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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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canned goat’s milk) Fish sticks, patties or nuggets Half and half Home canned meats Honey Contains harmful botulism spores.

Hot dogs High in fat. High in salt.

Infant meat sticks Iron-fortified dry infant cereal containing fruit Infant snacks and puffs (commercial) Jarred “wet” Infant Cereal Low fat or Reduced Fat Should only be served to participants 2 years of age and Milk older. Must have a signed medical statement on file.

Low-iron formulas Must have a signed medical statement on file.

(includes soy based) Luncheon meat High in fat. High in salt.

Milupa Mixed cereal with fruit (commercial) Mocha mix Peanut butter, nuts, seeds May cause choking.

Pedialyte Popcorn Raw or certified raw milk Sausage Shellfish Skim Milk Must have a medical statement on file.

Vegetable Juice (or fruit/vegetable juice blend) Whole Milk Must have a medical statement on file.



Meat/Meat Alternates Meat and meat alternates are generally introduced by 8 months of age, but some doctors recommend introducing them between 6 and 8 months of age. By 8 months, babies will have already been introduced to cereal, vegetables, and fruits and will be ready for new foods and other sources of iron. Consult with the parent about which meats and meat alternates are being introduced at home so that you can serve the same food at the same time. It is not necessary to add oil, butter, margarine, lard, cream, salt, or seasonings to these foods.

Lean meat and poultry are preferable. Examples include: strained or pureed well-cooked lean beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey, liver, and boneless fin fish. As the baby’s feeding skills mature, meat and poultry can be served ground or finely chopped.

Do not serve fin fish to a baby until the parents have introduced this type of fish to the baby first with no problems. Observe a baby closely when introducing fish because some babies can have allergic reactions to fish. Any fish must be closely examined for bones, and any bones removed, before serving to a baby. Do not feed any shellfish (includes shrimp, lobster, crab, crawfish, scallops, oysters, clams) to babies less than 1 year of age—these types of seafood can cause severe allergic reactions in some babies. Do not feed any of the following fish (which may contain high levels of harmful mercury) to babies or young children: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.

Avoid feeding babies these foods (they are higher in fat, lower in protein): hot dogs, sausage, bacon, bologna, salami, luncheon meats, other cured meats, fried meats, and the fat and skin trimmed from meats.

Fruits and Vegetables Babies between 6 and 12 months of age may be served a soft-cooked vegetable or fruit as long as the texture of the food is appropriately modified. As a baby’s mouth skills progress, gradually increase the thickness and lumpiness of vegetables and fruit. Use cooked, fresh or frozen vegetables or fruits, and progress from pureed to ground to fork mashed and eventually to diced. Or you may purchase commercial baby foods that progress in texture.

Ripe bananas do not need cooking but need to be mashed to the proper consistency. Avoid canned or frozen vegetables or fruit that are high in added sugar or salt. Also, do not add salt, sugar, fat, and other seasonings to vegetables and fruits. Remove baby’s portion before preparing and seasoning vegetables and fruits for others.

Source: Feeding Infants: A Guide for use in the Child Nutrition Programs (USDA – Team Nutrition)

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Grains and Breads Bread or crackers may be served at the snack or with meals throughout the course of the day.

Consult with each baby’s parent about bread and crackers being introduced at home so that you can serve the same food at the same time. At 8 or 9 months of age, babies enjoy having finger foods so they can practice picking up the foods. Also, at that age a baby’s risk of having a reaction to wheat

decreases. Examples of foods to serve babies include:

• Strips or small pieces of dry bread or toast or crackers,

• Plain crackers preferably low in salt such as low salt soda crackers (avoid crackers with seeds, nuts, or whole grain kernels),

• Small pieces of soft tortilla or soft pita bread, or

• Teething biscuits.

Source: Feeding Infants: A Guide for use in the Child Nutrition Programs (USDA – Team Nutrition)


1. How can you serve “0” tablespoons of food according to the Infant Meal Pattern Food Chart?

Certain foods are listed as “0” tablespoons to let you know that the food is optional and should be served at your discretion. Also, you may serve less than 1 tablespoon of those foods.

2. Does an infant have to eat only at the specified meal times?

No. The meal pattern states breakfast, lunch, supper and snack, but that is only a guideline. Babies may need to eat every 2 to 4 hours or more frequently than the specified times.

3. Why are some of the food portions so small?

The portions listed are the minimum amounts required by the infant feeding regulations. You may serve larger portions to those babies who would like more.

4. Why is fruit juice not required or creditable at breakfast, lunch and supper?

The use of fruit juice, in addition to the required amount of formula or milk at each meal, would be too much liquid and could discourage the baby from eating solids.

5. When parents provide an infant formula that does not meet the FDA requirements for iron-fortified infant formula, is a medical statement required in order for the caregiver to claim the meal for reimbursement?

Any time an infant is served any formula that does not meet the FDA requirements; a statement from a recognized medical authority must support the substitution.

The type of formula that the parent provides dictates the need for a medical statement. If it meets the FDA requirements for iron-fortified infant formula, then none is required. If the formula provided is any other type of formula, then a medical statement is required.

6. Can infants less than four months of age be claimed for reimbursement?

Yes, a meal containing iron-fortified infant formula provided by the parent or provider, or the infant is breast-fed and the breast milk has been expressed or the mother is the provider may be claimed if served by the provider. However, once semisolid foods are introduced to the infant’s diet, the provider must provide and serve at least one additional food component in order to be reimbursed.

7. Are low-iron formulas creditable?

Yes, but only if a signed medical statement from the infant’s physician is on file stating the reason the infant may not have iron-fortified infant formulas and listing the formulas to be substituted.



8. Can infants less than eight months of age be claimed if on whole milk instead of iron-fortified infant formula or breast milk?

No, unless a medical statement is on file.

9. Can fortified adult cereals be substituted for the iron-fortified dry infant cereal for older infants (8 months of age)?

No, adult cereals do not provide infants with the same kind of easily absorbed iron as the iron-fortified infant cereals do. In addition, adult cereals often contain added sugar or salt. USDA requires iron-fortified infant cereal up to the infant’s first birthday to claim the infant’s meal for reimbursement. Iron-fortified infant cereal is a requirement at breakfast; however, at lunch and supper, iron-fortified cereal is optional. Note that cereal is iron-fortified on the menu.

10. Beech Nut has a product called a “dessert” which contains only apples, apple concentrate with water added, cinnamon and Vitamin C. There is no added sugar. Is this product creditable in the CACFP?

No, the Beech Nut product labeled as a “dessert” is not reimbursable in the CACFP.

Commercial baby foods in the dessert category, those generally having “dessert” or “pudding” as part of the product name on the front of the label, which list a fruit as the first ingredient in the ingredient listing are not reimbursable meal components in the CACFP.

11. Is there a transition period for babies over 12 months to switch from formula to whole milk that does not require a medical statement?

Yes, there is a 1 month transition time from the date the infant turns 12 months to 13 months, in which formula can still be served without a note from a medical authority.

After the age of 13 months a statement from a recognized medical authority must be on file if formula will continue to be served.


Use this checklist as a reminder when planning menus. Remember, menus must meet the Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Requirements in order to be reimbursed for those meals or snacks.

Have you included all components of the meal?

 Are portion sizes sufficient to provide children the required quantity?

 Are the combinations of foods pleasing and acceptable to children?

 Do meals include a good balance of: Color, Texture, Shape and Flavor  Do meals balance out over a week’s time to follow the US Dietary guidelines?

 Have you included foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron?

 Have you included fiber-rich foods?

 Have you considered children’s cultural and ethnic food practices?

 Are foods varied from day-to-day, week-to week?

 Do you prepare foods in different ways?

 Have you included different kinds or forms of foods (fresh, canned, dried)?

 Have you included seasonal foods?

 Do you serve special menus for holidays or theme days?

 Do you review your cycle menus for seasonal changes?


Serve foods lower in salt, fat, and sugar.

Enhance flavors with spices, herbs or lemon juice instead of with salt or fat.

Try more whole grain products and fruits and vegetables for snack.

Use canned fruit packed in its own juice, light syrup or water, rather than in heavy syrup.

Serve dried fruits such as raisins and prunes occasionally, since they stick to children’s teeth and promote tooth decay.

Serve whole grain breads and cereals whenever possible to add fiber.

Avoid serving highly processed foods such as hot dogs and bologna, which are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Bake, broil or steam foods instead of pan-frying or deep-frying them.

Serve lean meats, trim visible fat and drain grease from meat.

Serve foods high in vitamin A, C and Iron frequently.



1. Usually the meat or vegetarian entrée is planned first to complement other foods.

However, a newer “school of thought” is to de-emphasize the meats in our diets.

Instead, plan the vegetables and “garnish” with a meat dish.

 Balance high cost entrees with low cost vegetables, fruits, grains/breads.

Balance low cost entrees with higher cost vegetables, grains/breads (starches) and fruit.

2. Choose grains/breads, fruits and vegetables to complement the entrée. The foods need to have variety in form and in temperature (i.e., cooked vs. raw).

 Size and shape are important. Young children like finger foods. Try round or oval, stick, and cube shapes, quarter-cut sandwiches, fancy cookie cutters, and carrot curls (as time and energy allow).

3. Color is critical.

 Children prefer bright colors (green, orange, yellow, and red are favorites).

 No one likes a meal that is all one color.

 Try to use at least two colorful foods at each meal for visual appeal.

4. Texture needs to be considered too.

 Serve a variety of textures at each meal: one soft food, one crispy, one chewy.

 Dry foods are often difficult for children to eat.

 Gravies and sauces help make dry or tough foods, such as some meats, easier to eat. Use low-fat varieties to add flavor.

5. Flavor is essential.

 Children generally prefer mild and sweet flavors.

6. Familiarity is important: children prefer familiar foods. Introduce new foods in small amounts, possibly as “extra” additions to a meal.

7. Remember to coordinate snacks with the overall meal to avoid repetition of foods.

 School age children enjoy a set time period for self-service snacks. It is more family-like, and helps ease the transition from school to after-school care.

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 Have a positive attitude toward foods and the mealtime experience.

Remember, a negative attitude expressed by adults and children may influence other children not to try that food.

 When introducing new foods to children, serve a small amount of the new food along with more popular and familiar foods.

 Include children in food activities to encourage children to try new foods and also to gain self-confidence.

 Serve finger foods such as meat or cheese cubes, vegetable sticks or fruit chunks.

Foods cut smaller are easier for children to handle.

 Do not force a child to eat. Children often go through food jags. It is normal for a child to ask for second helpings of food one day yet eat very lightly the next day.

 Provide a comfortable atmosphere at mealtime. Mealtime is also a social activity. Therefore, allow children to talk with others.

 Encourage children to eat food or new foods in a low-key way. For instance, read a book about a new food that will be served that day, and serve the new food at snack when children are hungrier.

 Offer new foods to children five or six times instead of only once or twice.

The more exposure children have to a food, the more familiar and comfortable it becomes and the more likely they will be to try the food.

 Offer the new food first to a child who eats most foods. Children will usually follow other children and try the food.

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