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CACFP Child Meal Patterns Charts

Provides the breakfast, lunch and supper, and snack meal pattern charts for children served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Description

This web page provides the breakfast, lunch and supper, and snack meal pattern charts for children served in the CACFP. The charts were modified from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Meal Pattern charts External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to provide the serving size for grains in ounce equivalents (oz eq) instead of servings and slices.

See the Oz Eq (for each food group) column in the USDA Exhibit A: Grain Requirements for Child Nutrition Programs chart External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to determine minimum weights of grain products that must be served to provide the minimum serving size for each age group. For example, one slice of bread must weigh 28 grams (as listed on the Nutrition Facts label) to provide 1 oz eq grains.

Access the USDA Child Meal Pattern charts External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and the USDA Nutrition Standards for CACFP Meals and Snacks web page External link opens in new window or tab. for additional meal pattern requirements and guidance on serving meals to children in the CACFP.

Child Meal Patterns

Breakfast

CACFP Operators must serve three components at breakfast. The three components include: (1) fluid milk; (2) either vegetables, fruits, or portions of both; and (3) one of the grain products listed in this table (unless the CACFP Operator chooses to substitute a meat/meat alternate [M/MA] for the entire grains component, which is allowable up to three times per week). Each of the three components must be provided in the minimum servings listed for each age group and component.

Breakfast cereals, cereal grains (e.g., rice, quinoa), and pasta are listed in both oz eq and cups because these items can be credited by weight (oz eq) or by volume (cup).

Meal Components and Food Items Ages 1-2 Serving Size Ages 3-5 Serving Size Ages 6-12 Serving Size Ages 13-18 Serving Size
(At-risk and emergency shelters)
Fluid Milk
4 fluid ounces (fl oz)
6 fl oz
8 fl oz
8 fl oz
Vegetables, fruits, or portions of both
1/4 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
Grains: Whole grain-rich (WGR) or enriched bread or bread product, such as a biscuit, roll, or muffin
1/2 oz eq
1/2 oz eq
1 oz eq
1 oz eq
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, cereal grain, and/or pasta
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked
1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Flakes or rounds

1/2 oz eq = 1/2 cup

1/2 oz eq = 1/2 cup

1 oz eq = 1 cup

1 oz eq = 1 cup

Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified RTE breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Puffed cereal

1/2 oz eq = 3/4 cup

1/2 oz eq = 3/4 cup

1 oz eq = 1¼ cup

1 oz eq = 1¼ cup

Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified RTE breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Granola

1/2 oz eq = 1/8 cup

1/2 oz eq = 1/8 cup

1 oz eq = 1/4 cup

1 oz eq = 1/4 cup

Lunch and Supper

CACFP Operators must serve five components at lunch and supper. The five components include: (1) fluid milk; (2) vegetables; (3) either fruits or a separate (different) second vegetable; (4) one of the grain products listed in this table; and (5) one of the meat/meat alternate (M/MA) products listed in this table. Each of the five components must be provided in the minimum servings listed for each age group and component.

Breakfast cereals, cereal grains (e.g., rice, quinoa), and pasta are listed in both oz eq and cups because these items can be credited by weight (oz eq) or by volume (cup).

Meal Components and Food Items Ages 1-2 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 3-5 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 6-12 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 13-18 Minimum
Serving Size
Fluid Milk
4 fluid ounces (fl oz)
6 fl oz
8 fl oz
8 fl oz
M/MA: Lean meat, poultry, or fish
1 oz
1½ oz
2 oz
2 oz
M/MA: Tofu, soy products, or alternate protein products
1 oz
1½ oz
2 oz
2 oz
M/MA: Cheese
1 oz
1½ oz
2 oz
2 oz
M/MA: Large egg
1/2
3/4
1
1
M/MA: Cooked dry beans or peas
1/4 cup
3/8 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
M/MA: Peanut butter or soy nut butter or other nut or seed butters
2 tablespoons (Tbsp)
3 Tbsp
4 Tbsp
4 Tbsp
M/MA: Yogurt, plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened
4 oz
or 1/2 cup
6 oz
or ¾ cup
8 oz
or 1 cup
8 oz
or 1 cup
M/MA: Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts, or seeds (may be used to meet no more than 50 percent of the M/MA requirement and must be served with another M/MA)

1 oz nuts/seeds = 1 oz cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 oz = 50%
3/4 oz = 50%
1 oz = 50%
1 oz = 50%
Vegetables
1/8 cup
1/4 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
Fruits
1/8 cup
1/4 cup
1/4 cup
1/4 cup
Grains: Whole grain-rich (WGR) or enriched bread or bread product, such as a biscuit, roll, or muffin
1/2 oz eq
1/2 oz eq
1 oz eq
1 oz eq
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, cereal grain, and/or pasta
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked

1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked

Snack

CACFP Operators must serve two of the five components at snack. The five components include: (1) fluid milk; (2) vegetables; (3) fruits; (4) one of the grain products listed in this table; and (5) one of the meat/meat alternate (M/MA) products listed in this table. Both components must be provided in the minimum servings listed for each age group and component.

Breakfast cereals, cereal grains (e.g., rice, quinoa), and pasta are listed in both oz eq and cups because these items can be credited by weight (oz eq) or by volume (cup).

Meal Components and Food Items Ages 1-2 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 3-5 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 6-12 Minimum
Serving Size
Ages 13-18 Minimum
Serving Size
Fluid Milk
4 fluid ounces (fl oz)
6 fl oz
8 fl oz
8 fl oz
M/MA: Lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 oz
1/2 oz
1 oz
1 oz
M/MA: Tofu, soy products, or alternate protein products
1/2 oz
1/2 oz
1 oz
1 oz
M/MA: Cheese
1/2 oz
1/2 oz
1 oz
1 oz
M/MA: Large egg
1/2
1/2
1/2
1/2
M/MA: Cooked dry beans or peas
1/8 cup
1/8 cup
1/4 cup
1/4 cup
M/MA: Peanut butter or soy nut butter or other nut or seed butters
1 tablespoons (Tbsp)
1 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
M/MA: Yogurt, plain or flavored, unsweetened or sweetened
2 oz
or 1/4 cup
2 oz
or 1/4 cup
4 oz
or 1/2 cup
4 oz
or 1/2 cup
M/MA: Peanuts, soy nuts, tree nuts, or seeds
1/2 oz
1/2 oz
1 oz
1 oz
Vegetables
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
3/4 cup
3/4 cup
Fruits
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
3/4 cup
3/4 cup
Grains: Whole grain-rich (WGR) or enriched bread or bread product, such as a biscuit, roll, or muffin
1/2 oz eq
1/2 oz eq
1 oz eq
1 oz eq
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified cooked breakfast cereal, cereal grain, and/or pasta
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 oz dry
or
1/4 cup cooked
1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked
1 oz eq = 1 oz dry
or
1/2 cup cooked
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Flakes or rounds
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 cup
1/2 oz eq = 1/2 cup
1 oz eq = 1 cup
1 oz eq = 1 cup
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified RTE breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Puffed cereal
1/2 oz eq = 3/4 cup
1/2 oz eq = 3/4 cup
1 oz eq = 1¼ cup
1 oz eq = 1¼ cup
Grains: WGR, enriched, or fortified RTE breakfast cereal (dry, cold): Granola
1/2 oz eq = 1/8 cup
1/2 oz eq = 1/8 cup
1 oz eq =1/4 cup
1 oz eq =1/4 cup

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Questions:   CACFP Meal Patterns Team | CACFPMealPatterns@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609, Option 5
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
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