The goal of the School Meals Initiative (SMI) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to improve the nutritional quality of meals served to students. The SMI helps to ensure that school meals meet the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and specifically, that school lunches meet one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
School Food Authorities are required to participate in an SMI review once every five years and are notified in advance by Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) – Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The Menu Analysis Collection Packet provides instructions and forms to guide schools through the process. Meal Improvement resources provide tips to increase the nutritional quality of school meals.
USDA resources are also available, including The Road to SMI Success - A Guide for School Foodservice Directors and information concerning USDA-approved software required for SMI.