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«Arizona Department of Education Creditable Food Guide Child and Adult Care Food Program Health and Nutrition Services Creditable Food Guide Child and ...»

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Arizona Department of Education

Creditable Food Guide

Child and Adult Care Food Program

Health and Nutrition Services


Food Guide

Child and Adult Care Food Program

Arizona Department of Education

Revised April 2015

Adapted from the USDA Crediting Handbook for the

Child and Adult Care Food Program




Meat/Meat Alternate Component

Creditable Meat/Meat Alternates

Non - Creditable Meat/Meat Alternates

Hot Dogs, Wieners, and Franks

Processed and Convenience Foods

Alternate Protein Products (APP)………………………………………………………………………….. 17 Questions and Answers about Meat/Meat Alternates

Fruit/Vegetable Component

Creditable Fruits/Vegetables

Non - Creditable Fruits/Vegetables

Fruits/Vegetables: What’s in Season?

Questions and Answers about Fruits/Vegetables

Grains/Breads Component

Creditable Grains/Breads

Non - Creditable Grains/Breads

Weight Table for Grains/Breads

Questions and Answers About Grains/Breads

Recommended Cereals

Milk Component

Creditable Milk

Non - Creditable Milk

Questions and Answers About Milk

Soy Milk

Infant Feeding

Creditable Infant Food

Non - Creditable Infant Food

Introducing Solids

Questions and Answers about Infant Feeding

Menu Checklist

The Mechanics of Meal Planning

Positive Attitudes toward Food

Food Safety

Breakfast Ideas

Snack Ideas

Lunch/Supper Ideas

Vitamin A & Vitamin C

Iron Rich Foods

Crediting Combination Foods

Miscellaneous Questions

Documenting Convenience Foods

Product Formulation Statement

CN Labels

Information Resources


The goal of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to improve and maintain the health and nutritional status of children and adults in care while promoting the development of good eating habits.

This manual has been designed to provide information on creditable and non-creditable foods in childcare centers/preschools, Head Start centers, outside school hour’s centers, family day care homes, at-risk centers, emergency shelters and adult day care centers.

Creditable foods are those that may be counted toward meeting the requirements for a reimbursable meal. Foods are determined to be creditable based on the following


 Nutrient content;

 Customary function in a meal;

 Regulations governing the Child Nutrition Programs (on quantity requirements and/or by definition);

 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Standards of Identity;

 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Standard for Meat and Meat Products; and  Administrative policy decisions on the crediting of particular foods.

Non-creditable foods are those that do not meet the above criteria. Non-creditable foods may be served as an “extra” food, but cannot be counted toward the meal pattern.

USDA reimburses child and adult day care centers and family day care homes participating in the CACFP for the meals and snacks it serves. A meal or snack is reimbursable if it contains components in the amounts required in the CACFP Meal Pattern Food Chart on pages 4-8.

–  –  –


1. Alternate Protein Products (APP) – Protein products from plant sources, which may be used, in some cases, to substitute, in part, for meat, poultry, of seafood.

2. Arizona Department of Education (ADE) — Agency that administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program in Arizona.

3. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) — The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a USDA program which provides reimbursement to child care centers/preschools, family day care homes, Head Start centers, outside school hours centers, at-risk centers, emergency shelters and adult day care centers so that nutritious meals can be provided to participants.

4. Child Nutrition Labeling — A Child Nutrition (CN) label is a voluntary federal labeling program for food manufacturers regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The CN label allows manufacturers to state a product’s contribution to the Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern requirements on their label. CN labeled products are not usually found in grocery stores, but are found at larger food retailers where food products are purchased in bulk. (See page 71) Commercially prepared products must be CN labeled or must have the appropriate product analysis documentation on file.

5. Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) — Federally funded programs administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These programs include: Child and Adult Care Food Program, National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, Summer Food Service Program, Special Milk Program, Nutrition Education Training and the Food Distribution Program.

6. Combination Foods — Any single serving of food that contains two or more of the required meal components.

7. Component — A food grouped in a certain category according to the CACFP Meal Pattern (i.e., Milk Component, Meat/Meat Alternate Component, Fruit/Vegetable Component and the Grains/Breads Component).

8. Creditable Foods — Foods that meet regulations governing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in terms of nutrient content, meal pattern quantity and food component requirements, and standards of identity and foods that may be counted toward meeting the requirements for a reimbursable meal.

9. Entree or Main Dish — The main course of a meal that contains a meat and/or meat alternate.

10. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) — The division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which at the federal level is responsible for administering the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The FNS develops regulations, policies, and publications and provides supervision necessary to states to administer the CACFP.

11. Infant Cereal — Iron-fortified infant cereal is cereal specially formulated for and generally recognized as cereal for infants. It is routinely mixed with formula or milk before served to infants.

12. Infant Formula — Iron-fortified infant formula, intended for dietary use as a source of food for normal, healthy infants. It is served in a liquid state at the manufacturer’s recommended dilution.

13. Non-creditable Foods — Foods that do not meet regulations governing the CACFP in terms of nutrient content, meal pattern quantity and food component requirements, and/or standards of identity. Such foods may not be counted toward meeting the requirements for a reimbursable meal.

14. Product Analysis Sheet — Information obtained from a food manufacturer with a detailed explanation of what the product actually contains and the amount of each ingredient in the product by weight. (See page 72) Commercially prepared products must be CN labeled or must have the appropriate product analysis sheet on file in order to be served in a meal claimed for reimbursement.

15. Reimbursement — Federal financial assistance paid to institutions for authorized meals served to children in care which meet USDA meal pattern requirements.

16. Serving Size or Portion Size — The weight, measure or number of pieces or slices of food needed to serve one person. The serving size specified in the Meal Pattern Food Chart can be credited toward meeting the meal pattern requirements.

17. Simplified Buying Guide — Resource published by ADE and used by CACFP sponsors to determine the amount of food to purchase for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

18. Sponsoring Organization (SO) — The organization that is responsible for the administration of the food program in day care homes, child care centers, adult care centers, after school programs, and emergency shelters.

19. Standard of Identity — Government standard for content, preparation and labeling of a food. Standards of Identity set specific (and optional) ingredients a food must contain when a product is to be labeled or identified by a common product name.

Standards for meat products are developed by the Department of Agriculture and for other food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

20. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — Federal agency responsible for the administration of the Child Nutrition Programs.

21. Vegetable Protein Products (VPP) —Food components that may be used, in some cases, to substitute, in part, for meat, poultry, or seafood.

Meat/Meat Alternate Component

Meat and meat alternates are an important source of protein, iron, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin) and other nutrients. Meat includes lean meat such as beef, pork, lamb, veal, turkey, chicken and fish. Meat alternates include cheese, peanut butter, eggs, yogurt, cooked dry beans or peas, nuts and seeds and their butters. A serving of cooked meat is defined as lean meat without bone.

Meats cannot contain extenders or binders such as dried milk, starchy vegetable flour, calcium-reduced skim milk or cereal. Meats containing allowable amounts of fortified alternate protein products are creditable. Lunch and supper must contain a meat or meat alternate; it is optional for breakfast and snack.

–  –  –

Fish Sticks Ravioli Fishery Products International (FPI) krispy krunchy Carla’s Pasta Inc. pre-cooked jumbo ravioli cod sticks Chef Boyardee beef ravioli Gorton’s super crunchy fish sticks Seviroli Food’s large round cheese ravioli Gorton’s fisherman’s catch premium fish sticks Tasty brands jumbo cheese ravioli Icelandic fish krispies cod wedges Trident natural ultimate fish sticks Alternate Protein Products (APP) Institutions and facilities have the flexibility to serve vegetarian or vegan meals to participants while still complying with the meal pattern requirements. In place of a meat/meat alternate, creditable alternate protein products from plant sources may be used, in some cases, to substitute in part, for meat, poultry, of seafood. APP’s must have a CN label or Product Formulation Statement signed by an official of the manufacturer. APP’s may include vegan or vegetarian patties, nuggets, strips and/or crumbles.

Here are five popular main dishes that are easy to make meatless from healthyschoollunches.org:

1. Spaghetti goes well with marinara sauce and chunky vegetables, using textured vegetable protein, if desired, to make a “meaty” sauce.

2. Tacos and burritos can be filled with beans or protein crumbles, rice, and salsa.

3. Chicken fingers are available in meatless varieties that can be served with barbecue sauce, on salads, or in a variety of other dishes.

4. Burgers made of vegetables and beans are easy to serve on a bun with lettuce and tomato.

5. Pizza can be served without cheese (or with nondairy cheese substitutes), along with vegetables such as tomato slices, broccoli, or mushrooms.

Below is a list of APP’s that have a CN label (this list is not inclusive and subject to change:

1. Dr. Paeger’s Vegetarian Burgers

2. Dr. Paeger’s Black Bean Patty

3. Gardenburger® Classic Hamburger – Vegan

4. M.C.I Vegan Bean Burrito

5. Morning Star Farms® Veggie Breakfast Sausage Patties

6. Morning Star Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger

7. Pierre Foods Flame Broiled Vegetarian Patty with Teriyaki Sauce

8. Savage River Inc. Vegetarian Crumbles, Beef Flavored

9. Savage River Inc. Vegetarian Crumbles, Taco Flavored


1. Is tofu a creditable meat alternate?

No, tofu is a soybean curd, which has the general color and shape of cream cheese.

Currently, tofu is not a creditable meat alternate in the CACFP. There is no standard of identity for tofu, so the product can vary from one manufacturer to another.

2. Why are nuts and seeds and nut and seed butters allowed as a meat/meat alternate?

Peanut butter has always been included as a meat alternate in the Child Nutrition Program. Other nut and seed butters are now becoming available on the market.

Food consumption habits and food preferences are influenced by many cultural, ethnic, economic, religious and environmental factors and are constantly changing.

These changes can affect how foods are used in meals. In the past, nuts have always been considered a snack food. Nuts and seeds and a variety of nut or seed butters are becoming more popular at mealtime in main dishes. Caution should be taken to assure that a child is not allergic to nuts or nut butters before serving. Peanut allergies can be very severe. Nuts are not recommended for children under 3 years old because choking may occur.

3. Are grated Romano and Parmesan cheeses creditable?

Yes. However, small amounts used as a garnish or seasoning or in breading should not be counted toward meeting the meat/meat alternate requirement of a meal. For Romano and Parmesan cheeses, 3/8-cup serving provides 1 ounce of meat alternate.

4. How can I use cheese alternates as a meat/meat alternate?

Cheese alternates are imitation products, which appear, taste and have a nutritional value similar to cheese. However, they may not melt or cook the same as cheese.

Following are the basic requirements for using cheese alternates:

a. They must be combined with natural or processed cheese;

b. At least half of this combination must be natural or processed cheese;

c. The combination of “cheese and cheese alternate product” can be used in a cooked food or cold food;

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