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Calculating Grains Oz Eq: Nutrition Facts Label

Provides guidance for calculating grains ounce equivalencies (oz eq) for grain products served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that include a Nutrition Facts label.

Back to Crediting Grains Using Ounce Equivalents web page

Description

Grain products with Nutrition Facts labels are commercially prepared, purchased through a grocery store or distributor, and include foods such as bread, crackers, and tortillas. This web page provides step-by-step guidance on the how to calculate grains oz eq for commercially packaged grain products that include a Nutrition Facts label on the product packaging:

  1. Using online calculations
  2. Using a grains chart
  3. Using hand calculations

Note: CACFP Operators may not use the steps listed on this web page to determine grains oz eq for commercially prepared combination main dish products, such as pizza, burritos, and chicken nuggets. These types of products include components other than grains, therefore, they must be accompanied by either a Child Nutrition (CN) Label or a product formulation statement (PFS) to be served as part of a reimbursable meal or snack in the CACFP. To calculate grains oz eq for commercially prepared combination foods, see the California Department of Education (CDE) Calculating Grains Oz Eq: CN-Labeled Products web page and the CDE Calculating Grains Oz Eq: PFSs web page.

Using Online Calculations

CACFP Operators can calculate grains oz eq for a serving of commercially-packaged grain products electronically using the Exhibit A Grains Tool accessible on the home screen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Buying Guide (FBG) web page External link opens in new window or tab. or the FBG mobile application. CACFP Operators must have a registered account and be logged into the USDA FBG to save crediting information for grain products calculated using the Exhibit A Grains tool. To create an account and for login instructions, see the Login Information section of the CDE FBG Calculator web page.

Note: To use this method, the grain product must be creditable. To determine if the product is a creditable grain, access the CDE Determining Creditable Grain Products in the CACFP web page.

Calculation Steps

  • Step 1: Select the Exhibit A Grains Tool tab

    • Select the Exhibit A Grains Tool tab on the home screen of the USDA FBG web page.

  • Step 2: Select Enter Exhibit A Product

    • Select Enter Exhibit A Product at the top of the Exhibit A Grains Tool–My Products screen.

  • Step 3: Enter information about the grain product

    • Enter three pieces of information on the Exhibit A Grains Tool–Enter Product screen:

    • Select Search.

  • Step 4: Select the correct category of grain product

    • After selecting Search, all food items in the Exhibit A Grains table that contain the Item Keywords will open in a table on the same screen.

    • For example, when the word crackers is entered in the Item Keywords field, two entries are listed in the table in the Item Name column: Savory Crackers (saltines and snack crackers), and Sweet Crackers (graham crackers–all shapes, animal crackers).

    • In the Action column of the search results table, select Add next to the correct grain product. For example, select Add in the Action column next to Savory Crackers.

  • Step 5: Enter information into the Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group tab

    • After selecting Add next to the desired grain product, the product (for example, Savory Crackers) is listed in a separate table on the same screen. Above the table are three tabs:

      • Grains Contribution
      • Amount to Serve
      • Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group

    • Select the Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group tab and enter information into the columns in this tab:

      • Serving Size:

        • Refer to the Nutrition Facts label.

        • Enter the serving size for one serving; for example, 5 (for 5 crackers).

        • Select from the drop-down list to reflect if the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label is listed for the number of pieces, cups, single-serve packages, etc. For example, for 5 crackers listed on the Nutrition Facts label, select piece(s)/slice(s) from the drop-down list.

        • Refer to the Nutrition Facts label on the product to enter the weight for one serving. For example, enter 16 for the number of grams in 5 crackers.

        • Select from the drop-down list to reflect the unit of measurement for the weight. For example, for 16 grams in 5 crackers, select grams from the drop-down list.

      • Program–Meal

        • In the Program–Meal column, select the meal or snack served in the CACFP from the drop-down list. For example, select CACFP–Snack from the drop-down list.

  • Step 6: Reference the table to determine how much to serve

    • After all the information is added in the Amount to Serve by Age Group/Grade Group tab, a table will appear with three columns:

      • Age Group/Grade Group (lists each age group in the CACFP meal patterns)

      • Amount to Serve to Meet Minimum Grains Requirement (lists the amount of product that must be served to meet the minimum grains requirement for each age group at the select meal or snack from Step 5)

      • Minimum Grains Requirement (lists the minimum grains requirement for each age group at the selected meal or snack from Step 5)

    • For example, the table will show that age groups 1–2 and 3–5 need 3.5 pieces (or crackers), which would round up to 4 crackers, to meet the required ½ oz eq grains serving at snack, and ages 6–12, 13–18, and adults need 7 pieces (or crackers) to meet the required 1 oz eq grains serving at snack.

    • The USDA FBG web page External link opens in new window or tab. also includes an instructional video on using the Exhibit A Tool, Chapter 3B: Exhibit A Grains Tool, in the Training Videos section of the Help Menu.

Using a Grains Chart

The USDA developed a resource, Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, English External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, Spanish External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), that provides a Grains Measuring Chart and instructions for how to determine how much of a grain item CACFP Operators must serve to meet the CACFP meal pattern requirements. Below is an overview of the steps included in this resource.

Note: To use this method, the grain product must be creditable. To determine if the product is a creditable grain, access the CDE Determining Creditable Grain Products in the CACFP web page.

Calculation Steps

  • Step 1: Find the grain in the Grains Measuring Chart

    • Pages 2–4 of the USDA resource Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, English External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, Spanish External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), includes a list of various grain products in the Grains Measuring Chart. Find the grain product you want to serve under the Grain Item and Size column.

    • Examples include:

      • Bagel (entire bagel)
      • Bread (whole grain-rich [WGR] or enriched)
      • Cereal, Ready-to-Eat: Puffed
      • Cracker, Fish-Shaped or Similar, Savory
      • Oatmeal
      • Pasta (WGR or enriched, all shapes)
      • Tortilla, Soft, Flour

  • Step 2: Determine whether the grain is listed as a size or weight

    • Under the name of each grain product in the Grain Item and Size column of the Grains Measuring Chart there may be an additional description in this column with a reference size or weight of the grain product; however, for some grain products, this column does not include an additional description (reference) about the size or weight of the grain product.

    • Examples include:

      • Bagel (entire bagel) at least 56 grams (g)
      • Bread (WGR or enriched), at least 28 g
      • Cereal, Ready-to-eat: Puffed
      • Cracker, Fish-shaped or Similar, Savory, about ¾” x ½”
      • Oatmeal
      • Pasta (WGR or enriched, all shapes)
      • Tortilla, Soft, Flour, about 6”

    • If a weight is listed (such as 56 g):

      • CACFP Operators must refer to the Nutrition Facts label on the product’s package to ensure that the grain product they want to serve weighs the same as, or more than, the reference weight for the grain listed in the Grains Measuring Chart.

      • For example, the Nutrition Facts label for a bagel must list that one entire bagel weighs a minimum of 56 g to use the Grains Measuring Chart, since 56 g is specified as the reference weight for a bagel.

      • If the grain product you want to serve is lighter in weight than the grain product listed in the Grains Measuring Chart, follow the steps to calculate grains oz eq for the grain product as listed in either the Using Hand Calculations or Using Online Calculations section of this web page.

    • If a size is listed (such as ¾” x ½”):

      • CACFP Operators should use the Grains Measuring Tools at the bottom on page 6 of the USDA resource Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, English External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Using Oz Eq for Grains in the CACFP, Spanish External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), to ensure that the grain product they want to serve is the same size as, or larger than, the reference size for the grain listed in the Grains Measuring Chart.

      • For example, a goldfish cracker must measure at least ¾” x ½” to use the Grain Measuring Chart, since ¾” x ½” is specified as the reference size for fish-shaped crackers.

      • If the grain product you want to serve is smaller than the size of the grain product listed in the Grains Measuring Chart, follow the steps to calculate grains oz eq for the grain product as listed in either the Using Hand Calculations or Using Online Calculations section of this web page.

    • If neither weight nor size are listed:

      • CACFP Operators do not need to measure the size of the grain product or reference the weight of the grain product listed on the Nutrition Facts label. Instead, simply use the volume (e.g., cups) listed in the Grains Measuring Chart.

      • For example, ¼-cup cooked serving of pasta provides ½ oz eq according to the Grains Measuring Chart.

  • Step 3: Determine how much to serve

    • CACFP Operators should find the column for the age of their participants and the meal and snack being served in the Grains Measuring Chart to determine how much to serve to meet the meal pattern requirement for grains.

    • For example, if a CACFP serves bagels (with a minimum weight of 56 grams according to the Nutrition Facts label), the serving size is ¼ bagel for ages 1–5 and ½ bagel for ages 6–18 at breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack.

Using Hand Calculations

The USDA developed a resource, Calculating Oz Eq of Grains in the CACFP, English External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Calculating Oz Eq of Grains in the CACFP, Spanish External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) that provides guidance for how to determine oz eq for grain products with a Nutrition Facts label using hand calculations. Below is an overview of the steps included in this resource.

Note: To use this method, the grain product must be creditable. To determine if the product is a creditable grain, access the CDE Determining Creditable Grain Products in the CACFP web page.

Calculation Steps

  • Step 1: Determine the required serving size

    • To determine the required serving size, refer to the minimum serving size for the grains component for the age group and meal or snack being served on page two in the USDA Updated CACFP Meal Patterns resource External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

    • For example, the minimum serving size for the grains component for children ages 1–5 at snack is ½ oz eq.

  • Step 2: Determine the minimum weight of the grain product

  • Step 3: Find the weight of one serving from the Nutrition Facts label

    • Read the Nutrition Facts label on the product’s package to determine how much one serving of the grain product weighs.

    • For example, the Nutrition Facts label on a package of savory crackers lists that one serving weighs 32 g.

  • Step 4: Find the number of items or pieces in one serving

    • Read the Nutrition Facts label to determine how many items or pieces are in one serving of the grain product.

    • For example, the Nutrition Facts label on a package of savory crackers lists that there are 16 pieces (crackers) in one serving.

  • Step 5: Determine how many grams per item or piece

    • Divide the weight in grams of one serving (Step 3) by the number of items or pieces in one serving (Step 4) to determine how many grams there are per item or piece of the grain product.

    • For example, 32 g per serving (Step 3) ÷ 16 crackers per serving (Step 4) = 2 g per cracker.

  • Step 6: Determine how many items or pieces to serve

    • Divide the weight of the required oz eq (Step 2) by the weight of each item or piece (Step 5) to determine how many items or pieces to serve.

    • For example, 11 g (Step 2) ÷ 2 g per cracker (Step 5) = 5.5 crackers.

  • Step 7: Round up

    • If the answer in Step 6 is not a whole number, round the number up to the next whole number.

    • For example, 5.5 crackers rounds-up to 6 crackers. Therefore, 6 crackers provides ½ oz eq.

    Tip!: CACFP Operators who provide single-serve packages of grains (such as individual bags of pretzels) to participants, are encouraged to use the USDA resource Crediting Single-Serving Packages of Grains in the CACFP, English External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and Crediting Single-Serving Packages of Grains in the CACFP, Spanish External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), for guidance on determining oz eq for these types of products.

Additional Resources

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Questions:   CACFP Meal Patterns Team | CACFPMealPatterns@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609, Option 5
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 19, 2021
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