Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

Offer Versus Serve (OVS)
In the School Breakfast Program

OVS is a concept that applies to menu planning and the determination of reimbursable meals for K-12 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)School Breakfast and School Lunch Program, including Seamless Summer.

It allows students to decline a certain number of food components in the meal and select the foods they prefer to eat, while reducing food costs and waste.


Overview of OVS at Breakfast

OVS applies to the daily meal pattern requirement.

Schools must offer at least four food items.

For a reimbursable breakfast, students must select at least three items including grains, and ½ c fruit.
Students may decline milk and second fruit choice.

  • A food component is one of the three food groups that comprise reimbursable breakfasts,
    including grains (with option meat/meat alternates as grain substitutions), fruits (with optional
    vegetable substitutions), and milk.

  • A food item is a specific food offered within the three food components. It may contain more
    food components or more than one serving of the same component. For example, menu
    planners can choose to credit a 2 ounce equivalent (oz eq) 2.5 oz whole grain breakfast bar (one
    food component) as two food items (two grains).


Must Offer Four Food Items from Three Food Components:


  1. Milk (1 cup – offer 2 fat contents. 1% Unflavored and FF Flavored )
  2. Fruit - 1/2 cup 100% fruit juice

                    Second  ½ c fruit equivalent  (for a total of 1 cup fruit daily)

  1. Grains – 2 oz whole grains or 1 oz whole grain and 1 oz meat/meat alternate (as grain substitution)


Students may decline one fruit choice and milk. Students must take 3 of the4 items

 juice poptart raisins milk

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.