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Serving Smoothies in the CACFP

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).

Description

This web page provides smoothie recipes and guidance on crediting fruit, vegetable, milk, and yogurt smoothies served as part of reimbursable meals and snacks in the CACFP. Additional guidance is available in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy Memoranda SP 40-2019, CACFP 17-2019, SFSP 17-2019, Smoothies Offered in Child Nutrition Programs (CNP)—Revised External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), CACFP 09-2017, Vegetable and Fruit Requirements in the CACFP; Questions and Answers External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

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

Serving Smoothies in the CACFP

Smoothies are a popular menu item, can be a healthful food option, and are a great way to introduce new fruits and vegetables to children through nutrition education activities. Fruit and vegetable smoothies may be credited once per day toward a reimbursable meal or snack in the CACFP. As a best practice, the majority of fruits and vegetables that children and adults consume should come from whole fruits and vegetables, including fresh, canned, frozen, and dried forms, rather than from juice, such as in a smoothie.

Follow These Crediting Tips for Serving Smoothies in the CACFP!

Meat/Meat Alternate Component
  • Dairy yogurt and soy yogurt are the only meat/meat alternates (M/MA) that are creditable in smoothies.

  • Yogurt can only credit as an M/MA, not as the milk component. The one exception is that adults in the CACFP may be offered 6 ounces of yogurt in place of 8 ounces of fluid milk once each day.

  • Yogurt cannot contain more than 23 grams (g) of sugar per 6 ounce (oz) serving.
Milk Component
  • The only allowable milk types are unflavored whole milk for one year-old children, unflavored low-fat (1 percent) or fat-free milk for children aged two through five, and unflavored low-fat or fat-free milk and flavored low-fat or fat-free milk for participants six years of age and older. In California, licensed child care centers and family child care homes may not serve flavored milk to children of any age due to the California Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).
Fruit and Vegetable Components
  • Smoothies may only be used to meet the vegetable or fruit requirement at only one meal or snack per day because once fresh, frozen, and canned fruit and vegetables are blended and served as a smoothie, they credit as a juice. Juice may only be used to meet the vegetable or fruit requirement at only one meal or snack per day.

  • Fruits and vegetables are credited based on the volume after they have been blended or pureed. For example, 3 cups of whole raspberries credit as 2 cups fruit after pureed. The USDA Food Buying Guide for CNPs External link opens in new window or tab., has yield information for some pureed fruits.

  • Smoothies containing a mix of fruits and vegetables or fruit and vegetable juice blends will contribute to the food component present in the largest amount.

  • Smoothies are not reimbursable when served to infants because juice is not creditable for infants in the CACFP.

TIP!: Smoothies prepared commercially or in-house can credit toward the milk, M/MA, fruit, and vegetable components. Commercially prepared, prepackaged smoothies must be accompanied with documentation (e.g. Child Nutrition label, product formulation statement) from the manufacturer showing the meal pattern contribution for each.

Keep the Following in Mind When Serving Smoothies in the CACFP:

  • Grains (such as oats) may be added to smoothies, but they cannot credit toward the grain component of a reimbursable meal or snack.

  • If the amount of fruit, vegetable, M/MA, and/or milk served in the smoothie does not fulfill the minimum serving sizes needed to meet the meal pattern requirements, additional components must be served with the smoothie to meet the meal pattern requirements.

  • At snack, a juice and milk smoothie can credit as either juice or milk, but not both, because only one component at snack can be a beverage. In this situation, a separate, second component must be served.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables can become contaminated with harmful bacteria. To prevent foodborne illnesses, thoroughly rinse raw fruits and vegetables under running water, especially those that require peeling or cutting, like oranges, since bacteria can be found on the outer rind or peel. As an added precaution, use a small brush to remove surface dirt and cut away damaged or bruised areas, since bacteria can thrive in these places.
Recipes
Fruit Smoothie: Creamy Blueberry Smoothie

Directions: Put all ingredients in a blender, blend on high until smooth, pour in cup, and serve immediately.

Ingredients Crediting
4 fluid (fl) oz fat-free milk ½ cup milk
4 oz low-fat yogurt 1 oz meat alternate
½ cup blueberry puree, frozen ¼ cup fruit juice

 

Veggie Smoothie: Chilled Shrek Smoothie

Directions: Put all ingredients in a blender, blend on high until smooth, pour in cup, and serve immediately.

Ingredients Crediting
4 fl oz fat-free milk ½ cup milk
4 oz low-fat yogurt 1 oz meat alternate
½ cup fresh-packed spinach ¼ cup vegetable juice
¼ cup banana puree ¼ cup fruit juice

1 cup ice

N/A

Contacts

If you have questions, please contact the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division by phone at 800-952-5690 or by email at NMP4CACFP@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   CACFP New Meal Pattern Team | NMP4CACFP@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Thursday, November 21, 2019
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