The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Offer Versus Serve program

May 29, 2023

Most elementary and middle schools operate under a system that requires students to take all components of a reimbursable meal, meaning they must take a vegetable, fruit, milk, and an entree for their meal to be reimbursed by the NSLP. A different type of system exists in high schools.

High schools use an Offer Versus Serve (OVS) system, which was implemented in the 2015 to 2016 school year. Essentially, the OVS program gives students more choices by allowing them to decline certain foods while still allowing the meal to be reimbursable. 

OVS still requires schools to offer the five food components of a nutritious meal (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and milk); however, students are only required to take three of these food components, with at least one being half a cup of a fruit or vegetable, for their meals to be reimbursable.

As stated in the OVS guidelines, the goal of this system is to “reduce food waste and to permit students to choose the foods they want to eat.”

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