For nutrition providers serving congregate or home-delivered meals fewer than 5days a week (e.g., 2 days, 3 days or 4 days) the menus served for those days must comply with the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) and the Dietary Guidelines for American (DGA) requirements.
Menus shall be planned and evaluated for meeting the DRI and DGA nutritional requirements by using either Computer Nutrient Analysis or the Texas Model of Menu Planning. Using either of these methods allow for the documentation of the nutritional adequacy of the menu set.
Many of the menus I write are based on a weekly, 5-day average for nutrients, but there are limited sites that only receive meals between two and four days per week. If these meals served between two and four days per week are based on the Texas Model of Menu Planning, do they still need to meet the nutrient analysis requirements?
Yes. Meals served fewer than 5 days per week must comply with the DRI requirements. The DRI and DGA requirements can be met by using either the computer nutrient analysis for the targeted nutrients or the Texas Model of Menu Planning. For sites that serve fewer than 5 days per week (e.g., 2-day sites, 3-day sites or 4-day sites) assurance must be made that the menus served for those days comply. For the computer nutrient analysis method of documentation, the targeted nutrients (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, sodium, potassium and fiber) will be averaged over the total number of meals served during that week. In the forthcoming DRI Program Instruction, the Texas Model of Menu Planning will include special instructions for nutrition providers that are only providing meals 2, 3 or 4 days per week. If the Texas Model of Menu Planning is used for documentation, the special instructions for serving 2 days, 3 days or 4 days must be followed.
The kitchen for the meal provider prepares meals for 5 days a week and the 5-day menu meets the Texas Model of Menu Planning or the computer nutritional analysis DRI requirements. Is it allowable for these meals to reach satellite or catered meal sites to provide consumers congregate and home-delivered meals fewer than 5 days a week? Are the DRI requirements based on the kitchen preparing meals?
No. If the menus were developed for 5 meals per week and averaged over 5 days and the satellite or catered meal site are serving less than 5 days the menus cannot be used for the satellite sites. For the menus to comply using the computer nutritional analysis, the targeted nutrients must be averaged over the number of days of service for that week at each satellite site. If the site serves 3 days, then the targeted nutrients will be averaged over 3 days of meal service. If the site serves 2 days, then the targeted nutrients will be averaged over the 2 days of meal service. For the menus to comply based the Texas Model of Menu Planning, the special instructions must be followed for meals served less than 5 days per week.
If a meal provider is a stand-alone (1 kitchen and 1 site for congregate and home-delivered meals), the meals prepared by that kitchen must meet the percentage of days served (e.g., 40, 60 and 80 percent). What is the easy way to handle this situation — Is it allowable for the kitchen provider to apply the percentage to the Texas Model of Menu Planning 5-day model?
The targeted nutrients will be averaged over the number of days of service by the nutrition or satellite site. For example, for a 3-day nutrition provider, the daily Vitamin C content of the menu was 25mg, 35mg and 45mg, respectively; then the 3-day average would be 35mg. Because the range is 25mg or higher, the Vitamin C content would comply. In planning menus, it would be easier to plan from the least number of days served to the most number of days per week.
For example, plan for the 2-day service and average the targeted nutrients for compliance first, then the 3-day menu and average, and lastly the 5-day menu and average. For the menus to comply based the Texas Model of Menu Planning the special instructions that will be forthcoming in the DRI Policy Instruction must be followed for meals served fewer than 5 days per week.
One program has a waiver to serve congregate meals 3 days a week, but serves home-delivered meals 5 days a week. (It's very rural.) It has 1 kitchen and 1 site. Do both the congregate and home-delivered meals comply with the DRI requirements?
No. If using the computer nutrition analysis, the home-delivered meals targeted nutrients must be averaged over the five days; however, the congregate meals targeted nutrients must be averaged over the three days of service to be in compliance. Although this sounds more difficult to achieve, meals planned with higher levels of the targeted nutrients on the three days should help the average when factoring in the five-day home-delivered meals. For the menus to comply based on the Texas Model of Menu Planning, the special instructions that will be forthcoming in the DRI Policy Instruction must be followed for meals served less than five days per week.
Will there be a minimum nutrient level for each day?
Other than the protein and calories daily range, no. There will not be a minimum daily nutrient level for each meal. Having a minimum daily level for these nutrients makes the menu more difficult to plan and less flexible.