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Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies

Guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains in ounce equivalencies (oz eq) for commercial food products and homemade recipes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Description

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Operators must ensure that they are offering the minimum required serving size of creditable grains for each age group for each meal and snack served. This web page provides guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains in oz eq for commercial food products and homemade recipes

Additional guidance on determining the amount of creditable grains in oz eq is accessible on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) CACFP Meal Pattern Training Worksheets web page External link opens in new window or tab..

  • Originator of Resource: The California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division

  • User of Resource: CACFP directors, food service staff, and nutritionists

  • Date Updated: December 2020

Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalencies

The steps to determine the amount of creditable grains in oz eq for commercial food products and homemade recipes depends on whether the food product is:

  1. A commercially-prepared combination main dish product that contains grains and has a Child Nutrition (CN) Label on the package. Examples: Commercially prepared burritos, pizza, and chicken nuggets.

  2. A commercially-prepared product containing grains that does not have a CN Label or a Nutrition Facts label on the package. Examples: Breads, rolls, and pizza purchased from a small, local bakery.

  3. A commercially-prepared grain product with a Nutrition Facts label on the package. Examples: Bread, crackers, and tortillas purchased at a grocery store or through a distributor.

  4. A homemade 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 homemade 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 bread crumbs, and flour as ingredients.

Note: If the CACFP Operator is using a USDA standardized recipe with the grains contribution listed as oz eq, they are not required to calculate grain oz eq, because the calculation has already been determined. Links to USDA standardized recipes are accessible on the USDA Team Nutrition Recipes web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Methods to Determine Ounce Equivalencies

1. Commerically-prepared 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 listed on the CN Label.

Tip!: If the commercially-prepared combination main dish product does not have a CN Label, the CACFP Operator must obtain a product formulation statement (PFS) from the manufacturer (see Method 2 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. A commercially-prepared product containing grains that does not have a CN Label or a Nutrition Facts label on the package.

  • Step 1: Request a completed PFS that documents the amount of creditable grains per serving. If the vendor does not have a PFS, provide the vendor with a blank USDA PFS for Documenting Grains in Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) for them to complete.

  • Step 2: 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.). Then confirm the calculations were done correctly by completing steps 3, 4, and 5.

  • Step 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: Refer to the minimum serving size for each grade or age group in the USDA Updated CACFP Meal Patterns resource External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.

Tip!: If a PFS from the vendor cannot be obtained, the CACFP Operator cannot serve these types of food products as part of a reimbursable meal.

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

Note: CACFP Operators may not use this method to determine oz eq grains for commercially-prepared combination main dish products (e.g., burritos, pizza, chicken nuggets). Those 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 part of 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 (weight) in one serving on the Nutrition Facts label (Step 1) by the number of grams (weight) in 1 oz eq listed in the Oz Eq column in the USDA Exhibit A for the appropriate food group (Step 2) to determine the amount of oz eq grains provided in one serving. Do not round up.

    • Example #1: 30 g crackers (Step 1) ÷ 22 g (Step 2) = 1.36 oz eq in 30 grams (55 crackers).

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

  • Step 4: Divide the serving size (number) 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. CACFP Operators can always serve more than the minimum serving size.

Tip!: CACFP 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, CACFP 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 CACFP 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!

CACFP 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., Oz Eq Grains)

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

  5. Select Add in the table that appears after selecting Search for the correct item in search results table (e.g., Savory Crackers)

  6. To determine how much oz eq grains is provided in the serving size, under the Grains Contribution tab, enter the serving size and weight (e.g., 30 grams)

  7. To determine the amount of product to serve to provide the desired serving size, there are two options:

    • If the serving size in oz eq is known: 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) (e.g., 20.25 pieces, which rounds up to 21 pieces)

    • If the serving size in oz eq is not known: Under the Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group tab, enter the serving size and weight (e.g., 55 pieces weigh 30 grams) and select the program and meal type from the drop down list (e.g., Preschool–Snack) to open an Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group to Meet Minimum Grains Requirement for Preschool–Snack table (e.g., in this example the table lists that both ages 1–2 and 3–5 must be served 20.25 crackers to provide 0.5 oz eq grains)

  8. Select Save for future reference of commonly served food products or print the documentation to provide to your CDE 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) listed in the USDA Exhibit A External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The calculations to determine the oz eq grains for these products 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 homemade grain 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 below from 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..

    • 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
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
  • 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 age group in the USDA Updated CACFP Meal Patterns resource External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.

Tip!: CACFP 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 homemade grain 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.

      • Note: 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).

        • For example, 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 below from 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..

          • 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.
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

  • 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 per 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 age group in the USDA Updated CACFP Meal Patterns resource External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine the amount of product to offer for a meal or snack.
Questions:   CACFP Meal Patterns Team | CACFPMealPatterns@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609 Option 5
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 24, 2020
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