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CPS Nutrition Guidelines

Chicago Public Schools is committed to providing healthy, high-quality food to all students.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Breakfast features a different fruit daily, at least three fresh fruits a week. 100 percent juice may be counted as a fruit only once per week.
  • Lunch features five different fresh fruits per week. 100 percent juice cannot be counted as a fruit.
  • Vegetables from the dark-green, red, orange, beans and peas, and other sub-groups may be substituted for fruits to meet the breakfast fruit requirement.
  • Lunch features one cup of vegetables daily and two additional vegetable servings weekly.
  • Fresh local produce is to be served twice per month, frozen local produce is to be served once per week, with additional special local promotions at least once a month.

Whole Grains

All grain items served at breakfast and lunch are whole-grain rich.


  • Protein must be included as a component in breakfast three times a week for both hot and cold menus.
  • A minimum of one meatless breakfast and one meatless lunch option is provided every day.
  • Meatless protein may include tofu, soy, beans, legumes, peanut butter, and Greek yogurt.
  • Lean, finely textured beef (LFTB), also known as pink slime, is prohibited.
  • All CPS menus are pork-free.
  • All chicken has no antibiotics ever.
  • The district supports sustainability and environmental efforts by participating in Meatless Mondays. Meatless Mondays offer plant-based proteins and may include tofu, soy, beans, legumes, peanut butter, and Greek yogurt.

Starchy Foods

  • Starchy vegetables (peas, corn, and potatoes) are limited to one cup per week.
  • Potato items (i.e., French fries, tater tots, hash browns, etc.) are limited to once per week in elementary schools and twice per week in high schools.
  • Nachos are limited to once a month in elementary schools and once a week in high schools.


  • Breakfasts provide at least 3 grams of fiber.
  • Lunches provide at least 7 grams of fiber.

Fat, Sugar, and Sodium

  • CPS meals do not include deep fat frying, MSG, trans fats, or high-fat, high-sugar condiments.
  • Water and juice may not contain artificial or added sweeteners.
  • Sodium levels must meet the prescribed USDA targets.
  • No sodium is added in meal preparation, and no salt shakers are made available to students.
  • Syrup is limited to one packet per meal.


  • All milk is low-fat or skim and may not contain water, preservatives, neutralizers, rGHB, BST, or other foreign matters.
  • No chocolate milk is to be served at breakfast in elementary schools.
  • All beverages served or sold must meet the Local School Wellness Policy.
  • All students have access to plain drinking water at no cost.

Local Foods

  • Locally sourced fresh frozen items are to be served at lunch at least once each week.
  • Locally sourced fresh items are to be served at least twice each month
  • Locally raised, no-antibiotic-ever chicken is to be served at least twice each month.

Reformulated Foods

No reformulated or “copycat” foods are offered.

Breakfast Restrictions

  • No dessert-like items are served at breakfast.
  • Cereals should contain no more than 5 grams of sugar, unless they provide 3 or more grams of fiber.


  • Elementary school breakfast calorie range: 350–550
  • High school breakfast calorie range: 450–600
  • Elementary school lunch calorie range: 550–700
  • High school lunch calorie range: 750–850

Snacks and Beverages

  • All food served or sold on school grounds to be consumed during the school day, including items in vending machines, à la carte and school stores, must follow the same high nutritional standards as food served during breakfast and lunch. The school day is defined as midnight to 30 minutes after dismissal.
  • No food may be offered or sold in place of a school meal (i.e. NO pizza parties, Subway parties, etc. in place of lunch).
  • For more information on healthy snack and beverage policies, as well as local school wellness policies on celebrations, fundraisers, and rewards, see LearnWELL: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity.
  • For questions related to the district’s centralized vending machine program, please email

Ingredients Guide for Good School Purchasing

  • CPS aims to reduce ingredients of concern from our school meals. Unwanted ingredients should not be included in newly developed products and eliminated, over time, from existing products. Ingredients on the "Watch List" tend to be highly processed foods and foods with lower nutritional quality. 
  • Learn more about these ingredients from the Ingredient Guide for Better School Purchasing.

Nutrition Support Services

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602