Menu Planning

Create detailed menus for any room to facilitate consistent food tracking & easily collect data for CACFP compliance & reimbursements

Sabrina avatar
Written by Sabrina
Updated over a week ago

Brightwheel’s Menu Planning feature, included in every Premium subscription, helps Administrators create a detailed food menu for each room that can help keep staff informed and save time during food activity creation. Distinct menus can be created for each meal across every room and can be easily duplicated to span multiple days. Administrators can assign food items to the menu and optionally organize these items based on CACFP food categories and serving sizes.

Menus can be easily exported as a CSV or PDF to facilitate compliance reporting, and in future enhancements, menus will be visible in brightwheel to Staff and Parents!


Create a Menu

  1. Click to expand My School and then select Menu

  2. Choose + New Menu on the Menu Calendar tab to get started and go through the steps outlined below

Add Menu Details

  1. Select the 'Meal Type' using the drop-down list

  2. Select the date and time the menu should be served

  3. Add optional instructions or a description

  4. Select any days this menu should be duplicated throughout the week

  5. If choosing to duplicate the menu, select when this menu should stop using the 'Up until' field
    Please Note: If duplicating the menu, you will not be able to continue until selecting an 'Up until' date

Proceed to the next step by clicking Add food!

Add Food Items

If food items have already been created during activity tracking, these options will display in the 'Food' search bar to quickly add!

  1. Use the 'Food' search bar to select an existing food item from the displayed list or type in a new food item and click enter/return to create it

  2. Click + Add food item to add it to the menu

  3. Add the 'USDA food category' if desired

  4. Add a serving size in the 'Quantity' field if desired
    💡This is for individual serving size, so if each student in the classroom should have 1 Kiwi, put 1 in this field!

  5. Select a 'Unit of measure' for the food item is desired

💡The USDA food category, quantity, and unit of measure are not required fields but are valuable if you use your menus to submit reporting for CACFP reimbursements.

Proceed to the next step by clicking Assign to a classroom!

Assign to a classroom

Each menu can be assigned to a separate classroom to allow for different meals or serving sizes for different age groups. A classroom can only have a single menu for each meal type on any given date.

  1. Select which room(s) to apply the menu to
    Please Note: If a room already has a menu for the selected meal type and date, a message will display in the Warning column. You can choose to continue with the new menu, which will overwrite the existing menu on that date for that room.

Proceed to the next step by clicking Preview menu!

Preview & Create

This final step allows Admins and Managers to confirm all the food items, serving sizes, dates, and assigned rooms are set up appropriately.

  1. Review all details of the menu

  2. Click the ✎ icon next to any field to modify it if needed

  3. When ready, click Create menu


View and Manage Menus

Once you've created some menus, you can easily view and manage them!

  • Use the available 'Classroom' and 'Meal Type' filters to narrow down the menus you are viewing

  • Use the arrows above the menu calendar to view previous, current, or upcoming menus by week. At this time, menus cannot be filtered by month.

  • Use the 'Exclude weekends' checkbox to view the calendar how you prefer

Please note: Menus will only be viewable by an Admin/Manager account on the web at this time. This feature will not be viewable to Staff accounts or if using Room Device Mode. If wanting Staff to be able to view the menu please reference the Sharing Menu section further down.

Edit Menus

  1. Click ⋮ on the specific meal type/date you're wanting to modify

  2. Select Edit

  3. Use the displayed pop-up to edit any details needed
    💡You can modify past menus!

When choosing to edit a menu block, you will only be making changes to the block on that specific date. If the menu you're editing is duplicated across future dates and you want to bulk apply changes: edit the individual menu block and then duplicate the updated block across all needed dates to overwrite the previous menu

Duplicate Menus

  1. Click ⋮ on the specific meal type/date you're wanting to modify

  2. Select Duplicate

  3. Use the displayed pop-up to duplicate the menu as needed

Delete Menus

  1. Click ⋮ on the specific meal type/date you're wanting to modify

  2. Select Delete

When deleting a menu, it's important to be aware that you are only removing the menu from that specific date. If the menu is duplicated across future dates, you will need to manually remove those blocks as well. Instead, you can also choose to create a new menu for the same dates in the same room(s), and the new menu will overwrite any previous menu.


Manage Food Items

Admins can add, edit, or delete custom food items from the Food items tab under Menu on the web. This allows for easy management of custom food items across your program.

To find out more about how to do this, check out our Food Tracking help center resource!


Export Menu Report

  1. Log in to your account on the web

  2. Click to expand My School and then select Menu

  3. Filter the displayed menus using the 'Classroom' and 'Meal Type' options

  4. When ready, click Export report

  5. Select/de-select the USDA Category option

  6. Choose the export format (CSV or PDF)

  7. Select Download to download immediately or select/de-select the appropriate email address and click Email to # person to have the export sent via email

If choosing to sort the export by 'USDA Category,' this will quickly show the dates, meal types, and food items organized by the USDA category in one convenient view. This can be ideal when needing to share reporting with the appropriate agencies for CACFP reimbursements. The export will look similar to the below image.

If you'd like a more condensed menu view that still shows dates, meal types, and food times to share with your families, de-select the USDA category option when exporting the report as a PDF and print! The export will look similar to the below image.


Sharing Menus

This feature provides an easy, streamlined way for providers to document menus.

Please be aware that menus are not visible to and cannot directly be shared to staff or guardians yet. However, you can still create a menu and use one of the following workarounds below to share it:

  • Print a physical copy of your menu and display it in the appropriate classroom(s) by exporting it as a PDF as outlined above

  • Attach an image or PDF of your menu to a brightwheel message

  • Add the image or PDF as a Shared File to share with the entire program or individual rooms

  • Take a screenshot of the menu and share it in a Newsletter

  • Add the menu PDF as an attachment to student profiles

We recommend exporting the Menu report as a PDF and sharing the PDF file or taking a screenshot of the PDF to follow any of the workarounds suggested above. This PDF view provides all relevant information in an easily readable format.

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