Meals in NYC Public Schools
Our goal is to provide nutrient-rich options that students of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy. Our meals maintain high nutrition standards which meet and exceed USDA standards for school meals. OFNS also adheres to NYC Food Standards for purchasing, and sets internal standards such as our prohibited ingredients list. View a detailed breakdown of the nutritional information of every item offered through our schools.
For more information about our menus, nutrition information, or programs, email us at SFWebsitesuggestion@schools.nyc.gov.
At breakfast, schools must offer students all three required food components:
- Grains/Meat/Meat Alternate
At lunch, schools must offer students all five required food components:
- Meat or Meat Alternate
Our calorie requirements for meals align with the USDA’s weekly average nutrient requirements:
- Grades K-8
- Breakfast: 400-500 calories
- Lunch: 600-650 calories
- Grades 6-8
- Breakfast: 400-550 calories
- Lunch: 600-700 calories
- Grades 9-12
- Breakfast: 450-600 calories
- Lunch: 750-850 calories
All products adhere to NYC Food Standards sodium requirements. All meals meet the USDA sodium requirements.
- Grades K-8
- Breakfast: ≤600
- Lunch: ≤1230
- Grades 6-8
- Breakfast: ≤600
- Lunch: ≤1360
- Grades 9-12
- Breakfast: ≤640
- Lunch: ≤1420
Our standards for fat meet NYC and USDA Food Standards.
- Total Fat accounts for a maximum of 35% of total calories in a meal.
- Saturated Fat accounts for a maximum of 10 % of total calories in a meal.
- Trans Fat is not allowed in any meal or snack.
Menu Nutrient Analysis
OFNS adheres to the Final Rule for USDA’s Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (published January 26, 2012). Under the Rule, OFNS follows a food-based menu planning approach following program meal pattern requirements. OFNS also conducts a nutrient analysis to ensure our meals meet the established dietary specification (calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium) for specific age/grade groups. Our breakfast and lunch meals are evaluated through a USDA-approved nutrient analysis software.
Our menu is completely pork-free. All hamburgers are 100% beef. Our chicken is certified no-antibiotics-ever and humanly-raised. All deli meats have been removed from our menus.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Our daily offered menu options support students with allergy restrictions, vegetarian and vegan preferences, and religious restricted diets.. Menu items and recipes indicated with a (V) are vegetarian and (VE) are vegan. Mondays and Fridays are citywide meatless menu days.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are offered daily throughout our menus and salad bars. We serve a variety of vegetables from five different subgroups (dark green, red-orange, beans-legumes, starchy, and others), ensuring our students receive a diverse nutrient profile.
All bread and grains offered are at least 51% whole grain-rich and contain at least 2g of fiber per serving.
Water is part of a healthy diet and available during all meal programs. Water fountains or refrigerated water jets are located in school cafeterias for students to enjoy.
Sustainable and Local Food
OFNS is continuously looking for products that sustain our food and ecosystem. We serve our food on compostable and biodegradable plates.
OFNS is consistently utilizing fresh fruit and produce based on the seasonality. Please refer to the menu for featured fresh fruit and produce offered.
Pride of New York
We proudly celebrate locally sourced and produced food items. Our Pride of New York initiative offers locally produced bread, fruit, yogurts, and entrees all made right here in New York State. All New York items are highlighted in green on our posted menus in the student cafeteria
Food Allergen Awareness
We want to ensure that your child receives the best care possible at school. We take allergies, food safety, and student health very seriously. We cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment, but when we work together to create a management plan for your child, they are less likely to be exposed to allergens in school.
Please visit our page on allergies to learn more about how we ensure that your child receives the best care possible.
Food Allergen Information Product Labels
All food items can be supported with product documentation from vendors and/or manufacturers regarding allergens present within the food itself or at the facility level.
Product/nutrition labels are available upon request. Parents can request labels and further information about our menu items. Please provide a specific item list when requesting allergen information product documentation.
Allergen Accommodations at the Point of Service
If a request is made at the point of service by a student or para-professional/teacher/school nurse (on student’s behalf), it will be honored by OFNS staff within reason.
- Example: No cheese on fish sandwich or no bun with burger
OFNS staff are not responsible for tracking or monitoring students with food sensitivities and allergies.
Dietary Medical Accommodations
For severe allergies, an action plan and menu may be required to accommodate dietary needs. This request will be supported through a Medical Accommodations (504) Request Form or Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Parent/guardian should provide all necessary documentation to the school for the accommodation.
School Administration can Email requests to OFNSMealAccomodations@schools.nyc.gov with supporting documentation. For a 504 Accommodation, please include the 504 Coordinator, Principal, School Nurse, and School Food Service Manager. A Teams meeting will be scheduled to discuss the action plan and parameters of the dietary accommodation.
Milk Options and Alternatives
Under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, milk must be offered to students as part of the meal. OFNS provides low fat milk, non-fat milk, and non-fat chocolate milk. Schools that do not wish to serve chocolate milk as an option should communicate their request to the School Food Service Manager assigned to their school, via their school administration.
Students who cannot consume milk due to a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance may receive a milk alternative: soy milk or lactose-free milk. Our milk alternatives comply with USDA’s nutrition standards for fluid milk. Medical documentation to support a milk alternative request is required.
The Alternative Milk Form (Open external link) is required to be completed by the parent/guardian or school nurse. Both documents may be submitted by parent/guardian to the School Nurse. Documentation is required for the School Food Service Manager to order the milk alternative for the student.