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DEPARTMENTS   »   District Operational Services   »   Nutrition Services   »   Menus   »   Offer vs Serve

Offer vs Serve

Offer versus serve (OVS) is a concept which applies to menu planning in the school breakfast and lunch programs. It is designed to decrease food waste and provide students with more flexibility in choosing what they want to eat.

Overview of OVS Requirements at Lunch:
OVS applies to the daily meal pattern requirements. Each school must OFFER five food components in at least the minimum daily amounts. Students must SELECT at least three of the five food components under the Federal program regulations. One of the three required components must be at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable, and the full serving of two other food components.

The meal must be priced as a unit. A student who takes 3, 4, or 5 components will pay the same price.

The five food components at lunch include:                                                                                                                                            
              1. Meat/Meat Alternate
              2. Grains/Breads
              3. Fruits
              4. Vegetables
              5. Milk

Except for fluid milk, the food components may be offered in more than one food item. An example would be Hamburger on a Bun. The item consists of a Meat/Meat Alternate and a Grain/Bread. Another example is A+ Hamburger Pizza. The item consists of Meat/Meat Alternate (Hamburger and Cheese) and a Grain/Bread (Pizza Crust).

Overview of OVS Requirements at Breakfast:
OVS applies to the daily meal pattern requirements. Each school must OFFER four food items in at least the minimum daily amounts. Students must SELECT three food items under the Federal program regulations. One of the three required items must be a ½ cup of fruit (or vegetable, if offered), and the full serving of two other food items. The definition of food items and food components for breakfast is different from lunch.

The four food items may include two offerings of grains (either two of the same grain or two different grains) or two offerings of fruits/vegetables (either two of the same fruit/vegetable or two different fruits/vegetables), but cannot include two offerings of milk. Milk must be offered as one of the four food items.

At Omaha Public Schools, all enrolled students may have breakfast at no charge.

Benefits of OVS:
    • Adults can teach children…by example…to make healthful choices.
    • Reduces waste. Children will select the foods they want to eat.
    • Students may take any combination of foods.
    • Some foods count as more than one item.
    • We encourage children to select all the foods offered so they have plenty to eat.