New rule may boost eggs in schools

May 9, 2024

New regulations to align school meals with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans may help schools offer more eggs and other meat alternates at breakfast.

The regulation, announced by the Food and Nutrition Service April 24, makes major changes to the menu rules for school lunches and breakfasts, including lower sodium limits and new limits on added sugars. Additionally, the rule will give schools more flexibility to offer “meats/meat alternates” – a category that includes eggs – at breakfast. Schools are allowed but not required to offer these foods at breakfast.

Under current regulations, schools must offer one grain product with every breakfast, whether or not they offer a meat/meat alternate. Under the new rule, the meat/meat alternate can substitute for the grain, reducing the school’s cost of serving the breakfast.

This may encourage more schools to serve protein foods at breakfast, especially since there are potential academic and behavioral benefits to doing so: Studies have shown that kids feel full for longer after an egg breakfast than after a grain product breakfast like bagels.

In a webinar describing the new rule, FNS officials specifically listed eggs as a healthy food that can be offered under the relaxed provision. UEP supported this change in public comments when it was first proposed.