WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

USDA recently revised the CACFP meal patterns to ensure children and infants have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Under the updated child and adult meal patterns, meals served will include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The changes to the infant meal pattern support breastfeeding and the consumption of vegetables and fruit without added sugars.

Our Daily Bread of Tennessee is here to assist you during the transition to the new meal patter requirements! With the help of the USDA, TeamNutrition and the National CACFP Sponsors Association, we have created the following resources to help you better understand the meal pattern and how to best implement them at your child care site.

MEAL PATTERN FOOD CHART

1-12 YEAR OLDS

  1.    (1) year olds, serve unflavored, whole | (2) year olds, serve 1% or skim.
  2.    Juice is limited to one time per day.
  3.    At least one serving per day must be whole grain-rich.
  4.    Meat/alternates may replace a grain up to (3) times per week.
  5.    Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of total sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21.2 grams sugar per 100 grams of dry ounce cereal).
  6.    Yogurt may contain no more than 23 grams of total sugar per 6 ounces.

INFANTS (0-11 MONTHS)

*A serving of this component is required when the infant is developmentally ready to accept it. Once the component has been introduced, it becomes a required part of the infant’s meal plan.

  1.    Fruit and vegetable juices are NOT reimbursable on the infant meal pattern.
  2.    Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of total sugar per dry ounce (no more than 21.2 grams sugar per 100 grams of dry ounce cereal).
  3.    Yogurt may contain no more than 23 grams of total sugar per 6 ounces.
  • Breast Milk is recommended; however, Iron-Fortifified Infant Formula is also acceptable. Parents may provide this.
  • Breast Feeding on site is both encouraged and reimbursable as a complete meal.
  • When a parent provides BM or IFIF the provider must supply all the other required meal components to be reimbursed.
  • Fruit and Vegetable juices may NOT be served to infants.
  • Honey, nuts, seeds, or nut butters are not acceptable foods for infants.
  • Cow’s milk must not be served to infants under 12 months unless medical documentation is on file.
  • Solid foods should be introduced gradually around 6 months & have a consistency that is developmentally appropriate.

Want to Learn More?

1.) TOP 9 MEAL PATTERN CHANGES
2.) REGISTER FOR IN-PERSON TRAINING
3.) USE CACFP TOOLS
1.) TOP 9 MEAL PATTERN CHANGES

- TOP 9 -

Changes to the (CACFP) Meal Pattern Requirements

#1

Greater Variety of Vegetables and Fruits

The combined fruit and vegetable component is now a separate vegetable component and a separate fruit component; and

Juice is limited to once per day.

#2

More Whole Grains

At least one serving of grains per day must be whole grain-rich;

Grain-based desserts no longer count towards the grain component; and

Ounce equivalents (oz eq) are used to determine the amount of creditable grains.

#3

More Protein Options

Meat and meat alternates may be served in place of the entire grains component at breakfast a maximum of three times per week; and

Tofu counts as a meat alternate.

#4

Age Appropriate Meals

A new age group to address the needs of older children 13 through 18 years old.

#5

Less Added Sugar

Yogurt must contain no more than 23 grams of sugar per 6 ounces; and

Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce.

#6

Making Every Sip Count

Unflavored whole milk must be served to 1 year olds; unflavored low-fat or fat-free milk must be served to children 2 through 5 years old; and unflavored low-fat, unflavored fat-free, or flavored fat-free milk must be served to children 6 years old and older.

#7

Encourage and Support Breastfeeding

Providers may receive reimbursement for meals when a breastfeeding mother comes to the day care center or home and directly breastfeeds her infant.

Only breastmilk and infant formula are served to infants 0 through 5 month.

#8

Developmentally Appropriate Infant Meals:

Two age groups, instead of three: 0 through 5 month olds and 6 through 11 month olds; and

Solid foods are gradually introduced around 6 months of age, as developmentally appropriate.

#9

More Nutritious
Infant Meals

Requires a vegetable or fruit, or both, to be served at snack for infants 6 through 11 months old;

No longer allows juice or cheese food or cheese spread to be served; and

Allows ready-to-eat cereals at snack.

Additional Improvements:

• Extends offer versus serve to at-risk after-school programs; and
• Frying is not allowed as a way of preparing foods on-site.

3.) USE CACFP TOOLS

TOOLS:

Using Ounce Equivalents for Grains in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Grains are an important part of meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). To make sure children and adults get enough grains at CACFP meals and snacks, required amounts for the grains component are listed in the meal pattern as ounce equivalents (oz. eq.). Ounce equivalents tell you the amount of grain in a portion of food.

Updated CACFP Meal Pattern (Infants)

The most up-to-date CACFP Meal Pattern requirements for infants (0-11 months.) CACFP centers and day care homes must comply with the updated meal patterns by October 1, 2017.

CACFP: Best Practices

USDA highly encourages centers and day care homes to implement these best practices in order to ensure children are getting the optimal benefit from the meals they receive

Identifying Whole Grain Rich Foods

Identifying whole grain-rich is as easy as one, two, three! This tool will show you how to quickly read a food label to determine whole grain rich content.

Grain-Based Desserts in the CACFP

Kids need the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein foods.

Choosing Yogurts

Choose yogurts that are lower in added sugars. This tool will help you identity and purchase credible yogurts that meet maximum sugar content levels.

Calculating Sugar in Yogurts

Here are two ways to tell if a yogurt meets the sugar requirement.

Choosing Cereals

Choose breakfast cereals that are lower in added sugars. This tool will help you identity and purchase credible cereals that meet maximum sugar content levels.

Calculating Sugar in Cereals

Here are three ways to tell if a cereal meets the sugar limit.

Methods for Healthy Cooking

How a food is cooked can make a difference in how healthy it is. Try some of the cooking methods featured instead of deep-fat frying. Cooking with oils instead of butter or lard can be better for heart health.

Updated CACFP Meal Pattern (Children)

The most up-to-date CACFP Meal Pattern requirements for children ages 1-12. CACFP centers and day care homes must comply with the updated meal patterns by October 1, 2017.

Offer Versus Serve in the CACFP

This allows children and adults to decline some of the food offered in a reimbursable breakfast, lunch, or supper. This may not be used at snacks or in other CACFP settings. This can help reduce food waste and give children and adults more choices.

Serving Meat and Meat Alternates at Breakfast

Breakfasts includes milk, vegetables and/or fruits, and grains. You can also serve meat and/or meat alternates instead of grains at breakfast up to 3 times per week. Here’s how to include meat or meat alternates.

Serving Milk

This tool can be used to specify which milk type should be served to each age-group.

july, 2020

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