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Meal Patterns for CACFP
GRAIN OUNCE EQUIVALENTS
CACFP Grains Ounce Equivalents Resources
Beginning October 1, 2021, CACFP contracting entities will need to credit grains using ounce equivalents (oz eq) instead of "servings" in meals and snacks. Meal Production Records will need to reflect grain servings in ounce equivalents.

To learn how much of a grain item is needed to meet CACFP meal pattern requirements, use USDA's Using Ounce Equivalents for Grains in the CACFP worksheet. USDA has a training video on how to use the worksheet and can be viewed here and in Spanish here.

Additional worksheets are found on USDA's CACFP Worksheets. Available worksheets include the following:
  • Crediting Single-Serving Packages of Grains in the CACFP
  • Determining Ounce Equivalents of Grains in CACFP Recipes
  • Feeding Infants Using Ounce Equivalents for Grains in the CACFP
  • Grain-Based Desserts in CACFP 
  • Adding Whole Grains to Your CACFP Menu
  • How to Spot Whole Grain-Rich Foods
  • Identifying Whole Grain-Rich Foods Using the Ingredient List
  • Is My Recipe Whole Grain-Rich?

The USDA website features additional resources to understand and learn how to implement grain ounce equivalents in the CACFP in English and Spanish. TDA Education Specialists (ESC) provided a CACFP LIVE training on Grains, which is available on the Training Page.




Meal Pattern Brochure
CACFP meal patterns ensure participating children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals, laying the foundation for a healthy eating pattern for children and adults in care.

Meal Pattern Charts:
Infants
Children and Adults

This brochure outlines the steps contracting entities (CE) can take to meet CACFP meal patterns.



MEAL PATTERN RESOURCES
FOR INFANTS
Crediting Store-Bought Combination Baby Foods Crediting Store-Bought Combination Baby Foods - These worksheets can be used to empower CACFP providers and operators with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to implement CACFP infant meal pattern requirements.
Feeding Infants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program Feeding Infants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program - This guide supports Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) operators in implementing the CACFP infant meal pattern requirements and best practices for infant feeding, including information on CACFP infant meal pattern, developmental readiness for solid foods, hunger and fullness signs, handling and storing breastmilk and infant formula, creditable foods, and more! Click here for the Trainer’s Tools.
CREDITING
CACFP Crediting Handbook CACFP Crediting Handbook - A supplementary resource to the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs that contains additional information on creditable foods served in child and adult care centers.
Crediting Fruits in the Child Nutrition Programs - Fruits are a required component for reimbursable meals in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Preschool Lunch Meal Pattern, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) lunch and supper meals. However, this requirement can also be met with a vegetable (with the exception of NSLP). Utilize this tip sheet to help aid staff in better understanding the requirements.

Crediting Vegetable in the Child Nutrition Programs - Vegetables are a required component for reimbursable meals in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) including the Preschool Lunch Meal Pattern, as well as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) lunch and supper meals. Utilize this tip sheet to help aid staff in better understanding the requirements.
Crediting Meat and Meat Alternates Crediting Meats/Meat Alternates in the Child Nutrition Programs - Meats/Meat Alternates (M/MAs) are a required meal component for reimbursable lunches and suppers in Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs). M/MAs are not required for a reimbursable breakfast in CNPs, but may be offered in place of grains, with certain limitations. Utilize this tip sheet to help aid staff in better understanding the requirements.
Serving Milk Bingo Serving Milk Bingo - This interactive bingo-style game is designed to reinforce CACFP operators’ knowledge of meal pattern requirements related to milk. This resource can be used as part of in-person or virtual trainings. Additionally, try the CACFP Milk Quiz in English or Spanish.
MENU PLANNING
CACFP Menu Planning Guide CACFP Menu Planning Guide - This guide provides 16 weeks of menus, 120 recipes and 8 shopping lists for two week cycles that meet the CACFP Meal Pattern.
Snacks That Count Snacks that Count for Child Care Centers, Family Day Homes & Adult Daycare Centers - This cookbook contains recipes that comply with the CACFP Meal Pattern.
Reducing the Risk of Choking in Young Children at Mealtimes Reducing the Risk of Choking in Young Children at Mealtimes - Developed for use by FNS nutrition assistance programs, this four-page resource provides tips on how to prepare foods to reduce the risk of choking in young children.
USDA MEAL PATTERN RESOURCES


Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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