What is a Reimbursable Meal?

  • A reimbursable meal is a federal formula which helps each district determine whether it receives a monetary reimbursement from the federal government for each meal given to students. This does not include adult meals or a second full meal for a student. In order to get that reimbursement, the USDA guidelines must be followed. The lunch and breakfast programs are a little different.

    Lunch

    The District is required to offer students five components with each lunch. Students are required to take three of those five components in order for the Olathe Public Schools to count it as a “reimbursable meal.” Students are also required to take a serving of a fruit or vegetable for the District to count it as a reimbursable meal. The components offered are:

    • Milk (Must be skim or 1% for flavored milk)
    • Meat / meat alternate (meat, cheese, yogurt, beans/legumes)
    • Bread / grains (All grains served must be “whole grain rich” including breading, cookies, cereal, pretzels, etc.)
    • Fruit / vegetables (There is a requirement for certain subcategories of vegetables according to their color and nutritional content.)

    There are different requirements for different age groups for certain components. For example, at the high school level,10-12 bread/grain servings must be offered each week. At the middle schools, 8-10 bread/grain servings must be offered each week. At the elementary level, the requirement is 8-9 servings of bread/grain items each week.

    Example 1 of a Reimbursable Lunch:

    The main item is whole-grain spaghetti with meat sauce. We put the pasta and meat sauce on the student’s tray. Because it contains a bread/grain component and the meat component, the student then only needs to take a serving of a fruit or vegetable to meet the minimum requirement for a reimbursable meal. They also can take a carton of milk or other item offered as part of the regular lunch, such as one breadstick, and not be charged.

    Example 2 of a Reimbursable Lunch:

    The main item is chili. The chili counts as the meat/meat alternate item. Students would have to take two more components for us to count that as a reimbursable meal. They could choose from an 8 oz. carton of milk, a serving of fruit, a serving of vegetables, or a serving of a bread/grain item. Again, one of the three components on their tray has to be a serving of a fruit or vegetable.

    Breakfast

    At breakfast, we are required to offer four components:

    • 1-2 ounce equivalent servings of bread/grain
    • one-half cup serving of fruit
    • one-half cup serving of 100 percent juice
    • Milk

    Students are required to take a serving of a fruit to be counted as a reimbursable meal.

    Offer vs. serve at breakfast requires students to take three of the four components. At minimum, we can count a breakfast as reimbursable if a student takes either milk or one 4 oz. juice serving with a combination of the bread/grain and meat components. Without being charged for an extra item, students can take a carton of milk, 4 oz. juice/fruit and a combination of the bread/grain and meat components.

    Example 1 of a Reimbursable Breakfast:

    Whole grain pancakes, one-half cup fruit, and a carton of milk

    Example 2 of a Reimbursable Breakfast:

    Cereal (1 oz container), or one package of graham crackers, one carton of milk, and one-half cup of fruit.

    All of our Café staff are trained to ensure that each tray served contains a reimbursable meal.

    Questions can be directed to Assistant Director of Operations Steven Newman at 913-780-7005 or by emailing him.

Breakfast Meal Pattern

Meal Item Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
Fruit (cups) 5 (1) 5 (1) 5 (1)
Dark green vegetables (cups) 0 0 0
Red/orange vegetables (cups) 0 0 0
Beans/peas/legumes (cups) 0 0 0
Starchy vegetables (cups) 0 0 0
Other vegetables (cups) 0 0 0
Additional vegetable to reach total 0 0 0
Grains (oz. eq.) 7-10 (1) 8-10 (1) 9-10 (1)
Meats / meat alternatives (oz. eq.) 0 0 0
Fluid milk (cups) 5 (1) 5 (1) 5 (1)

Lunch Meal Pattern

Meal Item Grades K-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12
Fruit (cups) 2.5 (1) 2.5 (1) 5 (1)
Dark green vegetables (cups) 3.75 (1) 3.75 (1) 5 (1)
Red/orange vegetables (cups) 0.5 0.5 0.5
Beans/peas/legumes (cups) 0.5 0.5 0.5
Starchy vegetables (cups) 0.5 0.5 0.5
Other vegetables (cups) 0.5 0.5 0.75
Additional vegetables to reach goal 1 1 1.5
Grains (oz. eq.) 8-9 (1) 8-10 (1) 10-12 (1)
Meats/meat alternatives (oz. eq.) 8-10 (1) 9-10 (1) 10-12 (1)
Fluid milk (cups) 5 (1) 5 (1) 5 (1)