SDE: Policies on Special Diets

Policies on Special Diets

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Developing Policies for
Accommodating Special Diets in School Nutrition Programs
{boy in lunch line} Written policies for meal modifications are important because they:
  • provide clear guidelines for students, families, and school staff;
  • ensure consistent practices in all schools and among all staff members;
  • document compliance with federal and state requirements and best practices;
  • educate families regarding school practices and procedures;
  • provide a basis to evaluate program activities and staff members; and
  • demonstrate the LEA's commitment to children’s health and
The strategies below can assist local educational agencies (LEAs) with policy development. Priority areas include assessing current operations, developing standard operating procedures (SOPs), providing staff training, and ensuring consistent communication.
  • Identify the personnel and resources needed for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating the policy and SOPs.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of the LEA's current policies, practices, and procedures for modifications to school meals.
  • Identify the essential practices to implement in school food services and school health services, and determine where SOPs are necessary.
  • Develop an action plan to address the practices needing attention, as identified by the self- assessment. When developing action plans for SOPs, start with the most important practices.
  • Develop SOPs by writing down the actual steps taken when performing the specific task. When using sample SOPs from organizations or other schools, be sure to customize the information so it is specific to the local program.
  • Identify the training needs of school personnel regarding meal modifications for children with special nutrition needs. Provide annual and ongoing training for school food service personnel, school health services personnel, and other school staff, as appropriate.
  • Determine effective communication strategies between the school food service director, school food service personnel, nurse supervisor, nurses, teachers, students, parents or guardians, school staff, and administrators.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Self-assessment and Action Planning

SOPs are detailed explanations of how to implement a policy through specific practices or tasks. They provide step-by-step instructions that enable everyone to perform the task in a consistent manner. SOPs for special diets might include:

  • procedures for preparing foods for different types
    of special diets, such as texture modifications;
  • cleaning procedures for preventing food allergen contamination; and
  • training procedures for all staff including substitutes.

The following resources provide examples of SOPs:

CONTACT:  CSDE School Nutrition Programs Staff
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education
Child Nutrition Programs
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 504
Hartford, CT 06103-1841
Phone: 860-807-2050
Fax: 860-807-2127

Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)

Content Last Modified on 6/29/2017 7:36:04 AM