Federal Child Nutrition regulations require participating school districts to offer all participants’ breakfasts, lunches, after school snacks and milk that meet the meal requirements identified in the program regulations.
Federal regulations further require schools to make substitutions to the standard meal requirements for students who are considered disabled and whose disability restricts their diet.
A school district may, at its discretion, make substitutions for individual participants who are not “disabled persons” but are unable to consume a food item because of medical or other special dietary needs.
Generally, participants with food intolerances, participate in mainstream diets (atkins, south-beach, etc.) or obese participants are not “disabled persons,” and school districts are not required to make substitutions for them. However, if a physician assesses that food allergies may result in severe, life-threatening reactions (anaphylactic reactions) or the obesity is severe enough to substantially limit a major life activity, the participant may then meet the definition of “disabled person,” and the school district will make the substitutions prescribed by the physician if other options are not available.