Child Nutrition Services’ goal is to provide nutritious meals in a safe environment for all students of St. Lucie Public Schools.
We understand that some children we serve have special dietary needs that may require a meal modification outside of USDA meal patterns.
Meal modifications come in all forms
- texture modification
- food allergies
- qualifying medical disability that restricts their diet.
The USDA has certain procedures Child Nutrition Services must follow to provide reasonable meal modifications for your child. The purpose of the procedures is twofold:
- make sure the meal being served meets your child’s nutritional needs as prescribed by a licensed physician.
- make sure the modified meal being served meets the definition of a reimbursable meal as defined/required by USDA.
We will discuss how the USDA defines meal modifications for children with qualifying special dietary medical needs and children with non-medical dietary needs, and the steps you need to take to request a meal modification.
Meal modifications for students with qualifying medical disabilities
The USDA requires school food authorities, us, to provide reasonable meal modifications to children who qualify for disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
We will make meal modifications for your child with a qualifying medical disability with supporting documentation.
Below are a few examples of qualifying medical conditions under Section 504.
Examples of disability under Section 504
- Cerebral palsy
- Metabolic disease (diabetes/PKU)
- Food anaphylaxis
- Specific learning disabilities
When requesting a meal modification for your child, Child Nutrition Services requires a written medical statement from a Florida licensed physician.
Below outlines what’s included in the statement.
What’s included in the physician statement
- The medical statement identifies the medical disability
- How the disability restricts the child’s diet
- Major life activity affected by disability
- Foods to be omitted from child’s diet
- Recommended food substitutions
We will not ask for medical records.
Child Nutrition Services doesn’t need your child’s medical records or charts as part of the request for meal modifications.
Meal substitutions for students with non-medical dietary needs
Child Nutrition Services will make meal modifications for your child with non-medical special dietary needs.
We require a meal modification form for children with food intolerances and food allergies that don’t result in life-threatening reactions.
A licensed physician must complete and sign the meal modification form.
Child Nutrition Services will review the request on a case-by-case basis.
Child Nutrition Services doesn’t make meal modifications for lifestyle or food preferences. Our menus offer a variety of selections.
We follow USDA offer vs. serve, which allows your child to customize their meal to enjoy the foods they like, reduce food waste, and fit into the USDA meal patterns, while declining food items they don’t like.
We ask parents and children to review our online menu MEALVIEWER to find acceptable meal choices.
Reasons to Request a Meal Modification for your Child
- Increased/decreased calorie needs
- Meal supplement
- Texture modification
- Sensory issues requiring food items being removed/subbed
- Food allergy that results in anaphylaxis
- Food allergy that doesn’t result in anaphylaxis
- Food allergy that requires us to remove one or more of the meal components of a reimbursable meal.
Steps to Complete the Meal Modification Form
Where can I find the Meal Modification Form?
You can request a form from the clinic or cafeteria manager at your child’s school.
Or you can download it here.
Bring the form to your child’s physician to have it completed.
Follow the steps below to complete and submit the meal modification form.
How to Complete the Meal Modification Form
Section 1-4 parents may complete
- Section 1 Please include your child’s name, school, grade, and student lunch number.
- Include your contact information so we can reach you.
- Section 2 let us know which meals your child eats with us.
- Section 3 Let us know if your child has a milk intolerance.
- Is your child intolerant to fluid milk only?
- Can your child have baked milk – bakery items containing bread?
- Can your child have yogurt or cheese (pizza)?
- Section 4 Please complete this section in full and sign.
A licensed physician completes and signs the back of the form.
- Make sure the licensed medical provider completes all sections on the back of the form.
- Find acceptable meal substitutions on MEALVIEWER, our online menu.
- Help us understand the best way to meet your child’s dietary needs.
- Include information for texture modification if your child requires.
Make sure all sections are complete and you, the parent, sign the front and a licensed physician, sign the back of the form.
We will return incomplete forms, slowing down the process.
What Happens Next?
Return the completed meal modification form to the cafeteria manager at your child’s school.
The cafeteria manager will review the meal modification form for completeness and take the steps necessary to start the requested dietary change.
Please allow us 10 working days from receipt of the meal modification form to review, approve, and implement the request.
How often do I complete the meal modification form?
We ask parents to update this form yearly. This helps us make sure we have the most up-to-date information regarding meals to meet your child’s dietary needs.
The best time to do this is at the beginning of the school year, as you update other school forms for your child.
But, you can request meal modifications any time of the school year.
What if I need to stop the meal modification?
We understand things change. Children outgrow food allergies or no longer need meal modifications. We have a form for that.
Parents, have your child’s physician complete the discontinuation form and return to the school cafeteria manager.
Once we receive the completed form, we will update the information in our system to remove any meal modifications.
Child Nutrition Services is your partner for providing your child balanced meals that meet their medical and dietary needs when you can’t be there.
Communication is key.
We communicate the dietary needs of your child to our employees regularly.
We provide training in food safety, cross-contamination, label reading, and texture modification.
We strive to keep the lines of communication open with parents, teachers, and the school clinic to make sure the meals we provide meet the dietary needs of our customer, your child.
Providing nutritious meals in a safe environment for all students of St. Lucie Public Schools is our goal in Child Nutrition Services.
The above information may sound complicated, but it’s not. We are here to answer questions about requesting meal modifications.
Please reach out to our Registered Dietitian, Jen Muzzin, with questions you may have. firstname.lastname@example.org
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider.