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DCPS Nutritional Standards

Photo of a school lunch trays with grilled chicken, asparagus, peppers, a croissant, an apple and a small carton of milk.

DCPS Food Services holds some of the highest nutritional standards of any school district in the country to support student health, wellness and academic achievement. In addition to the nutrition standards set by the DC Healthy Schools Act, DCPS holds an additional set of high standards to ensure students are eating a variety of healthy and delicious meals.

All DCPS food service vendors are required to be in full compliance with DCPS’ nutritional standards.

General

  • Tree nuts are not served in any meals
  • Vegetarian meals are offered to all students daily
  • Pizza will only be served a maximum of once per week in elementary and middle schools and twice per week in high schools.

Dairy 

  • Milk must be skim or no more than one percent fat;
  • Milk cannot contain added sweeteners or artificial flavorings; and
  • Cheeses and yogurts must be low-fat.

Grain

  • All grains must be 100 percent whole-grain rich

Meat & Protein

  • Meat may not contain hormones, antibiotics, Genetically Modified Organism(s), unnatural feeds or have been subjected to irradiation or ammonia in the processing phase;
  • All meat and meat products must be sound, sanitary and free of objectionable odors or signs of deterioration;
  • Meats and proteins must not be fried at any point during their processing;
  • Processed fish must not contact more than five hundred milligrams of sodium per serving;
  • Eggs must be USDA Grade A; and
  • Pork will not be served in any form in elementary schools and education campuses;
  • Fish must be offered at least three times per month; and
  • Beef will not be served more than once per week.

Produce

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables shall be offered daily;
  • On average throughout the year, 20 percent of all food ingredients and products used in the making of the meals must be either locally-grown and/or locally-processed*
  • Fruits and vegetables must be naturally-grown, or otherwise grown under sustainable practices as defined by the USDA;
  • Dark green leafy and orange vegetables must be used weekly;
  • Fruits and vegetables are preferably fresh or frozen and must not be contained in anything other than water or natural fruit juice; and
  • Only 100 percent fruit juice may be served. 

*Locally-grown, as defined by the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act of 2010, means from a grower in: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia. Locally-processed, as defined by the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act of 2010, means processed at a facility in: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia.