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CACFP New Meal Patterns

Includes the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) new meal patterns (NMP), upcoming workshop and conference information, Webinars, resources, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and policy guidance for CACFP sponsors.

Overview

On April 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the CACFP NMP. The NMP aligns with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, reflects evidence-based nutrition science, and includes stakeholder comments to the proposed rule. The NMP standards are effective October 1, 2017. This Web page was updated as of July 2017 to include: Information on the CACFP Roundtable 2017 Annual Conference; USDA policies; and helpful new resources for sponsors.

Contact Us

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division CACFP team by e-mail at NMP4CACFP@cde.ca.gov.

Follow @CDENutrition on Twitter.

The New Meal Patterns (NMP)

Child Nutrition Program operators participating in the CACFP, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), including CACFP centers and day care homes (DCH), school food authorities, and SFSP sites serving children under six years of age, must comply with the updated meal pattern requirements no later than October 1, 2017.

If you are viewing this Web page prior to October 1, 2017 and would like information on the current CACFP meal patterns, please visit the CDE CACFP Web page.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guidance

USDA Nutrition Standards for CACFP Meals and Snacks External link opens in new window or tab.
This Web page includes extensive NMP information, including fact sheets, charts comparing the current meal pattern and NMP, the final rule, current policy, and much more.

The New Meal Patterns

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has provided the following reference charts describing the NMP requirements for infants, children, and adults respectively.

Meal Pattern Comparisons

The USDA FNS has provided the following double-sided flyers to highlight updates and improvements made to the meal patterns. The flyers are available in both English and Spanish.

Training Workshops, Conferences, and Webinars

In-person Workshops

In spring 2017, the NSD offered free, in-person workshops on the CACFP NMP requirements that will go into effect October 1, 2017. Workshops were held in ten cities statewide and included nearly a thousand attendees. Participants learned about the changes made to the infant, child, and adult meal patterns; the appropriate crediting of meals; and the additional resources available. The workshop series was a great success!

Please routinely check the CACFP NMP Web page for information on upcoming 2017–18 CACFP NMP workshops and additional e-learning offerings.

Upcoming Conferences

CACFP Roundtable 2017 Annual Conference External link opens in new window or tab.
This conference provides valuable workshops on up-to-date CACFP and child care news and trends, as well as opportunities to network with other child care professionals, experts, and policy experts. It will be held in Olympic Valley, California, October 23–25, 2017. To sign up for this conference, visit the CACFP Roundtable 2017 Annual Conference Registration Information External link opens in new window or tab. Web page.

Webinars

California Department of Education Webinars

The CDE NMP Recorded Webinar Series - Coming soon!

Provides specifics on the changes made to the CACFP NMP requirements, including information on nutrition, portion sizes, appropriate crediting, calculations for sugar content in cereal and yogurt, and much more!

CACFP NMP Milk Requirements Webinars

Reviews topics related to milk requirements, including the type and amount of milk that is allowable, the nutritional value of different types of milk, allowable nondairy milk substitutes, medical statements, and changes in the NMP related to milk.

Other Webinars

New Healthier CACFP Meal Standards: What You Need to Know External link opens in new window or tab.
Presented by the Food and Research Action Center and the USDA, this 1.5-hour Webinar provides information and training on the updated CACFP NMP requirements for infants, children, and adults.

CDE, USDA, and Training Curriculum Resources

The following resources provide supplemental information for the CACFP NMP. Materials include technical assistance flyers, meal pattern comparison charts, and summaries of best practices.

California Department of Education Resources

Technical Assistance for Early Implementation Flyers

Provides CACFP agencies with information on the early implementation of breastfeeding onsite, yogurt in place of milk for adults, and tofu and soy yogurt as meat alternates, which are in effect April 3, 2017, to October 1, 2017. The flyers are available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System External link opens in new window or tab.. The form names are CACFP NMP Tip Sheet 1, CACFP NMP Tip Sheet 2, and CACFP NMP Tip Sheet 3.

For more information on the subject, including who can use early implementation and how to use it, please refer to the CDE Management Bulletin CNP-03-2017, Early Implementation of the Updated CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements and the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program Infant and Preschool Meal Patterns.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Resources

Meal Pattern Comparison Chart for the Child Nutrition Programs (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab.
Compares meal pattern requirements for CACFP, School Meal Programs, Kindergarten through grade twelve Afterschool Snack, and Summer Food Service Program.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has provided the following double-sided flyers describing best practices for the CACFP NMP and using the NMP to lower food costs.

Choose Yogurts that are Lower in Added Sugars (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides guidance on choosing yogurts that meet sugar content requirements.

Choose Breakfast Cereals that are Lower in Added Sugars (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides guidance on choosing breakfast cereals that meet sugar content requirements.

Serving Milk in the CACFP (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides guidance for serving milk to infants, children, and adults under the CACFP NMP.

Training Curriculum

Institute of Child Nutrition CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements Training External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides eight hours of training on CACFP NMP requirements. The materials include a PowerPoint presentation, instructor’s manual, and participant’s workbook.

Policy Guidance

The USDA has issued the following policy memoranda related to the CACFP NMP. Below is a brief summary of each memorandum and related CDE management bulletins (MB), if applicable.

 

FAQs

Question: What is early implementation?

Answer: Early implementation refers to the opportunity for Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operators to practice using the updated meal pattern requirements prior to October 1, 2017. As of April 3, 2017, California CNP operators may choose to implement any, all, or none of the following three allowances—and only the following three allowances—beginning April 3, 2017:

  • Reimbursing infant meals when the mother breastfeeds on-site
  • Counting tofu and soy yogurts as a meat alternate
  • Allowing yogurt to be used once per day to fulfill the fluid milk requirement for adults in adult day cares

CACFP operators cannot be denied reimbursement for these allowances, even if performed or documented incorrectly, prior to October 1, 2017.

For additional information on early implementation, please refer to USDA Policy Memorandum SP 42-2016, CACFP 14-2016 Early Implementation of the CACFP NMP Requirements External link opens in new window or tab..

For information on early implementation for California CNP operators, including who can use which allowances and how to begin implementation, please refer to the CDE Management Bulletin CNP-03-2017, Early Implementation of the Updated CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements and the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program Infant and Preschool Meal Patterns.

Question: When submitting menus for review, do centers and day care homes (DCH) need to document which grain foods are whole grain-rich (WGR)?

Answer: Yes, starting October 1, 2017, centers and DCH must document when a food is WGR on their menu and may do this by using terms such as whole grain-rich, WGR, whole wheat, or simply listing a whole grain. For example, a menu may say: peanut butter and jelly sandwich on WGR bread, whole wheat pasta and chicken, or brown rice and vegetables. Common and usual names for whole grains that are helpful to know and can be used to identify WGR foods on menus are:

  • The word whole listed before a grain, such as whole wheat or whole corn;
  • The words berries and groats are used to designate a whole grain, such as wheat berries or oat groats;
  • Rolled oats and oatmeal (including old fashioned, quick cooking, and instant oatmeal); and
  • Other whole grain foods that do not use the word whole in their description, such as brown rice, brown rice flour, wild rice, quinoa, millet, triticale, teff, amaranth, buckwheat, and sorghum.
  • It is the responsibility of the sponsor to check labels and product information to ensure that the WGR items being served meet the WGR criteria presented in this memorandum. The State agency will review documentation during the administrative review.
Question: If a DCH serves breakfast and snack and a grain is served at both breakfast and snack, but neither of the grains are WGR, which meal is disallowed?

Answer: The snack would be disallowed. This is because the snack is the meal with the lowest reimbursement rate that contained a grain. Conversely, if a grain was not served at snack and the grain at breakfast is not WGR, then the breakfast meal would be disallowed. In that situation, the breakfast meal is the meal with the lowest reimbursement rate that contained a grain.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | NMP4CACFP@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Monday, July 10, 2017
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