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Food Buying Guide Calculator

Provides the steps for using the Food Buying Guide (FBG) Calculator to determine required quantities of foods to purchase to meet the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) meal pattern requirements.

Description

This web page provides guidance on using the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) online FBG Calculator and mobile application (app) FBG Calculator.

  • Originator of Resource: The California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division
  • User of Resource: All CNP Operators
  • Date Updated: August 2020

Food Buying Guide Calculator

The USDA FBG for CNPs, accessible on the USDA FBG for CNPs web page External link opens in new window or tab., is used to obtain information for determining the required quantities of food to purchase for meals and snacks and determining the contribution that each food makes toward the meal pattern requirements. The USDA FBG includes an FBG Calculator tool to determine how much food to purchase to provide each age or grade group the minimum serving size for meals and snacks.

This web page includes log in information and step-by-step instructions for the online and mobile app versions of the USDA FBG Calculator. The USDA also developed the Navigating the Food Buying Guide Calculator online course that provides CNP Operators with guidance for using the FBG Calculator.

Login Information

  • CNP Operators who are first-time users of the FBG (online version or mobile app) should create a USDA eAuthentication account by selecting the Create Account link on the USDA FBG for CNPs log in page External link opens in new window or tab.. This enables the user to access all features in the FBG, save data, and access saved data using both the online and mobile app versions. CNP Operators who create an eAuthentication account will immediately receive an email with a link to activate the account.

  • CNP Operators who have previously created a USDA eAuthentication account can access the FBG Calculator tool, and all other FBG features, by selecting Login or Create a Profile External link opens in new window or tab. and entering their User ID and Password in the Log In with Password box.

  • Note: CNP Operators may also choose to access the FBG online version or mobile app as a guest; however, they will not have access to previously saved data and cannot save data.

Online Food Buying Guide Calculator Steps

Once logged in to the FBG:

  • Step 1: Select the FBG Calculator tab on the FBG home screen.

  • Step 2: Select Create Shopping List to open the FBG Calculator–Create Shopping List window.

  • Step 3: Enter a shopping list name in the FBG Calculator–Create Shopping List window.

    • For example, Cycle 1, Week 1. The date is an optional entry.

  • Step 4: Select the tab for the meal component (or select the Other Foods tab if the food does not contribute to the meal pattern) in the FBG Calculator–Create Shopping List window. Type the name of the food in the Item Keywords box.

    • For example, select the Vegetables tab and type broccoli in the Item Keywords box.

  • Step 5: Select Search to produce a list of all foods in the FBG for the specified component that includes the item keywords entered. This list also includes the Purchase Unit (e.g., pound, #10 can), the Servings per Unit (e.g., how many servings are in a pound), and the Serving Size per Meal Contribution (e.g., ¼ cup raw vegetable spears; ¼ cup cooked, drained vegetable spears).

    • For example, there are 16 food items within the Vegetables component of the online FBG that include broccoli. These include fresh broccoli (untrimmed and trimmed), broccoli slaw, broccolini, frozen broccoli, mixed frozen vegetables that include broccoli, and other forms of broccoli.

    • Within each form of food, there are often different preparation and serving techniques. For example, fresh broccoli has the options of prepared and served raw, cooked and drained, and cut, cooked, and drained.

  • Step 6: Scroll through the list of results and locate the form and preparation of food desired.

    • For example, a CNP Operator wants fresh, raw, untrimmed broccoli. They select the entry that lists a purchase unit of a pound and a yield of 9.8 ¼-cup raw vegetable spear servings per pound.

  • Step 7: Select Add to the left of the form and preparation of food desired. A table will open with the name of the food selected.

  • Step 8: CNP Operators who have the form of food on hand and plan to offset the amount they need to purchase with the quantity in their inventory, should enter the quantity on hand in the Number of Purchase Units on Hand column of the table. If the CNP Operator does not have the form of food on hand, they should leave this column blank.

    • For example, if the CNP Operator has 5 pounds of broccoli in the refrigerator, they should enter 5 in the Number of Purchase Units on Hand column. It is important that the amount entered is in the same unit as the unit listed in the Purchase Unit column of this table. For example, if the Purchase Unit column lists the purchase unit in pounds and the CNP Operator weighs the amount of purchase units on hands in ounces, they must first convert this amount to pounds.

  • Step 9: Select Add Serving Size in the Action column of the table. A table will appear with two columns: Serving Size and Number of Servings.

  • Step 10: Select the drop-down list and choose the desired serving size for the age or grade group being served in the Serving Size column.

    • For example, select ¾ cup for grades K–5, since this is the serving size for vegetables at lunch for this grade group.

  • Step 11: Enter the number of participants expected to serve for that meal in the Number of Servings column.

    • For example, enter 100 to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of broccoli for that meal.

    • After entering data in the Add Serving Size and Number of Servings columns, the columns in the table that includes the name of the food will automatically populate with the quantities of food that the CNP Operator needs to purchase.

      • For example, to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of raw broccoli, the Exact Quantity column automatically populates with 30.6123. This means that exactly 30.6123 pounds (or the purchase unit that is listed in the Purchase Unit column) must be purchased to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of raw broccoli.

    • The Buy Purchase Units will also automatically populate in the table. This number rounds up the Exact Quantity amount. The amount is rounded up to the nearest whole unit (e.g., 3.5 #10 cans would round up to 4 #10 cans) or nearest 0.25 pound (e.g., 30.6123 pounds would round up to 30.75 pounds).

      • Note: If the CNP Operator entered a number of purchase units on hand, this amount is subtracted from the Exact Quantity and Buy Purchase Units columns.

  • Step 12: CNP Operators who serve multiple age or grade groups should select Add Serving Size in the Action column of the table and follow Steps 10 and 11 to add additional serving sizes and number of servings.

  • Step 13: Select Save to save the amount of the food item needed to purchase for that meal. The food item and the quantity to purchase will appear in the Shopping List tab, adjacent to the tabs for the components. It is very important to remember to select Save. If Save is not selected, the food item and quantity to purchase will not appear in the Shopping List tab.

  • Step 14: CNP Operators who want to add additional foods and quantities to purchase to the Shopping List tab should repeat Steps 4 through 13.

  • Step 15: Select Back to List once all food items and quantities have been entered into the shopping list. The FBG Calculator–My Shopping Lists window will appear, and the name given to the shopping list in Step 3 will be listed in the Shopping List Name column of the table in this window.

  • Step 16: The CNP Operator can select several options for the shopping list in the Actions column in the FBG Calculator–My Shopping List table.

    • Edit: When selected, the Edit Shopping List web page appears so the CNP Operator can enter more food items and quantities.

    • Delete: When selected, a dialog box appears confirming that the CNP Operator wants to delete the shopping list. Select Ok to delete the shopping list or select Cancel to return to the FBG Calculator–My Shopping Lists web page.

    • PDF: When selected, a printable PDF of the shopping list opens that includes the amount of each food to purchase.

    • Text: When selected, a printable Excel file opens that includes the amount of each food to purchase.

    • Email: When selected, a dialog box opens, where the CNP Operator can enter an email address. Enter an email address and select Send to email an attached PDF of the shopping list that includes the amount of each food to purchase.

Once the CNP Operator has added all items to the shopping list and performed desired actions in the FBG Calculator–My Shopping List table, they can close the FBG web page.

Mobile App Food Buying Guide Calculator Steps

Once logged in to the FBG:

  • Step 1: Select More on the FBG Other Foods home screen.

  • Step 2: Select FBG Calculator from the list of options that appear to open the FBG Calculator–My Shopping Lists window.

  • Step 3: Select Create Shopping List in the FBG Calculator–My Shopping Lists window. A Create Shopping List entry box appears where the CNP Operator enters the name of the shopping list (e.g., Cycle 1, Week 1); select Create and an FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window will open.

  • Step 4: Select Add Food Item in the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window. An FBG Calculator–Shopping List Add Food Items window opens.

  • Step 5: Complete the following in the FBG Calculator–Shopping List Add Food Items window:

    • Type the name of the food in the Search Keyword box.

    • Select the meal component for the food from the Select Meal Component drop-down list (optional).

    • Select the food category from the Select Food Category drop-down list (optional).

      • For example, type broccoli in the Search Keyword box, select Vegetables from the Select Meal Component drop-down list, and select Dark Green Vegetables from the Select Food Category drop-down list.

  • Step 6: Select Search to produce a list of all foods in the FBG for the specified component that includes the item keywords (and other parameters) entered.

    • For example, there are 12 food items within the Vegetables component of the online FBG that include broccoli as a dark green vegetable in the Vegetables component. These include various forms of fresh broccoli, frozen broccoli, broccoli slaw, and broccolini. This is a shorter list than the online FBG Calculator list produces since the FBG mobile app allows CNP Operators to refine the food by food category (e.g., Dark Green Vegetable).

    • Within each form of food, there are often different preparation and serving techniques. For example, fresh broccoli has the options of untrimmed and trimmed/ready-to-use.

  • Step 7: Select the plus sign to the left of food entries to find the form and preparation of food desired.

    • For example, a CNP Operator wants fresh untrimmed broccoli that they plan to serve cooked. They select the plus sign to the left of the first entry for fresh broccoli and the yield is for raw vegetable spears. Next they select the plus sign to the left of the second entry for fresh broccoli and the yield is for cooked vegetable spears.

  • Step 8: Select Add once the CNP Operator finds the correct form and preparation of the food desired.

  • Step 9: Select Add Serving Size and a Serving Size drop-down list and # of Servings box appears.

  • Step 10: Select the size for the desired age or grade group being served in the Serving Size drop-down list, then select Done.

    • For example, select ¾ cup for grades K–5, since this is the serving size for vegetables at lunch for this grade group.

  • Step 11: Enter the number of participants that the CNP Operator expects to serve for that meal in the # of Servings box.

    • For example, enter 100 to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of broccoli for that meal.

  • Step 12: CNP Operators who have the form of food on hand and plan to offset the amount they need to purchase with the quantity in their inventory, should enter the quantity on hand in the # of Purchase Units on Hand section above Add Serving Size. If the CNP Operator does not have the form of food on hand, they should leave this section blank.

    • For example, if the CNP Operator has 5 pounds of broccoli in the refrigerator, they should enter 5 in the # of Purchase Units on Hand box. It is important that the amount entered is in the same unit as the unit listed in the Purchase Unit field in this window. For example, if the Purchase Unit lists Pounds and the CNP Operator weighs the amount of purchase units on hand in ounces, they must first convert this amount to pounds.

    • In the section above Add Serving Size that includes the name of the food, several areas will automatically populate with the quantities of food the CNP Operator needs to purchase based on the amounts entered in the Serving Size and # of Servings columns.

      • For example, to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of cooked broccoli, the Exact Quantity amount automatically populates with 31.9149. This means that exactly 31.9149 pounds (or the purchase unit that is listed in the Purchase Unit column) must be purchased to provide 100 ¾-cup servings of cooked broccoli.

    • The Buy Purchase Units will also automatically populate in the section above Add Serving Size. This number rounds up the Exact Quantity amount. The amount is rounded up to the nearest whole unit (e.g., 3.5 #10 cans would round up to 4 #10 cans) or nearest 0.25 pound (e.g., 31.9149 units rounds up to 32 purchase units [pounds]).

  • Step 13: CNP Operators who serve multiple age or grade groups should select Add Serving Size and follow Steps 10 and 11 to add additional serving sizes and number of servings.

  • Step 14: Select Save Changes to save the amount of the food item needed to purchase for that meal. Select OK in the dialog box that appears.

  • Step 15: To add additional foods and quantities to purchase, select the back arrow at the top of the FBG Calculator–Shopping List Add Food Items window to return to the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List and repeat steps 4 through 14.

  • Step 16: Once the CNP Operator has entered all food items and quantities to the shopping list, select the back arrow at the top of the FBG Calculator window to return to the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window.

  • Step 17: The CNP Operator can select several options for the shopping list at the bottom of the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window:

    • View List: When selected, the FBG Calculator–View Shopping List window opens, where the foods in the shopping list are listed. The CNP Operator can select Share List at the bottom of the window to access features available on their phone, such as texting, emailing, or printing a PDF of the shopping list.

    • Rename List: When selected, a Rename Shopping List dialog box opens, where the CNP Operator can rename the shopping list.

    • Delete List: When selected, a dialog box appears confirming that the CNP Operator wants to delete the shopping list. Select Delete to delete the shopping list or select Cancel to return to the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window.

Once the CNP Operator has added all items to the shopping list and selected desired options in the FBG Calculator–Edit Shopping List window, they can close the FBG mobile app.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | CACFPmealpatterns@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 6, 2020
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