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Menu planning

School menu planning can be a complex task. Check out these resources and tools to help you plan great menus for great trays.

Samples and suggestions

Need fresh ideas for your cycle menu? Use our sample cycle menu and collection of simple scratch recipes for inspiration.

  • Sample cycle menu (PDF). Provides ideas and inspiration as you work to align your menu with the new USDA rule on school meal programs.

  • Now we're cooking! A collection of simple scratch recipes served in Minnesota schools (PDF). A collection of simple scratch recipes tested in Minnesota cafeterias for student acceptability, cost, and ease of preparation. See at a glance how many servings of whole grains. How many servings of dark green, red/orange, starchy, and other vegetables. How many servings of legumes are in each portion of every recipe.

  • Baker’s dozen of home-sized recipes (PDF). Try out 13 recipes from the simple scratch recipes above using these home-sized versions.

Nutrition standards

Nutrition standards for school mealsFood and Nutrition Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture. Review the new standards for school meals, as well as technical assistance and guidance materials.

Foodservice recipes

What’s cooking? USDA mixing bowlFood and Nutrition Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture. Search the more than 1,000 mouth-watering recipes that are scaled for large quantity foodservice. Most recipes for school nutrition yield 50 or 100 portions per recipe.

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