Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement

The new Fruit/Vegetable requirement splits the previous ONE component (Fruits/Vegetables) into TWO separate components. (Fruits. And Vegetables.)

But what does this mean for our providers and how can we train them the most effectively?

Let’s break it down.

What is changing for…

  • Breakfast? Nothing changes. Provider’s can still serve a fruit or a vegetable for breakfast.
  • Snack? Providers can serve a fruit with a vegetable for a reimbursable snack. This adds flexibility for the providers!
  • Lunch/Dinner? Providers must serve at least one vegetable. Two vegetables can be served. But two fruits cannot be served. At least one vegetable must be served at lunch and dinner starting on Oct. 1 2017 otherwise the meal will not be reimbursable.

Since the change has the deepest impact on lunches and dinners and could result in a disallowance if providers do not comply after Oct. 1st 2017, focus your training on serving at least one vegetable at lunch and dinner. Phrasing it like this is much easier to remember and implement. Which one of these phrases do you think is easier to understand?

  1. The vegetable/fruit component is now split into two separate components.
  2. Start serving a vegetable with lunch and dinner!

(I vote #2!) Start training providers to “serve a vegetable with lunch and dinner” now! Talk about it at home visits, post it on your company social media pages, send a broadcast message from HX to all providers, add it to your email signature for a few weeks, mention it when providers call, and get the message out to providers any way you can!

I would even encourage you to create master menus for lunch/dinner and make sure that they all include a vegetable. Watch the Master Menu training video for more information!

You can also use the food combination rules feature to help train providers on this new requirement. Set up a Food Combination rule that generates an error message when two fruits are served at lunch and dinner. (If two fruits are served, that means a vegetable was not served.) This rule should be set to provide a “warning” message (not a disallowance) since meals that meet the current meal pattern are still allowable (even in states in early implementation) until Oct. 1 2017. The error that is generated can be internal only or you can choose to make it visible to providers. To setup a Food Combination rule go to Administration > Food Combinations.

For more information on how to setup a food combination rule, please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern blog article.

Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern

Start training and preparing providers for the new meal pattern now! Whether you’re in an early implementation state or not, there is a lot of training that needs to happen to get your providers up to speed.

The USDA memos are clear that providers should NOT be disallowed for meals that meet the current/soon-to-be-old meal pattern. (Just read the Technical Assistance section of the Early Implementation memo.) So instead of just taking away foods that are not allowed under the new meal pattern (but are reimbursable until then) you can generate error messages for the providers to see, which will help you train them over the next several months and allow them to continue claiming reimbursable meals. Setting this up will only take a few minutes of your time and it will help prepare your providers for some of the changes.

For example, even though grain-based desserts will not be allowed soon (Oct. 1 2017) they are STILL ALLOWED between now and then. So rather than just removing all grain-based desserts from your food list, you can generate error messages that notify providers that they are not allowed under the new meal pattern. This allows them to continue claiming reimbursable meals but also receive technical assistance and training on the new meal pattern.

Use the Food Frequency Rules feature to setup “rules” for any foods that are not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern.

Create rules for:

  • Limiting juice to once per day
  • Limiting juice to zero times per day, week, or month for infants
  • Limiting grain-based desserts to zero times per day, week, or month
  • Limiting protein at breakfast to 3 times per week*

In Minute Menu HX go to Administration > Food Frequency Rules. Any rules created for the new meal pattern change should be set to “warn” only (not disallow) with the exception of the protein at breakfast rule. Watch the Food Frequency Rules training video for more detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

Please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video for even more information about how to prepare your providers using the tools and features already available in Minute Menu HX.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement blog article!

*Only if you are in an early implementation state that is already allowing a protein at breakfast. Contact the Minute Menu Support Team to have protein items added to the grain section of your food list, for breakfast ONLY, as a temporary work around to allow providers to start claiming those foods. Then, once the protein items have been added, create a Food Frequency Rule limiting those protein items at breakfast to 3 times per week. Since protein at breakfast is NOT part of the current meal pattern, anything over 3 should be disallowed. For this reason, set this rule to disallow (not warn).