Special Dietary Requirements

Special Diets

The Nutrition Services department is able to make food substitutions or modifications in the meal program for children whose dietary needs are determined to be a disability (affecting major life activities as defined by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), mild allergies, intolerances, or short term illnesses. To make these accommodations, a licensed physician's statement must be on file. This statement must identify the child's disability, explain why the disability restricts the child's diet, identify the major life activity affected, the foods to be omitted, and foods that must be substituted. A food allergy or intolerance is not a disability unless it will result in a severe, life-threatening reaction.

We are unable to make substitutions or modifications for mild allergies or intolerances. They are handled by allowing the child to choose not to take one or two of the food items offered. Some children are unable to drink regular milk but it is not considered a disability. The specific section on the Special Diet form will need to be filled in with a reason and signed by a physician or parent. Lactaid or Soy Milk will be substituted. Water fountains are available. Orange juice is no longer allowed as a substitute. Please contact the Nutrition Services office for information regarding ingredients in foods.

If your child meets the above criteria for a disability, a "Medical Statement for Special Diet Students" form must be completed in its entirety and returned to the Nutrition Services or the school before substitutions or modifications can be made. Menus will be sent out monthly for review. It is your responsibility to review the menu and communicate with the Nutrition Services department to identify the days your child will be eating.


The school district does not make products using peanuts or peanut butter.

Every attempt is made to not serve products that contain peanuts, peanut products, or other nut products. However, some manufacturers process their products in a facility that also produces peanuts or other nut products. It is important for the Nutrition Department to be made aware of a child's allergy to avoid serving these items to an allergic child.



Child Nutrition Program regulations require schools to make a substitution to the standard meal patterns for participants who are considered handicapped and whose handicap restricts their diet, and permit substitution for other participants who are not handicapped but are unable to consume regular school meals because of medical or other dietary needs.

A handicapped person is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities are defined as functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Participating schools are required to make substitutions or modifications to the meal patterns for those participants with handicaps who are unable to consume the meal offered to nonhandicapped participants.

Determinations of whether or not a participant has a handicap which restricts his or her diet is to be made on an individual basis by a licensed physician. A participant whose handicap restricts his or her diet shall be provided substitutions in foods only when supported by a statement signed by a physician licensed in the State of Iowa. The medical statement shall identify:

* The participant’s handicap and an explanation of why the handicap restricts the participant’s diet;
* The major life activity affected by the handicap; and
* The food or foods to be omitted from the participant’s diet, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.  If the handicap would require caloric modifications or the substitution of a liquid nutritive formula this information must be included in the statement.

If the handicapped participant requires only textural modification(s) to the regular program meal, the medical statement is recommended, but not required.

Participants with food allergies or intolerances, or obese participants are not “handicapped persons” and schools are not required to make substitutions for them.  However, when in the physician’s assessment 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 then meets the definition of “handicapped person” and the school must make the substitution prescribed by the physician.


The District is able to make substitutions for individual participants who are not “handicapped persons”, but who are unable to consume a food item because of medical or other special dietary needs. Such substitution may only be made on a case-by-case basis when supported by a statement signed by a recognized medical authority. Recognized medical authorities may include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or other professionals specified by the State agency.

For these nonhandicapped participants, the supporting statement shall include:

* An identification of the medical or other special dietary need which restricts the participant’s diet; and
* The food or foods to be omitted from the participant’s diet, and the food choice of food that may be substituted.                 

Schools are not required to make substitutions for participants whose conditions do not meet the definition of “handicapped person,” or meals based on food choices of a family or a student regarding a healthful diet. In most cases, the special dietary needs of nonhandicapped participants may be managed within our Child Nutrition Program meal service when a well planned variety of nutritious foods is available to children, and/or “Offer versus serve” is available and implemented. Please call the Food Service & Nutrition Supervisor at 553-2460 for more information regarding meal modification/special diet.

Diet Modification Form.pdf