Offer vs Serve in Grades K-12

National School Lunch Program

The Basic meal pattern for lunches consists of five food components:

o   Fruit

o   Vegetables

o   Grains

o   Meats/meat alternates

o   Fluid Milk


Under Offer vs Serve, all students, in Grades K-12 in the Macon County School System, must take:

o   At least 3 of 5 food components and

o   One of the choices selected must be at least a ½ cup serving of the fruit or vegetable component or a ½ cup total serving of both fruit and vegetable.


Three food components are required to support a minimally adequate nutritious meal for students as well as to support the amount of Federal reimbursement. Within each component, different choices may be offered and thus there are many combinations that the student may choose.


For example, while the menu planner must offer at least one cup each of fruits and vegetables, the student is able to decline some of the offerings as long as at least ½ cup of fruit and/or vegetables selected. Likewise, the student may decline the milk component. Other than selecting the required minimum fruit or vegetable serving, the choice to decline a food component is the student’s. Schools may not specify other food components a student must select.

If a student does not select at least a ½ cup serving total of fruits and/or vegetable, the lunch is not reimbursable, even if they have three other components. The cashier will ask the student to return to the line and select at least ½ cup serving of a fruit and/or vegetable.

For Offer vs Serve, if a student selects only three components and two of these are a fruit and a vegetable, she/he must select the full required serving size for either the fruit or vegetable in order to have both credited as components. In other words, a student who selects ½ cup of fruit and ½ cup of vegetable and milk does not have a reimbursable meal. Either the fruit or vegetable selection must be one cup to credit it as the third component. Alternately, the student could select a grain or meat/meat alternate choice as the third component, instead of more fruits or vegetables.

Macon County School Nutrition Program Benefits and Services are available to
all children without regard to race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex.