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2022-23 Meal Service

Pre-K/Headstart (May 2023)

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Elementary (May 2023)

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Middle (May 2023)

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High (May 2023)

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Nondiscrimination Statements: English | espanol

SPECIAL MEAL PLAN

Does your child require a special meal plan, related to a medical condition or food allergy? You must complete the Special Dietary Needs Form and email it to DFNSOffice@mcpsmd.org. You can access the form in English español | français | 中文 | Portuguese | 한국어 | tiếng Việt | አማርኛ  

 

Low and outstanding Meal Balance Notification 

The school meal programs provide nutritious meals to children during the school day. In order to serve healthy, high-quality meals to all children, we must ensure that we are financially secure. You play a key role in this effort, and are responsible for purchases made by your child in their school cafeteria. MCPS wants to ensure that you are notified when student cafeteria accounts are low or go into a negative balance. Everyone is expected to pay.

MCPS will make the following efforts to ensure that unpaid meal balances are addressed:

  • If your student has a low or negative balance, a Cafeteria Account Statement will be sent home weekly to parents at the elementary level and biweekly to parents at the secondary level.
  • When a negative balance exceeds $10, you will receive a Connect-Ed message each week from the school and biweekly from the Division of Food and Nutrition Services, to ensure communication and provide updates.
  • When a negative balance reaches $20 or more, a school administrator, school counselor, pupil personnel worker, or parent community coordinator will contact you by phone to discuss the negative balance and determine a method of repayment. If  repayment is not possible at that time, then the school will work with you to apply for FARMS services.

Support from MCPS Central Office

If your child's growing negative balance is concerning you, your child may be eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. Apply online at MySchoolApps.com or complete a Household Application for Free and Reduced-price Meals, available from your child's school.

  • MySchoolBucks.com is an optional service for parents/guardians to make prepayments to a student's cafeteria account for breakfast, lunch, and à-la-carte meals online with a credit or debit card. This service is offered as a convenience for interested families.
  • By creating a secure online account, parents can monitor and manage their child's account.
  • There is a $1.95 convenience fee for each payment transaction.
  • There is no cost to set up an account, check your child's spending history, and receive low-balance notifications.

 

Menu Planning

Our dietitians focus on balancing many aspects of menu planning to provide healthy, tasty meals to our customers.These include regulations established by the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety, cost, preparation, storage, seasonal availability, Healthy Guidelines for Americans, and donated government food.

Also, we collaborate with manufacturers and develop specifications to provide foods that not only taste good, but also are low in fats and sodium.

New products are tested periodically with student groups. If results are positive, the products are introduced on menus for all students.

Sometimes foods, such as whole grains, are not particularly acceptable to students, but are we recognize them as highly beneficial and healthy. We will always try different ways to present the product, believing that, over time, students will become more accustomed to having these foods as a regular part of their diet.

MCPS menus are planned in cycles during the school year. Different menu items may be offered for a specific period of time and then replaced with new offerings later. This allows us to increase the variety of foods offered during the year.

À La Carte 

We continue to promote and maintain a healthy school environment. We have updated guidelines for the sale of snack and beverage items through vending machines, school stores, athletic departments, and fundraisers. The Office of the Chief Operating Officer notifies schools of the nutritional requirements for the sale of food sold to students from midnight until 30 minutes after the end of the instructional day.

A variety of à-la-carte items may be available in your student's school cafeteria. All items available for sale are in compliance with JPG-RA, Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health. Specific items vary at each school.

Examples of items for sale: baked chips, crackers, and low-fat ice cream.

For specific information regarding items available at your child's school or to request that the purchase of à-la-carte items be restricted, please contact the school cafeteria manager.

 

Approved Snack Items

  • Total fat: Calories from total fat must be at or below 35% per serving. Excludes nuts, seeds, nut butters, and reduced-fat cheese.
  • Trans fat: Less than 0.5 grams (trans-fat-free) per serving
  • Saturated fat: Calories from saturated fat must be below 10% per serving. Excludes reduced-fat cheese.
  • Sugar: Total sugar must be under or equal to 35% sugar by weight (includes naturally occurring and added sugars). Excludes fruits, vegetables, and milk.
  • Sodium: Around 230 mg per non-entree. Around 480 mg per entree.
  • Portion size/Calories: Not to exceed the serving size of the food served in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); for other items, the package or container data is not to exceed 200 calories.

Carbonated beverages, candy of any type, and donuts are prohibited from sale to students, regardless of their nutritional profile.

Click here for Smart Snack Calculator.

Approved Beverages

  • Milk: Only low-fat (1% or less) and fat-free (skim) flavored or unflavored fluid milk and USDA-approved alternative dairy beverages. Limited serving size to maximum of 8 fluid ounces.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices: 100% juice with no sweeteners (nutritive or non-nutritive). Limited serving size to maximum of 6 fluid ounces in elementary schools.
  • Water: No sweeteners (nutritive or non-nutritive), noncarbonated, caffeine-free. No flavored water in elementary schools.