Menu Certification Process

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 8 cents per meal.

Tab/Accordion Items

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 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 one approved by the 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 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 Assessment 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, using USDA-approved nutrient analysis software. Therefore, the Simplified Nutrient Assessment tab will not need to be completed with the Excel certification worksheet when choosing Option 2.