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Special Dietary Needs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) require that schools make substitutions to the regular meal for students who are unable to eat the meal because of their disabilities. This need must be certified by a licensed physician.

Substitutions are required for students that have

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities including eating.
  • Food allergies that may result in severe, life- threatening (anaphylactic) reactions.

These conditions meet the definition of “disability” and substitutions prescribed by the licensed physician must be made.

Substitutions for Students without a Disability

Menu substitutions or modifications are only made for medically documented needs.

Food Allergies or Intolerances

Children with food allergies or intolerances that are not defined as life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions are not considered to have a disability. It is not required that food substitutions for non-life-threatening allergies or intolerances be accommodated. However, the NISD Child Nutrition Department will work with families on a case-by-case basis to accommodate these needs. Medical documentation is required before any menu substitutions or modifications will be considered.

Religious or Personal Preferences

Menu substitutions or modifications will not be made for personal requests, including religious or personal preferences. Nutrition information is available on NutriSlice to help students plan their meals in a way that fits with their preferences.
A note can be added to your student’s account as a reminder to the cafeteria staff. However, it is the student’s responsibility to choose foods that fit their dietary needs and preferences.

If you would like a note added to your student’s account regarding specific eating preferences (i.e. vegetarian, no pork) please contact the school nutrition dietitian Nikki Nies,