Nutritional Needs

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) represent levels of intake of essential nutrients that, on the basis of scientific knowledge, are judged by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences to be adequate to meet the nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons. In the United States, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP), which provide free and reduced-priced meals for children in schools, are required to provide one-third of the RDAs nutrient: dietary substance necessary for health

Recommended Dietary Allowances:

nutrient intake recommended to promote health at lunch and one-fourth of the RDAs at breakfast, thus ensuring that children eating at school consume adequate amounts of essential nutrients.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is also used to help determine the nutritional needs of American children. Through the DGA, the USDA recommends using the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP) as a tool for healthful food choices. Some key guidelines include not exceeding 30 percent of total energy intake from fat and getting less than 10 percent from saturated fats. The FGP for young children (two to six years old) identifies recommended portions of foods from grains (six servings), vegetables (three servings), fruit (two servings), milk (two servings), and meat (two servings), as well as recommending limiting the intake of fats and sweets. The nutrient needs of teens can be determined using the FGP for adults. The DGA also provide guidance in determining the number of servings of foods from each group, depending on total energy need.

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