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Certification of compliance with meal requirements in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program is required under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. School Food Authorities with approved menu certification documentation receive an additional 7 cents per meal.​

 Certification Options

School Food Authorities (SFA) must choose one of the following options for the menu certification process:

Option 1 – Certification Worksheet with Simplified Nutrient Analysis

The SFA must submit:

  • One week of menus for each meal type (i.e. breakfast and/or lunch) and grade group (i.e. K-5, 6-8, combined K-8, and/or 9-12)
  • One Excel certification worksheet for each meal type and grade group with the Simplified Nutrient Assessment tab completed

Option 2 – Certification Worksheet & USDA-Approved Nutrient Analysis

The SFA must submit:

  • One week of menus for each meal type (i.e. breakfast and/or lunch) and grade group (i.e. K-5, 6-8, combined K-8, and/or 9-12)
  • One Excel certification worksheet for each meal type and grade group (without the Simplified Nutrient Assessment tab completed)
  • Nutrient analysis from a USDA-approved nutrient analysis software for each meal type and grade group

Option 3 – USDA-Approved Certification of Compliance Tool & Nutrient Analysis

The SFA must submit:

More information on the required documentation can be found under the Certification Worksheets and Nutrient Analysis sections below. ​​

 Certification Worksheets

Certification worksheets document that the planned menu meets daily and weekly meal pattern component and serving size requirements in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or School Breakfast Program (SBP). Required meal pattern components for the NSLP include milk, grains, meat/meat alternates, vegetables, and fruit. Required components for the SBP include milk, grains, and fruit.

Option 1 and Option 2

As noted above, an Excel certification worksheet must be completed for breakfast and/or lunch for each grade group being served. Each worksheet includes an Instructions tab. Please review this tab prior to completing the worksheet(s).

Option 3

When choosing Option 3, the certification of compliance worksheet must be approved by USDA. A complete list of USDA certification of compliance tools can be found online.

Tips for Completing Certification Worksheets

The following documents will be helpful for you to have on-hand when completing certification worksheets. Additional resources are also included for reference.

 Nutrient Analysis

Nutrient analysis is a required part of the menu certification process. Nutrient analysis includes nutrition information for all menu items (i.e. entrées, sides, condiments, and any other "extra" items) served as part of a reimbursable meal. Additionally, weekly averages for calories, sodium, and saturated fat must be assessed.

Option 1

Applicants that choose Option 1 will complete the Simplified Nutrient Assessment tab included with each Excel certification worksheet. The Nutrient Instructions tab provides direction on how to complete the Simplified Nutrient Assessment.

Option 2 and Option 3

Applicants that choose Option 2 or Option 3 will provide their own nutrient analysis for each meal type and grade group being served. Therefore, the Simplified Nutrient Assessment tab will not need completed with the Excel certification worksheet when choosing Option 2. Independent nutrient analysis must be completed using a USDA-approved nutrient analysis software.​

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