Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

In the National School Lunch Program


OVS is a concept that applies to menu planning, and the determination of reimbursable meals for grades K-12 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNP (School Nutrition Programs) – including Seamless Summer and breakfast Programs. 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 lunch

OVS applies to daily meal pattern requirements. Schools must offer all five components in at least the minimum daily amounts, for a reimbursable lunch, students must select at least ½ c fruits or vegetables and the full serving (minimum daily amount) of at least two other food components. A food component is one of five food groups that comprise a reimbursable lunch (milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat/meat alternate). A food item is a specific food offered within the five food components. For example a hamburger (meat/meat alternate component) on a whole grain bun (grains component) is one food item that contain two components)


OVS Requirements at Lunch

  1. Milk – 1 cup (offer 1% Unflavored and FF Flavored)
  2. ½ cup fruit
  3. 2 – ½ cup Vegetable equivalents (1 cup salad = ½ c vegetable equivalent)
  • Must Offer: Leafy Green; Orange /Red; Bean ½ c serving weekly
  1. Whole Grain (2 oz equivalent)
  2. Meat/Meat Alternate (2 oz Equivalent)

milk apple carrots broccli muffin chicken tenders

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Meals must be priced as a unit, ie: students pay the same price regardless of whether they take three, four, or five food components