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Meal Pattern Guidelines

Meat/Meat Alternates

Meat/Meat Alternates

Meat/Meat Alternates must be served at lunch and supper. This includes beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry, fish, cheese, dry beans, dry peas, eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, and nuts.

You may also serve a meat or meat alternate as one of the components of a snack. 

It is recommended you serve an extra meat/meat alternate when serving commercial products such as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, or frozen pizza. Cottage cheese, natural cheese, yogurt or nuts could be a second protein source. Be sure to record both on your menu. 

Vegetarian meals can be served providing they follow meal pattern requirements. Examples of meat alternatives that are creditable include: natural cheese, eggs, cooked dry beans and dry peas, yogurt, peanut butter or any combination of above. 

High Sodium Meats

High sodium meats should be limited to no more than twice a week. They Include: hot dogs, corn dogs, ham, cheese, sausage, bologna, or lunch meats.


A meat/meat alternate may be served in place of the entire grains component at breakfast a maximum of three times per week. 


Yogurt, including soy yogurt, may be plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened.  

Non-Creditable yogurt products include: frozen yogurt, drinkable yogurt(bottles), homemade yogurt, yogurt flavored products, yogurt bars, yogurt covered fruit & nuts, yogurt in commercially prepared smoothies. 

Must contain no more than 23 grams of sugar per 6 oz.

Click on the picture below for a downloadable/printable chart of yogurt serving size sugar limits. 

Deep-Fat Frying

Submerging foods in hot oil or other fat may not be used to prepare foods on site. An example would be using a "fry-daddy" or deep fat fryer.