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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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6. Is granola cereal an acceptable grains/breads?

Yes. Commercial and homemade granola cereals are acceptable grains/breads products for breakfast and snacks only. However, only the grain portion of the cereal is creditable as grains/breads. In other words, any nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, etc., are not to be included when determining the serving size.

7. Is corndog batter/breading creditable?

The batter/breading is credited like cornbread. A CN label or product analysis must be provided.

8. Is a tamale creditable?

Only the meat filling inside the tamale would be creditable since masa (the main ingredient that makes up a tamale) is not creditable.

9. Can crackers be served as a grain/bread?

Yes. Crackers can be served as a grain/bread for breakfast, lunch, supper or snack.

Some crackers are high in fat, sugar or salt and should be avoided. Low sodium brands are encouraged. Some popular crackers have been evaluated to determine serving


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Milk is an important source of calcium, riboflavin, protein, vitamin A and D and other nutrients. Fluid milk must be served at breakfast, lunch and supper. Additionally, fluid milk may be served as one of the two food components for snack.

“Milk” means pasteurized fluid types of unflavored or flavored milk, such as whole milk, reduced-fat (2%) milk, low-fat (1%) milk, skim milk or cultured buttermilk, which meet state and local standards. Reconstituted dry milk and evaporated milk do not fit the definition of fluid milk and are not creditable.

At breakfast, fluid milk may be served as a beverage or on cereal, or in combination. Both lunch and supper must contain a serving of fluid milk as a beverage. If milk is one of the two components served for snack, it must be fluid milk served as a beverage or on cereal.

Milk may not be served for snacks when juice is served as the only other component. Whole milk should be served to children 12 to 23 months of age. Low fat (1%) or skim milk must be served to children 24 months and older.

Infants must be served iron-fortified infant formula or breast milk. If a child is unable to drink milk, and this is not due to a disability, the parent/guardian can request in writing that a non-dairy milk substitution (equivalent to milk-soy milk or Lactaid) be provided for reasons such as: allergies, vegan, religious. No medical statement is needed; however, the written parent/guardian request must identify the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the consumption of cow’s milk.

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1. Is milk required at snack?

No, milk may be one of the two components, but is not required.

2. Why is reconstituted dry milk not creditable as fluid milk?

Reconstituted milk is not included in the definition of milk in the Program regulations.

It is not possible to ensure that the quantities of dry milk and water used are adequate to provide the nutritional equivalent of fluid milk. Dry milk may be used only when a center or home is unable to obtain a supply of fluid milk on a continuing basis. In such cases, the Arizona Department of Education, Child Nutrition Program Unit may approve service of meals without fluid milk, provided that an equivalent amount of canned whole dry or non-fat milk is used in the preparation of the components of the meal.

Prior approval must be obtained.

3. Can fluid milk be served with juice and be creditable for any meal?

The combination of serving milk and juice is creditable at breakfast, lunch and supper because it meets both the milk and fruit/vegetable component. The beverage must contain the required amount of each food component. The milk-juice combination may only count as one component at snack, either milk or a fruit/vegetable.

4. Is a beverage made of milk and solid fruit(s)/vegetable(s) creditable?

Yes. This type of beverage is creditable as both milk and fruit/vegetable when served for any meal or snack. The beverage must contain the required amounts of each food component.

5. If a child cannot have milk, can I still be reimbursed for meals?

Yes. If it is due to a disability, and you obtain a written medical statement from a recognized medical authority stating that the child should not be served milk. The statement must specify a substitute food. If it is for reason such as allergies, vegan or religious, and you obtain a written parental/guardian request, you may substitute for a non-dairy equivalent (soymilk or Lactaid).

6. Can the milk used in the preparation of products such as puddings, cream sauces and ice cream count toward the milk requirement?

No. The milk served must be served as a beverage and/or poured over cereal at breakfast or snack.

7. Can milk be purchased directly from a farm?

Yes, as long as it is pasteurized fluid milk, which meets state and local health standards.

Also, it must include vitamin A and D levels consistent with state and local standards.

8. Can milkshakes be served to meet the milk requirement?

Yes. Homemade milkshakes that contain the required amount of fluid milk are creditable. Milkshakes that contain ice cream will be considered high-sugar items.

Commercially bought milkshakes are not creditable because it is impossible to determine the amount of milk.

SOY MILK Soy milk that is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk is recognized as a creditable milk substitute for children who cannot consume fluid cow’s milk due to medical or special dietary needs, other than a disability; for example, lactose intolerance or a vegan diet. No medical statement is necessary but a parent or guardian must request, in writing, the non-dairy milk substitute. The written request must identify the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the diet of the child.

Only the following soy milks may be credited as part of reimbursable CACFP meals:

 8th Continent Soy Milk, Original, Vanilla or Light Chocolate  Pacific Natural Ultra Soy Milk, Original or Vanilla  Kikkoman Pearl Organic Soymilk Smart, Creamy Vanilla or Chocolate  Great Value Soy Milk, Original  Kirkland Soy Milk, Organic only Questions about non-dairy milk substitutions

1. Is a caregiver required to provide a non-dairy milk substitute if it is not related to a medical disability?

No. It is at the caregiver’s discretion to provide a non-dairy milk substitute if it is not related to a medical disability.

2. Will caregivers receive additional meal reimbursements if they provide a nondairy milk substitution?

No. All non-dairy milk substitutions are at the expense of the caregiver and/or the child’s parent or guardian.

3. If a parent or adult participant can request a non-dairy milk substitute that is equivalent to cow’s milk, can the parent or adult participant also request that their child or themselves be served whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk?

No. The Act requires that milk served to children and adults in the CACFP be aligned with the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that persons over the age of two consume low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk. Therefore, any request for higher fat milk must be made through a medical statement, related to a medical disability, and prescribed by a licensed physician.


The Infant Meal Pattern allows for a gradual introduction of solid foods and encourages breast-feeding or formula feeding up to the first birthday. The first year of life, from birth until the baby’s first birthday, is divided into three equal age groups, each consisting of four months. Although the infant meal pattern specifies breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack, this may be inconsistent with a baby’s feeding pattern. Meals are specified as a guideline only.

Young babies, under 6 months of age, usually will not comply with rigid schedules and may need to eat every 2 to 4 hours. Some older babies also will need to eat more frequently than the specified feedings. Babies should be fed when they are hungry and not restricted to a rigid schedule. The texture and amount of the feeding should be consistent with the age of the infant. For emotional, nutritional and physical growth, infants need foods that are rich in nutrients. Foods such as breast milk, strained meat, fruit, vegetables, ironfortified dry infant cereal and iron-fortified infant formula provide the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals for growing babies.

Baby foods with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) added are not creditable. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is added to some commercially prepared fruits and vegetables. Some lines of baby food contain DHA derived from egg yolk. These products combine fruits or vegetables with dried egg yolk, heavy cream, rice flour, vanilla extract, and other ingredients. Although these products are not labeled or marketed as desserts, they contain similar ingredients that may not be appropriate for infants younger than 8 months of age. Introducing these ingredients in an infant’s diet at an earlier age could result in food sensitivity or a food allergy. DHA-added foods could be served as additional foods for infants 8 months of age or older. However, because of the possibility of allergic reactions, we recommend that the center or provider consult with the infant’s parent or guardian before serving.

Portion Sizes - There are ranges given for each food portion in the meal pattern to allow for flexibility in how much food is served to the baby based on its appetite. Babies’ appetites will vary day-to-day. The amounts listed are the minimum portions you must serve to meet the requirements. Some babies will want more than these amounts. You may serve larger portions and additional foods to those babies. Never force babies to finish what is in the bottle or what is fed by spoon. Let babies determine how much they eat.

Babies may want to eat less if they are teething or not feeling well and more if they are going through a growth spurt.

Formula and Breast milk - Iron-fortified infant formula is the best food for the baby when the baby is not being breast-fed or when a supplement to breast-feeding is needed.

Commercially prepared iron-fortified infant formula is specially formulated to have the right balance of nutrients and to be easily digested by the baby.

In order for infant meals to be claimed for reimbursement, program rules require that formula is iron-fortified infant formula intended for dietary use as a sole source of food for normal, healthy infants served in liquid state at the manufacturer’s recommended dilution.

The formula label must state “with iron” or “iron-fortified.” Formula labels that say “lowiron” do not meet the meal pattern requirement. Low-iron, other formulas or cow’s milk may be served as a dietary substitute only when a note from a medical doctor or other recognized medical authority requiring its use is on file.

Breast milk provided by the infant’s mother may be served from birth until the child is weaned from breast milk. Meals containing only breast milk are reimbursable only if the milk has been expressed and the provider is serving the infant. Breast milk is not reimbursable when a mother comes in to nurse, unless the mother is the childcare provider. Meals containing only breast milk qualify for reimbursement for infants through 7 months of age only when the breast milk, provided by the mother, is fed to the infant by child care staff. Meals containing breast milk served to infants in the 8 through 11 month age group may be claimed for reimbursement only if all other required food components are provided by the center and the center serves at least one component. In the child meal pattern, breast milk may be substituted for cow’s milk after the first birthday only if the mother has requested. Meals containing only iron-fortified formula supplied by the infant’s parent/guardian may be reimbursed for infants through 7 months of age if the parent has refused the facility-provided formula. Meals containing parent-provided formula may be reimbursed for infants 8 through 11 months only if the child care facility provides at least one other meal component as indicated by the Infant Food Chart, and the parent has refused the formula offered by the facility. An Infant Feeding Preference form signed by the parent/guardian must be on file before the meals can be claimed. The childcare facility must offer a formula which meets program requirements and the decision to decline the offered infant formula is made by the parents/guardian. Iron-fortified infant cereal must be provided at the breakfast meal to infants 8 through 11 months of age in order for that meal to be reimbursed.

Fruit Juice - Fruit juices containing 100% juice are creditable only at snack from 8 through 11 months. No other juices or juice drinks are creditable. Juice should not be offered to infants until they are ready to drink from a cup. Drinking juice from a bottle can promote tooth decay. Never prop a bottle or give a bottle to a baby during naptime. This can cause choking as well as tooth decay and ear infections.

Reminders - Heating bottles in a microwave oven is not recommended because uneven heat distribution of the formula can occur and burn the infant’s mouth.

If an infant requires food(s) different than stipulated by the Infant Meal Pattern Food Chart, a medical statement must be on file and a substitute food must be listed on the statement.

The caregiver may claim the meal(s) provided this documentation is in place.

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Non-Creditable Infant Foods Food Comments Adult cereal “Adult” cereal, including oatmeal and farina, are not creditable for infants.

Baby food fruit desserts Not 100% fruit.

Baby food pudding Bacon Buttermilk Combination dinners Examples: Meat/vegetable dinners, meat dinners, and (commercial) dehydrated dinners. Prepared combination infant foods have water as the first ingredient and may not be used.

Cream Dry milk (reconstituted) Egg white May cause an allergic reaction in children under 12 months old.

Evaporated milk (includes Must have a signed medical statement on file.

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