This allows children and adults to decline some of the food offered in a reimbursable breakfast, lunch, or supper, although it may not be used at snacks. OVS can help reduce food waste and give children and adults more options.
When using Offer Versus Serve it is good to understand the terms and how they are used. There are Food Components and Food Items. Although these are similar, understanding the difference is important.
Food Components are a group of foods in a reimbursable meal. This includes milk, vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat/meat alternates. At breakfast only, vegetables and fruits are one combined component. This means you can serve vegetables, fruits, or a combination of both to meet this requirement.
Food Items are foods that are part of a food component. For example, bananas are a food item within the food component of fruits.
Offer Versus Serve at Meals
Note: The fourth food item can be selected as well.
Lunch and Supper
Note: The child or adult can select food from all five components, but foods from at least three components are needed for a reimbursable meal.
*For Adult Participants Only: Milk is optional at supper. If milk is not offered, the adult still needs to select food items from three different food components to have a reimbursable meal.
Tips About Food Items
For more information, check out the USDA handout: Offer Versus Serve in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.