based approach to menu planning and requires a weekly
nutritional analysis of foods and beverages used in school meals. The implementation
of Option A allows the LEA to offer a variety of food choices that meet the United States
Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrient standards listed in 7CFR Part 210.10 for
the appropriate age/grade group. When averaged over a school week, the nutrient
analysis must:
● Provide 1/3 of the USDA designated nutrient standards for specific nutrients as
well as 1/3 of calorie needs for each age/grade group
● Provide at least 6 grams of fiber and no more than 1100 milligrams of sodium
● Meet the recommendations of the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans
● Meet the minimum requirements of Option B Meal Pattern, grades Pre-K-2
Planned menus must include a variety of whole grains, low fat and low sodium entrée
items, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy products including 1% and
non fat milk. Menu planners must find ways to reduce fat, saturated fat, sodium and
OCN Memo 86 – 4.3.
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May 27, 2008
sugars in foods offered. Trans fat, artificial and non-nutritive sweeteners must be
eliminated from all foods and beverages served.
To ensure a variety of food items are incorporated, Option A menus must meet
the requirements of the Option B meal pattern grades PreK-2. The four food
components and/or five food items include:
Food Components
Meat/Meat Alternate
Food Items
Meat/Meat Alternate
Option A Meal Pattern allows the menu planner flexibility in selecting food items that
meet the School Meals Initiative (SMI) goals of lowering total fat, saturated fat,
cholesterol, sodium, sugar and increase fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium while
providing sufficient but not excessive calories. Approved USDA software must be used
for the computerized nutrient analysis. An approved software list can be obtained from
the Office of Child Nutrition or visiting the USDA Team Nutrition website at:
When planning menus using the Option A approach, a separate weekly nutrient
analysis must be completed for each of the various age/grade groupings to ensure the
appropriate portions meet the nutrient standards and calories for each group. The
age/grade levels used for the Option B approach offers a good sample. You may
choose to develop your own customized age groups if they accurately target the nutrient
needs of the students served. The customized groups must be approved by the West
Virginia Department of Education, Office of Child Nutrition, SMI Coordinator prior to
implementation. If offering two or more food items of the same component, it is
important to weight these items in the nutrient analysis to provide a true picture of the
nutrients. If a menu is changed at the school level due to substitutions of products,
portion sizes or a change in a recipe, a new analysis must be conducted if the products
used have different nutrients. To avoid confusion at the school level, it is required that
LEAs using the Option A approach, provide to each school the planned menu with the
food items listed including condiments, the product code number if using a processed
food item, portion sizes and recipes that have been included in the nutrient analysis.
The changes in Option A Menu Planning under the new provisions of Policy
4321.1 are:
● Plan menus using new age/grade requirements changing from USDA Traditional
Meal Pattern to WVDE Option B Meal Pattern or approved, customized
age/grade levels
OCN Memo 86 – 4.3.
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May 27, 2008
Offer whole grains
Offer only 1% or non-fat milk and dairy products
Omit trans fat
Omit artificial/non-nutritive sweeteners
Plan menus that meet the current Dietary Guidelines
Planned menus must meet the required nutrient standards when averaged over
one week (five consecutive days)
● Reanalyze any substitutions to the planned menu at the local school for different
products, recipes, portions, etc.
● Use weighted averages when serving more than one option by category (more
than one entrée, vegetable, etc)
Offer versus Serve in Option A
Offer Versus Serve is a provision that allows students to decline either one or two of the
required food items that they do not intend to eat. All high schools are required to use
Offer Versus Serve for their meal service. The LEA has the option of selecting Offer
Versus Serve for PreK through grade 8 in each school. For a meal to be reimbursable,
the LEA may require students to select three of five items or four of five items. The
following information is provided to assist LEA’s in determining reimbursable meals.
Option A
To count as one food item, a student must select at least the minimum serving as
designated in the Option B Meal Pattern, PreK-2:
● 1 ½ oz. of meat/meat alternate or
● 1 serving of grains/breads or
● 8 oz. of fluid milk
To count as one fruit/vegetable, a student must:
● Select at least a ¼ cup serving
To count as 2 fruit/vegetable servings, a student must:
● Select at least 2 different fruit/vegetable food items totaling ¾ cup as designated
in the Option B Meal Pattern, PreK-2
If there are further questions pertaining to the Option A Menu Planning approach,
please contact Celeste Peggs at 304-558-2708 or crpeggs@access.k12.wv.us.
Barbara Fish
OCN Staff