Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies

Guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains present in a food product, or recipe using ounce equivalencies.

Description

Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators serving students in the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) and participants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) must ensure that they are offering the minimum required serving size of creditable grains for each grade or age group and meal pattern that they serve. This web page provides guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains present in a food product or recipe using ounce equivalencies (oz eq).

  • Originator of Resource: The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division
  • User of Resource: SNP and CACFP directors, food service staff, and nutritionists
  • Date Updated: November 2019

Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies

CNP Operators will use a variety of methods to determine the oz eq of creditable grains in a food product or recipe. The method used depends on whether the food product is:

* Note: If the CNP Operator is using a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Standardized Recipes with the grains contribution listed as oz eq, they are not required to calculate oz eq grains, since the calculation has already been determined.

  1. A processed combination main dish product that contains grains and has a Child Nutrition (CN) label on the package. Examples: Frozen burritos, frozen pizza, and frozen chicken nuggets.

  2. A food product with a product formulation statement (PFS) from a manufacturer with the dry weight of grains listed. Examples: Frozen pancakes and multigrain bagels.

  3. A commercially packaged grain product with a Nutrition Facts label on the package. Examples: Bread, crackers, and tortillas.

  4. A food product made using a recipe* that contains grain ingredients (i.e., flour, oats, cornmeal, bran, and germ) but does not contain grain products (e.g., rice, pasta).  Examples: Muffins, waffles, cornbread, dinner rolls, and breaded chicken strips.

  5. A food product made using a recipe* that contains grain products (e.g., rice, pasta) and may also contain grain ingredients (i.e., flour, oats, cornmeal, bran, and germ). Examples: Breakfast casserole with French bread cubes as an ingredient; Mexican casserole with rice and tortillas as ingredients; Macaroni and cheese with macaroni, flour, and bread crumbs as ingredients.

Methods to Determine Ounce Equivalencies

1. Processed combination main dish product that contains grains and has a CN label on the package

  • Step 1: Read the serving size and the oz eq grain contribution.

    • For example, a CN label may read: One 5.0 oz slice of cheese pizza provides 2.0 oz eq meat alternate, ¼ cup vegetable, and 2.0 oz eq grains.

  • Step 2: Verify the validity of the CN label by accessing the CN Label Verification Report on the USDA Authorized Labels and Manufacturers web page External link opens in new window or tab.. Use the numbers at the top of the CN label (the CN label identification number) to verify that the product is included in the verification report and that it provides the contribution to the meal pattern, as indicated on the CN label. CN labels are certified by the USDA and are only valid for five years.

Tip!: If the CN label is not found in the CN Label Verification Report, you cannot use the CN label to verify the contribution to the meal pattern for any component.

Tip!: If the processed combination main dish product does not have a CN label, the CNP Operator must obtain a PFS from the manufacturer (see Method 2 directly below) or the exact name of the food product (e.g. Chicken with Noodles) must be included as a creditable food in the USDA Food Buying Guide (FBG) External link opens in new window or tab. to serve the product as part of a reimbursable meal.

2. Food product with a PFS from a manufacturer with the dry weight of grains listed

  • Step 1: Access the USDA CNPs: Tips for Evaluating a Manufacturer’s PFS checklist External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to verify that the required components are included on the PFS (signed company letterhead, product name, serving size, etc.)

  • Step 2: Divide the number of grams of creditable grains by the number of servings listed on the PFS to determine the creditable grains per serving.

    • For example, a PFS from a manufacturer lists that there are 17 grams creditable grains in 1 roll: 17 g ÷ 1 roll = 17 g of creditable grain per roll.

  • Step 3: Divide the grams of creditable grain per serving (Step 2) by 16, because the USDA has established that 16 g of creditable grain is equal to 1 oz eq.

    • For example, 17 g creditable grain per serving (Step 2) ÷ 16 = 1.06 oz eq per roll.

  • Step 4: Round down to the nearest 0.25 oz eq.

    • For example, 1.06 oz eq (Step 3) rounded down to the nearest 0.25 oz eq = 1.0 oz eq grains per roll.

  • Step 5: Refer to the minimum serving size for each grade or age group in the CDE NSLP and SBP MP web page, and the USDA Updated CACFP MPs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.

Tip!: If the food product does not have a CN label or a PFS from the manufacturer, the CNP Operator cannot serve the food as part of a reimbursable meal unless the exact name of the food product (e.g. Chicken with Noodles) is included as a creditable food in the USDA FBG External link opens in new window or tab. to serve the product as part of a reimbursable meal.

3. Commercially packaged grain product with a Nutrition Facts label on the package

Note: CNP Operators may not use this method to determine oz eq grains for combination main dish products (e.g., burritos, pizza, chicken nuggets). These products must have a CN Label, PFS, or the exact name of the food product (e.g. Chicken with Noodles) must be listed in the USDA FBG External link opens in new window or tab. to serve the product as a reimbursable meal.

  • Step 1: Read the Nutrition Facts label on the product to determine the number of grams in one serving of the product.

    • Example #1: The Nutrition Facts label lists that one serving of 55 fishy crackers weighs 30 g.

    • Example #2: The Nutrition Facts label lists that one slice of bread weighs 40 g.

  • Step 2: Determine what food group the food product belongs to in the USDA Exhibit A table External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the number of grams in 1 oz eq.

    • Example #1: Savory Crackers are in Group A of USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The Oz Eq column of Exhibit A lists that food products in Group A must weigh 22 g to equal 1 oz eq.

    • Example #2: Bread is in Group B of USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The Oz Eq column of Exhibit A lists that food products in Group B must weigh 28 g to equal 1 oz eq.

  • Step 3: Divide the number of grams in one serving on the Nutrition Facts label (Step 1) by the number of grams in 1 oz eq listed in the Oz Eq column in the USDA Exhibit A for the appropriate food group (Step 2). Do not round up.

    • Example #1: 30 g crackers (Step 1) ÷ 22 g (Step 2) = 1.36 oz eq.

    • Example #2: 40 g slice of bread (Step 1) ÷ 28 g (Step 2) = 1.42 oz eq.

  • Step 4: Divide the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label by the number obtained in Step 3 to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1.0 oz eq.

    • Example #1: 55 crackers ÷ 1.36 oz eq = 40.44 crackers equal 1.0 oz eq.

    • Example #2: 1 slice of bread ÷ 1.42 oz eq = 0.70 slice of bread equals 1.0 oz eq.

  • Step 5: Round up to the nearest whole number of pieces (e.g. crackers) or the nearest 0.25 slice/serving (e.g. bread) to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1 oz eq.

    • Example #1: 40.44 crackers rounds up to 41 crackers equals 1.0 oz eq.

    • Example #2: 0.70 slice of bread rounds up to 0.75 (or ¾) slice of bread equals 1.0 oz eq. Please note that this is the minimum serving size, and it may be easier to serve one whole slice of bread. CNP Operators can always serve more than the minimum serving size.

Tip!: CNP Operators are not required to count the exact number of crackers (or other food product) to meet the minimum serving size for each child every time they serve crackers as part of a reimbursable meal or snack. Instead, once the initial serving size calculation is done, CNP Operators should measure the amount determined in a serving size using a measuring cup (or other household measure, like a 3 oz disposable paper cup) that closely matches the portion. Each time the CNP Operator serves the crackers (or other food product), they can use that same measuring device to determine the serving size instead of counting the exact number of crackers needed for a serving.

Alternate Method!

CNP Operators can also calculate oz eq for a serving of commercially packaged grain products electronically using the Exhibit A Grains Tool accessible in the home screen of the USDA FBG web page External link opens in new window or tab. or the FBG mobile application. Instructions for the USDA FBG web page:

  1. Select Enter Exhibit A Product (button on top of screen)

  2. Enter product name (e.g., Brand X Fishy Crackers)

  3. Select method (e.g., Ounce Equivalents)

  4. Enter item keywords (e.g., crackers) and select Search

  5. Select Add for correct item in search results table (e.g., Savory Crackers)

  6. Under the Grains Contribution tab, enter the serving size and weight (e.g., 30 grams)

  7. Under the Amount to Serve tab, enter the desired grains contribution (e.g. 0.5 oz eq) and the serving size and weight (e.g., 55 pieces weigh 30 grams) to see the amount to serve (e.g., 20.25 pieces, which rounds up to 21 pieces)

  8. Select Save for future reference of commonly served food products or print the documentation to provide to your reviewer upon request.

Tip!: A Nutrition Facts label is not required to determine oz eq for food products in Group H (e.g., oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, rice) and Group I (ready-to-eat breakfast cereals) of the USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The calculations to determine the oz eq are below.

Food products in Group H
    • 1 oz dry grain product = 1 oz eq. For example, 12 oz dry macaroni = 12 1-oz eq grain servings.
    • ½ cup cooked grain product = 1 oz eq. For example, 6 cups of cooked pasta = 12 ½-cup servings = 12 1-oz eq grain servings.
Ready-to-eat (RTE) Breakfast Cereals (Group I)
    • 1 cup flakes and rounds = 1 oz eq
    • 1¼ cups puffed = 1 oz eq
    • ¼ cup granola = 1 oz eq

4. A food product made using a recipe that contains grain ingredients but does not contain grain products

  • Step 1: Convert the amount of creditable flour or grains to grams by using the Conversions chart in the Worksheet for Calculating Grains Contribution Using Grams of Creditable Grains tab in the USDA FBG Grains web page External link opens in new window or tab. (see below).
Conversion Factor to Multiply by
Number of pounds of ingredient 453.6 g
Number of ounces of ingredient 28.35 g
Number of cups of enriched white flour 125 g
Number of cups of regular rolled oats 81 g
Number of cups of quick-cooking oats 81 g
Number of cups of degermed, enriched cornmeal 138 g
Number of cups of wheat bran 58 g
Number of cups of wheat germ 115 g
Number of cups of whole wheat flour 120 g

    • For example, a recipe that yields 20 muffins includes 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups of enriched white flour.
      • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour x 120 g per cup = 180 g
      • 1.5 cups enriched white flour x 125 g per cup = 187.5 g

  • Step 2: Add up the total grams of creditable grains in the recipe.

    • For example, 180 g whole wheat flour + 187.5 g enriched white flour = 367.5 g creditable grains in the entire recipe.

  • Step 3: Divide the grams of creditable grain in the entire recipe (Step 2) by 16, because the USDA has established that there are 16 g of creditable grain in 1 oz eq. Do not round up.

    • For example 367.5 g creditable grains (Step 2) ÷ 16 = 22.96 oz eq grains in the entire recipe.

  • Step 4: Divide the number of servings the recipe yields by the number of oz eq grains in the entire recipe (Step 3) to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1.0 oz eq. Do not round up.

    • For example, 20 muffins ÷ 22.96 oz eq (Step 3) = 0.87 muffin equals 1 oz eq.

  • Step 5: Round up to the nearest whole number of pieces (e.g., croutons) or the nearest 0.25 slice/serving (e.g., muffins) to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1 oz eq.

    • For example, 0.87 muffin (Step 4) rounded up to the nearest 0.25 serving = 1.0 muffin equals 1 oz eq.

  • Step 6: Refer to the minimum serving size for each grade or age group in the CDE NSLP and SBP MPs web page, and the USDA Updated CACFP MPs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.

Tip!: CNP Operators can also use the weights given in Groups A–G of Exhibit A corresponding to the appropriate food group to determine grain oz eq instead of using the grams of creditable grains in the recipe. Instructions:

  1. Weigh the grain product on a scale to determine the weight in grams. For example, a mini banana nut muffin weighs 32 g.

  2. Find the appropriate food group in Exhibit A. For example, banana nut muffins are in Group D.

  3. Determine how many oz eq are in one serving of the grain product by rounding down to the nearest 0.25 oz. For example, 32 g rounded down to the nearest 0.25 oz for Group D in Exhibit A = ½ oz eq per muffin.

5. A food product made using a recipe that contains grain products and may also contain grain ingredients

  • Step 1: Identify the creditable grain ingredients and determine whether they are:

    • A grain product in USDA Exhibit A, Groups A–G and I. For example, crackers, tortilla chips, dry stuffing, and RTE breakfast cereals.

Tip! Food products with the superscripts 3 and 4 in the USDA Exhibit A are grain-based desserts and are not creditable as grains in the CACFP.

    • A grain product in USDA Exhibit A, Group H. For example, pasta, rice and cooked cereal grains.

    • A grain ingredient. For example, flour, oats, cornmeal, bran, and germ.

      • For example, a recipe for 50 ⅔-cup servings of macaroni and cheese includes the following three grain ingredients and amounts:

        • Dry bread crumbs: 1 cup
        • Whole grain-rich (WGR) macaroni: 2 pound (16 oz per lb = 32 oz)
        • Whole wheat flour: 12 oz

      • Dry bread crumbs is a food product in Group A; WGR macaroni is a pasta in Group H; and whole wheat flour is a grain ingredient.

  • Step 2: Determine how much each grain ingredient contributes to the grain component by converting each creditable grain in the recipe to oz eq.

    • For grain products in USDA Exhibit A, Groups A–G and I (e.g. bread crumbs):

      • Determine the number of grams of the ingredient for the entire recipe.

        • For example, the macaroni and cheese recipe requires 1 cup dry bread crumbs. According to the Nutrition Facts label on the bread crumbs, there are 28 g in ¼ cup dried bread crumbs. There are four ¼-cup portions in 1 cup; therefore, 28 g x 4 = 112 g in 1 cup.

      • Reference the USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the number of grams in 1 oz eq for the appropriate food group.

        • For example, bread type coating is listed in Group A of Exhibit A. There are 22 g in 1 oz eq for food products in Group A.

      • Divide the number of grams of the ingredient (Step 1) by the number of grams in 1 oz eq from Exhibit A (Step 2).

        • 112 g (1 cup) dry bread crumbs ÷ 22 g in 1 oz eq = 5.09 oz eq grains.

      • For grain products in the USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), Group H (e.g. pasta): 1 oz dry pasta, rice, and cooked cereal grains = 1 oz eq.

        • For example, 32 oz dry macaroni = 32 oz eq grains.

      • For grain ingredients (e.g. flour):

        • If the ingredient is not listed in grams, convert the amount of creditable flour or grains to grams by using the Conversions chart in the Worksheet for Calculating Grains Contribution Using Grams of Creditable Grains tab in the USDA FBG Grains web page External link opens in new window or tab. (see below).
Conversion Factor to Multiply by
Number of pounds of ingredient x 453.6 g
Number of ounces of ingredient x 28.35 g
Number of cups of enriched white flour x 125 g
Number of cups of regular rolled oats x 81 g
Number of cups of quick-cooking oats x 81 g
Number of cups of degermed, enriched cornmeal x 138 g
Number of cups of wheat bran x 58 g
Number of cups of wheat germ x 115 g
Number of cups of whole wheat flour x 120 g

      • For example, 12 oz whole wheat flour x 28.35 g per oz = 340.2 g whole wheat flour.

    • Divide the number obtained by 16, because the USDA has established that 16 g of creditable grain is equal to 1 oz eq.

      • For example 340.2 g whole wheat flour ÷ 16 = 21.26 oz eq grains.

  • Step 3: Add the oz eq for all grain ingredients in the recipe.

    • For example, 5.09 oz eq (bread crumbs) + 32 oz eq (macaroni) + 21.26 oz eq (whole wheat flour) = 58.35 oz eq grains in the entire recipe.

  • Step 4: Divide the number of servings the recipe yields by the number of oz eq grains in the entire recipe (Step 3) to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1.0 oz eq. Do not round up.

    • For example, there are 50 ⅔-cup servings ÷ 58.35 oz eq (Step 3) = 0.85 servings equal 1 oz eq.

  • Step 5: Round up to the nearest 0.25 slice/serving to determine how much of the product must be offered to equal 1 oz eq.

    • For example,0.85 servings (Step 4) rounded up to the nearest 0.25 serving = 1.0 ⅔-cup serving equals 1 oz eq.

  • Step 6: Refer to the minimum serving size for each grade or age group in the CDE NSLP and SBP MPs web page, and the USDA Updated CACFP MPs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.

Contacts

If you have any questions, please contact the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division by phone at 800-952-5609 or by email at HHFKA@cde.ca.gov (School Nutrition Program Operators) or NMP4CACFP@cde.ca.gov (CACFP Operators).

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Related Content
  • CACFP Meal Patterns
    Includes meal patterns, upcoming workshop and conference information, online courses, resources, policy guidance, compliance, frequently asked questions, and contact information for CACFP Operators.
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains present in a food product, or recipe using ounce equivalencies.
  • Long Description for Figure 1: Grains Flowchart (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Long description of Figure 1 Flowchart 1 that is included in the Flowchart for Determining Creditable Grains in the Child and Adult Care Food Program tip sheet.
  • Long Description for Figure 2: Grains Flowchart (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Long description of Figure 2 Flowchart 2 that is included in the Flowchart for Determining Creditable Grains in the Child and Adult Care Food Program tip sheet.
  • Introducing Solids to Infants in the CNPs (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides guidance on assessing an infant's developmental readiness for solid foods, engaging communications with parents or guardians about offering solids, and understanding infant eating habits.
  • Serving Smoothies in the CACFP (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides smoothie recipes and guidance on crediting fruit, vegetable, milk, and yogurt smoothies served as part of reimbursable meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

  • Determining Whole Grain-rich Products in the CACFP (added 21-Nov-2019)
    Provides guidance for identifying whole grain-rich (WGR) items in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
  • Quarter-mile Site Proximity Reporting Requirements (added 19-Nov-2019)
    This management bulletin provides guidance on the quarter mile site proximity requirements for Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors.
  • Recipe for Pasta Parmesan with Vegetables (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Parmesan and rotini pasta recipe with garden vegetables in a garlic butter sauce developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.
  • Recipe for BBQ Chicken (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Flavorful baked chicken recipe with a sweet barbeque (BBQ) glaze developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.
  • Recipe for Beef Torta Sandwich (added 19-Nov-2019)
    Spicy Mediterranean beef sandwich recipe on a whole grain roll with fresh jalapenos and cheese developed by the California Culinary Centers for school food service menu planning.