Template of Menu Planning and Sample Menus

The menu committee needs to use the following criteria in evaluating the menu.
Menu Planning and Sample Menus
National Food Service Management Institute
43
1. Nutritional Adequacy: Does the menu follow the minimum food components for the CACFP adult
meal pattern? Does the menu provide the nutrients older adults need? (Note: Refer to appendix 4
for facts on major nutrients and food sources to help plan nutritious menus. A registered dietitian
can complete a nutrient analysis of the menu. To do this, the dietitian will need food labels,
recipes, production records, etc.)
2. Food Preferences: Do the menu items reflect the participants’ ethnic, cultural, and regional food
preferences?
3. Personnel: Are employee skills adequate to prepare and serve the menu?
4. Equipment: Is the food service equipment available to prepare the menu? Is there an overload on
any piece of equipment that would interfere with quality preparation and service?
5. Flavor: Is there a combination of mild and strong flavored foods?
6. Consistency: Is there a combination of soft and crisp food items?
7. Texture: Is there a variety of ground and whole cuts of meat? Is there variation in texture?
8. Color: Are contrasting color combinations used? Will food look attractive and appetizing when
served together? (Note: Color is also related to nutrient content.)
9. Variety: Is the same food served more than once during the meal or during the day? Does the
same food item appear on the cycle menu from the previous day or the next day? Is the end of the
cycle menu different from the beginning of the cycle?
Once the menus are revised, they need to be evaluated for cost.
Remember that the main dish is usually the most expensive item on the menu.
Try to include a balance of low-priced and high-priced items to keep food costs in line with
the budget.
Menus for Special Diets
Special diets are ordered by a physician or other authorized medical professional, just as prescription
medicine is. The diet is part of the medical management of the participant and must be followed as
closely as possible.
All special diets need to be written and approved by a registered dietitian.
After the menu committee has evaluated
the menus, use the new ideas to revise them.
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