Fast Facts: Beans in Schools

• Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) must offer at least ½ cup of beans and peas (legumes) per week as part of the Vegetable requirement.

• Beans can also be counted as a meat-alternate (MA) in the National School Lunch Program.

• A ¼ cup of beans counts as 1 oz. for the Meat/Meat-Alternate meal component.

• Beans can be counted as a vegetable or meat-alternate in a single meal but not both!

• The term “beans and peas (legumes)” refers to beans, peas, and other legumes that are harvested in the dry form including black, Great Northern, kidney, navy, pink, pinto, and small red beans as well as black-eye peas, chickpeas, lentils, mature lima beans, split peas, and mature soybeans.

• The USDA Food Buying Guide for Schools includes a wide variety of beans in both the dry and canned form, including black, Great northern, kidney, navy, pink, pinto and small red beans as well as refried beans and baked beans.

• Beans are naturally rich in dietary fiber.

• Beans are naturally fat, cholesterol, and sodium free!

• Draining and rinsing canned beans can remove up to 40% of the added sodium.