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Crediting Grains as Oz Eq for Infants

Guidance to assist Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Operators serving infants to comply with the requirement to credit grains as ounce equivalents (oz eq).

Overview

Crediting grains as oz eq is required to ensure infants are offered sufficient amounts of grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition (TN) created grains measuring charts for CACFP Operators to indicate how much bread or bread-like items, crackers, iron-fortified infant cereal, and ready-to-eat cereal (RTE) needs to be served to meet the CACFP infant meal pattern requirements. These charts are available on the USDA Feeding Infants Using Ounce Equivalents for Grains in the CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Background

The final rule, CACFP: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 External link opens in new window or tab., published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2016, specified that grains served as part of reimbursable meals and snacks must be credited as oz eq in the CACFP, effective October 1, 2019.

On July 1, 2019, the USDA proposed delaying the crediting of grains as oz eq in the CACFP until October 1, 2021.

The final rule, Delayed Implementation of Grains oz eq in the CACFP External link opens in new window or tab., officially delayed the crediting of grains as oz eq in the CACFP until October 1, 2021.

Effective October 1, 2021, grains served as part of reimbursable meals and snacks must be credited as oz eq in the CACFP. CACFP Operators must ensure that they are offering the minimum required serving size of creditable grains in oz eq for each age group for each meal and snack served.

Prior to October 1, 2021, CACFP Operators credited grains as slices and servings, where 14.75 grams of creditable grain equals 1 slice or serving. When crediting grains as oz eq, 16 grams of creditable grain equals 1 oz eq. Therefore, a larger amount of a grain product must be served to meet the minimum serving size listed in the CACFP meal patterns charts with the conversion from using slices and servings to oz eq.

The CACFP Infant Meal Pattern

CACFP Operators must provide all required components in the minimum serving sizes listed for each meal and snack served to claim the meals and snacks for reimbursement. Visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Infant Meal Pattern web page for the USDA CACFP Infant meal patterns chart with grains listed in oz eq (instead of servings and slices).

Remember! The only grain that can be served for breakfast, lunch, and supper in the infant meal pattern is iron-fortified infant cereal. Bread and bread-like items, crackers, iron-fortified infant cereal, and RTE breakfast cereals can be served as part of a reimbursable snack only.

Crediting Grains as Oz Eq

Use the methods below to determine how to credit grains as oz eq in the infant meal pattern.

Using the Grains Measuring Charts

The USDA TN resource, Feeding Infants Using oz eq for Grains in the CACFP External link opens in new window or tab., available in English and Spanish, provides the steps on how to determine the amount of a grain product to serve to meet the infant meal pattern requirements. Two grains measuring charts are available in this resource for the different grain types that can be offered. The chart on page 3 contains information for crediting RTE cereals and crackers as grains oz eq and the chart on page 4 contains information for crediting iron-fortified infant cereal and bread/bread-like items as grains oz eq.

Below are the steps to follow to credit grains as oz eq using the grains measuring charts in the USDA TN Feeding Infants Using oz eq for Grains in the CACFP External link opens in new window or tab. resource.

  • Step 1: Find the grain item that you are serving on one of the two grain charts.

  • Step 2: Check to see if the item lists a weight or a size next to the grain.

    For example, the grains chart lists, Bread, and this item has a weight, at least 28 grams, next to it. The grains chart also lists, Tortilla, soft, corn, and this item has a size, about 5½”, next to it.

  • Step 3: For all items with a weight listed next to them, you will need to use the Nutrition Facts label to determine how much must be served to meet the minimum serving size for that item in the infant meal pattern. Instructions are detailed in the Using the Nutrition Facts Label section below.

  • Step 4: For all items with a size listed next to them, make sure that the grain item you would like to serve is at least that size and you are serving the correct amount to meet the infant meal pattern requirements.
Example: Animal Crackers

The grains chart lists Cracker, Animal (1½” by 1”); therefore, you will want to make sure that the animal crackers you would like to serve are at least 1½” by 1” in size, which can be done using the ruler on page 6 of the USDA TN Feeding Infants Using oz eq for Grains External link opens in new window or tab. resource.

Since the required serving size for crackers on the infant meal pattern is 0–¼ oz eq, you will need to make sure that the number of crackers you serve meets this serving size. To do this, look at the middle column, ¼ oz eq is about…, of the grains chart for Cracker, Animal. According to the grains chart, 4 crackers (or 7 grams) is equal to about ¼ oz eq. Therefore, you will need to serve 4 animal crackers, which are at least 1½“ by 1” in size, to meet the ¼ oz eq serving size for the grains component.

Note: Some items, such as iron-fortified infant cereal, do not have a weight or a size listed next to them. This means that you do not need to compare the item’s size or weight to the grains chart. Instead, you can use the serving size listed in the ½ oz eq is about… column to get an estimate of the amount you would need to serve to equal ½ oz eq. This amount would be enough to cover each of the creditable grain items in the infant meal pattern.

Using the Nutrition Facts Label

CACFP Operators may need to use the Nutrition Facts label on a grain product if the grain item has a weight listed next to it (e.g., Corn Muffin at least 34 grams).

To demonstrate how to use the Nutrition Facts label to determine oz eq, follow these steps in the examples below.

Example #1: Whole Wheat Bread
  • Step 1: Find item on Grains Measuring Chart. Whole wheat bread is listed as:
    • Bread at least 28 grams (g) and
    • ½ oz eq is about: ½ slice or 14 g.

  • Step 2: Look at the Nutrition Facts label of the grain item, and find the serving size in grams.

For example, the Nutrition Facts label on a package of whole wheat bread lists the serving size as one slice, or 43 g.

The slice of bread must contain at least 28 g to be able to use the grains chart to determine grains oz eq. This means that if you serve ½ slice of bread, then it would equal at least the minimum amount needed (14 g) in order to meet the ½ oz eq serving size requirement. Since this bread slice contains 43 g then you know that this type of bread product can be served.

Remember! Since the serving size of solid foods for infants are listed as a range (e.g., 0–½ oz eq), you can offer an infant less than the minimum serving size if they have just started eating solid foods, and are not ready to be offered the full amount. As the infant becomes developmentally ready for the full serving size, then you would need to offer them the required minimum serving size (e.g., ½ oz eq).

Example #2: English Muffin
  • Step 1: Find item on Grains Measuring Chart External link opens in new window or tab.. English muffin is listed as:
    • English Muffin (top and bottom) at least 56 g and
    • ½ oz eq is about: ¼ muffin or 14 g.

  • Step 2: Look at the Nutrition Facts label of the grain item, and find the serving size in grams.

In this example, the serving size in grams is 61 g.

Since the entire English muffin must weigh at least 56 g in order to use the grains measuring chart, and this product contains 61 g per serving, this brand of English muffins meet the requirements to determine grains oz eq using the grains measuring chart. To meet the ½ oz eq minimum serving size for bread/bread like items, at least ¼ English muffin would need to be served.

Tip! CACFP Operators can calculate grains oz eq for a serving of commercially- packaged grain products that include a Nutrition Facts label electronically using the Exhibit A Grains Tool accessible on the home screen of the USDA Food Buying Guide (FBG) web page External link opens in new window or tab. or the FBG mobile application. For detailed guidance, see the Using Online Calculations section of the CDE Calculating Grains oz eq: Nutrition Facts Label web page.

Grain Products made Using a Recipe

Examples of grains products using a recipe include muffins, waffles, cornbread, and dinner rolls. Follow the instructions on the CDE Calculating Grains oz eq: Recipes web page to determine the oz eq for grain products made using a recipe.

Compliance

Guidance on the CDE review process for meal pattern compliance for the administrative review (AR) is available on the CDE CACFP Administrative Manual Section 16.1 web page for the month of the AR and the CDE CACFP Administrative Manual Section 16.2 web page for the day of the AR.

Resources

Training Worksheets (English and Spanish)

Digital Tools

Recorded Webinars

Policy Documents

Other Resources

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