CACFP Meal Pattern Guidelines and Resources

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. 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. These improvements are expected to enhance the quality of meals served to young children.

Early care and education programs had until October 1, 2017 to be in compliance with new CACFP Meal Pattern Revisions. Make sure your menus and procurement reflect these changes. Take the New CACFP Meal Pattern Self-Assessment and see how your program is measuring up to the new standards.

Sample menus and resources by state, food groups, and for family child care:

Sample Menus

Breakfast Only

 

Lunch Only

 

Snack Only

 

Breakfast, Lunch and Snack

 

Infant Menus

 

Menu Calendar Checklists, Templates and Toolkits

Resources and Trainings by State

Alabama

Department of Education

 

Alaska

Department of Education and Early Development (DEED): CACFP Information

  • New CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements Training Presentation: Part 1 and Part 2

 

Arizona

Arizona Department of Education

 

Arkansas
Special Nutrition Program

 

California

Department of Education – CACFP

Menus:

 

Colorado

Department of Public Health and Environment – CACFP:

 

Connecticut

Department of Education – CACFP

Menus:

 

Delaware

Department of Education

Menus:

 

Florida

Florida Department of Health 

 

Georgia

Community ACTION Partnership — Tallatoona, Georgia

Department of Early Care and Learning: CACFP

 

Hawaii
People Attentive to Children (PATCH)

 

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.

Board of Education – CACFP Forms and Documents 

In Spanish (En Español):


Indiana

Department of Education – CACFP

 

Iowa

Iowa Department of Education:

 

Kansas

Kansas Department of Education – CACFP

 

Kentucky
Department of Education – CACFP

 

Louisiana
Louisiana Department of Education

 

Maine

Department of Health and Human Services – CACFP:

 

Maryland

Department of Education – Child Care Providers

 

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.

Michigan State University—Local Food for Little Eaters: A Purchasing Toolbox for the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Department of Education – CACFP

 

Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Education: Meal Patterns

Providers Choice

 

Mississippi
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

Department of Education – Nutrition Services

Midwest Child Care Association

 

Nevada

Department of Agriculture – CACFP

 

New Hampshire
Department of Education – CACFP

 

New York

Department of Health – CACFP

CACFP Training Schedules:

 

North Carolina

Health and Human Services – Nutrition

Menus:

 

North Dakota

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction – CACFP 

 

Ohio

Child Care Resource Center, North Central Ohio

Department of Education – CACFP:

 

Oklahoma

Department of Education: Child Nutrition Resources

 

Oregon

Department of Education – CACFP

Child Meal Pattern Charts:

Infant Meal Pattern Charts:

Menus:

 

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Department of Education

 

South Dakota
Department of Education – CACFP

 

Texas

Department of Agriculture – Square Meals

Menus:

 

Utah 

State Board of Education – CACFP

 

Virginia
Department of Health – CACFP

 

Washington

Superintendent of Public Instruction – CACFP

 

Washington D.C.

Office of the State Superintendent of Education – CACFP

Menus:

 

West Virginia

Department of Education – CACFP

Menus:

 

Wisconsin

Department of Public Instruction – CACFP

 

Wyoming

Department of Education – CACFP

Casper College Inga Thorson Early Childhood Learning Center

 

For more information and training resources visit:

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

Resources:

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

Resources:

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

Family Child Care Resources

Success in the Food Program

With generous funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Success in the Food Program materials, resources, and webinars were created by the YMCA Childcare Resource Services in San Diego, California, with support from Nemours Children’s Health System.

With recommendations from local, state, and national partners, training materials were created to support family child care home providers in meeting the new CACFP meal pattern requirements effective October 1, 2017.  From March 1 through December 31, 2017, 30 family child care home providers in the South Bay area of San Diego piloted the Success in the Food Program training and provided feedback along the way to refine the materials and resources.

We hope you find the following training materials valuable in supporting your program’s work meeting the new CACFP meal pattern requirements.