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Federal School Lunch Program

Building a Balanced Diet

VCS embraces its responsibility to teach students how to develop healthy, balanced diets. We realize that our food service department can serve as a catalyst in performing this important service.

In an effort to help students to gain healthy dietary habits, our cafeterias build meals based on guidelines established in accordance with the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Whether students choose to purchase the standard meal of the day or to build their own combination utilizing our a la carte selections, we encourage students to consume complete meals based on the following criteria that have been established to constitute a complete, balanced meal.

New regulations by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) were put in effect on July 1, 2012 based on the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Schools across the United States are obliged to take part in these regulations if they are part of the NSLP in order to receive federal and state reimbursements which offset costs and keep school meals at a reasonable price.

The requirements include:

  • Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables
  • Reducing the sodium in meals with the final sodium specifications to be reached by July 1, 2022
  • Setting calorie limits
  • Only 100% Whole Grains must be offered which became effective July 1, 2014

As a result of all these requirements, one of the most significant changes that occurred for students in 2013-14 was the limited amounts of condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, etc.) being offered. In prior years, condiments were free range to all students (which unfortunately, resulted in much waste due to non-usage); however, due to the fact that condiments have to be calculated within the calorie limits for each meal, we are no longer able to offer them free. The USDA requires that the condiments be part of the meal calorie calculation, therefore, if a student desires to have extra condiments outside the requirement of the meal, middle and high school students will have an added fee charged for each condiment taken. Elementary students will not have the option of purchasing extra condiments.

All our cafeterias provide items from the 5 food groups on a daily basis. These food groups are:

(1) Fruits (2) Vegetable (3) Meat/Meat Alternate (4) Fluid Milk (5) 100% Whole Grains

Building a Balanced Diet

  • You can choose 1 item from each of the 5 color groups for the school lunch price or if you qualify for free or reduced, you will get the meal at no cost if you are on a free meal plan, or you will get the meal for .40 cents if you are on a reduced meal plan.
  • If less food is preferred, you must choose 1 fruit and/or vegetable and 2 of the other 3 color groups (i.e. Meat or Meat Alternate; Fluid, Milk and Grain) to get the school lunch price, or free if you are on a free meal plan, or you will get the meal for .40 cents if you are on a reduced meal plan.
  • If you choose not to select from the fruit and/or vegetable group, each item will be charged as an a la carte item even though you are on a free or reduced lunch meal plan, as the tray is not considered a full meal.

We strongly encourage your children to select 1 item from each of the 5 color groups as this not only represents the best deal but also the healthiest meal for your child.


Grade Level Reduced Lunch Meal Regular Lunch Meal Large Side
A la Carte
Small Side A la Carte Snacks Extra Fruit or Vegetable Extra Milk or Juice Carton Bottled Water Bottled & Canned Juices
K-3 $0.40 $2.50 N/A N/A $0.50 N/A $0.40 $0.40
(8 oz.)
4-8 $0.40 $2.75 $2.15 $1.50 $.50 - .75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)
9-12 $0.40 $2.75 $2.25 $1.50 $.50 - .75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)
Adult N/A $3.50 $2.25 $1.50 $.50 - .75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)


Grade Level Reduced Breakfast Meal Regular Breakfast Meal Large Side
A la Carte
Small Side A la Carte Extra Fruit Extra Milk or Juice Bottled Water Bottled Juices
K-3 $0.30 $1.50 $1.00 $0.75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.40
(8 oz.)
4-8 $0.30 $1.75 $1.10 $0.75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)
9-12 $0.30 $1.75 $1.20 $0.75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)
Adult N/A $2.50 $1.20 $0.75 $0.75 $0.40 $0.75
(16.9 oz.)

BREAKFAST NOTE: A student may choose one of the following combinations below for it to be considered a full breakfast meal.

(PLEASE NOTE: Fruit, juice or vegetable must be taken in order to qualify for a breakfast meal price, or if you qualify for the free meal program, you will get the meal at no cost, or you will get the meal for .30 cents if you are on the reduced meal plan.)

  1. 2 grains with a fruit, juice or vegetable and choice of white or chocolate milk
  2. 2 meat/meat alternates with a fruit, juice or vegetable and choice of white or chocolate milk
  3. 1 grain along with 1 meat/meat alternate with a fruit, juice or vegetable and choice of white or chocolate milk

If only 1 or 2 food items are selected, the a la carte prices will be charged for the items even if you are on a free or reduced meal plan.

Grades K-12 operate on a two week breakfast menu cycle. Grades K-3 operate on a 4 week lunch menu cycle, grades 4-8 operate on a 3 week lunch menu cycle and grades 9-12 operate on a four week lunch menu cycle. In addition to the federally supported meal programs, we ensure that any ala carte foods, snacks and beverages sold in our schools meet the nutrient requirements for calories, sodium, fat and sugar. These requirements were published by the USDA in the 2014-15 school year known as "Smart Snacks in Schools". Our Food Service Department uses a number of tools and resources available to help schools identify items that meet the "Smart Snacks" criteria to make healthier snack choices for our students

We work hard to exceed guidelines for minimal offerings in cafeterias in an effort to offer appetizing and healthy selections for all our students.

If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact one of the following:

Dr. Randy McDaniel, Food Service Director at 352-259-2350 or at
Nancy Orozco, Free/Reduced Meal Applications at 352-259-6848
Jason Poplaski, Executive Chef at 352-259-3777 Ext. 1690 or at
Sara LaCourse, Food Service Accounts Manager at 352-259-0044 Ext. 2252 or

PLEASE NOTE: We highly encourage you to monitor your child's lunch account free of charge on You may also make payments on this website with a credit or debit card for a fee of $1.95 per transaction.

Website Accessibility

The Villages Charter School (VCS) is committed to ensuring that its website is accessible to people with disabilities. If you use assistive technology and are experiencing difficulty accessing information on this site, please contact to gain access to inaccessible content or functionality of online content. To file a formal grievance under Section 504 and Title II with VCS please contact Patrick Murphy, Instructional Technology Supervisor at 352-259-2350.