New Meal Pattern Guidelines for CACFP

On April 25, 2016, the Food and Nutrition Service published the final rule “Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” to update the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The new CACFP meal patterns increase the consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, allow for more nutritious substitutions, and reduce the consumption of added sugars and saturated fats. The updated standards also take cost and practicality into consideration. These improvements are expected to enhance the quality of meals served to young children.

Take the New CACFP Meal Pattern Self-Assessment and see how your program is measuring up to the new standards.

New Child Care Age Groups

The new CACFP regulations establishes early education age groups as infant-5 months, 6-11 months, 1-2 year olds, and 3-5 year olds.

Deadline: October 1, 2017

Early care and education programs have until October 1, 2017 to be in compliance with new CACFP Meal Pattern Revisions. Make sure your menus and procurement reflect these changes.

Featured Resource

The Association for Child Development (ACD) is a sponsor of CACFP. They are a nonprofit organization that educates parents and caregivers about nutrition to promote the healthy development of children. Their website has many resources to serve all caregivers, but providers in Illinois and Michigan can join ACD and attend their annual training conference.

Resources by State and

Requirements by Food Type

Resources and Trainings by State

California

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Colorado

Department of Public Health and Environment – CACFP:

 

Connecticut

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Florida

Florida Department of Health :

 

Idaho

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Illinois 

Association for Child Development (ACD): a nonprofit organization that educates parents and caregivers about nutrition to promote the healthy development of children. They have in-person trainings and a conference in April in Michigan.

Board of Education – CACFP Forms and Documents :

In Spanish (En Español):


Indiana

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Kentucky
Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Maine

Department of Health and Human Services – CACFP:

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – CACFP:

 

Michigan

Association for Child Development (ACD): a nonprofit organization that educates parents and caregivers about nutrition to promote the healthy development of children. They have in-person trainings and a conference in April.

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

 

Minnesota

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Missouri

Department of Health and Senior Services – CACFP:

 

Montana

Department of Public Health and Human Services – CACFP:

 

Nebraska
Department of Education – CACFP:

 

New York

Department of Health – CACFP:

 

North Carolina

Health and Human Services – Nutrition:

  • CACFP Training, including New CACFP Meal Pattern Webinar (pre-recorded) and New Meal Pattern Training from the Institute of Child Nutrition (in-person training June and July)

 

North Dakota

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction – CACFP: 

 

Ohio

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Oregon

Department of Education – CACFP: 

 

Texas

Department of Agriculture – Square Meals:

 

Utah 

State Board of Education – CACFP:

 

Washington

Superintendent of Public Instruction – CACFP:

 

West Virginia

Department of Education – CACFP: 

 

Wisconsin

Department of Public Instruction – CACFP:

 

Wyoming

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

» For more information and resources visit the USDA CACFP website.

Infant Meal Patterns/Breastfeeding

  • Solid foods are allowed when developmentally appropriate for the infant
  • Requires whole vegetables and fruits to be served at snack for infants 6-11 months of age
  • Eliminates fruit juice from the infant meal pattern
  • Ready-to-eat cereals can be served as a grain at snack for infants 6-11 months of age
  • Cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt are allowable meat alternates for infants 6-11 months of age
  • Reimburses providers for meals when the mother directly breastfeeds her infant at the center or daycare home, for infants birth through 11 months of age

Resources:

Vegetables, Fruits & Juice

  • Establishes a separate vegetable component and a separate fruit component at lunch, supper, and snack
  • Allows two vegetables at lunch and supper
  • Limits the service of fruit juice or vegetable juice to one serving per day for children 1 year old and older

Grains

  • Requires breakfast cereals to contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce. (Starting October 1, 2019, ounce equivalents are used to determine the quantity of credible grain.)
  • Meat and meat alternates can be served in place of the entire grains requirement at breakfast a maximum of three times per week
  • At least one serving of grains per day should be whole grain-rich
  • Disallows grain-based desserts from counting towards the grains requirement

Resources:

Meat, Meat Alternatives and Dairy

  • Meat and meat alternates can be served in place of the entire grains requirement at breakfast a maximum of three times per week
  • Tofu can be a meat alternate
  • Allows cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt
  • Yogurt can contain no more than 23 grams of sugar per 6 ounces
  • Whole eggs

Resources:

Milk and Other Beverages

  • 1 year old children: whole, unflavored milk
  • 2 year olds and older: low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Prohibits flavored milk for children ages 2-5
  • Drinking water should be offered to children throughout the day and available to children upon their request throughout the day
  • Non-dairy beverages can be substituted that are nutritionally equivalent to milk and meet the nutritional standards for fortification of calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other nutrients to levels found in cow’s milk
  • Limits the service of fruit juice or vegetable juice to one serving per day for children 1 year old and older

Food Prep and Additional Requirements

  • Prohibits frying as a way of preparing food on-site, as defined as deep fat frying
  • Restricts the use of food as a punishment or reward
  • Codifies proposed practices that must be followed when a provider or center chooses to serve meals family style