SDE: Crediting Foods in School Nutrition Programs

Crediting Foods in School Nutrition Programs


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CREDITING FOODS
{young children eating lunch} {girl drinking milk} {teens eating school lunch}
The resources below provide guidance on determining whether foods and beverages credit toward the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal patterns for preschoolers (ages 1-4) and grades K-12 in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). For additional information for grades K-12, review the CSDE's Menu Planning Guide for School Meals. For additional information for preschoolers, review the CSDE's Menu Planning Guide for Preschool Meals. For information on crediting foods in the Afterschool Snack Program (ASP), visit the CSDE's ASP webpage.

MILK  |  MEAT/MEAT ALTERNATES  |  VEGETABLES  |  FRUITS  |  GRAINS


  General Crediting Information
  Allowable Documentation   Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling   Product Formulation Statements (PFSs)


MILK
{allowable milk}

Milk must be pasteurized, meet all state and local requirements and contain vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All milk served in public schools must also meet the beverage requirements for milk under Section 10- 221q of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Grades K-12

Breakfast and lunch must include a variety (at least two different choices) of unflavored low-fat (1%) milk, unflavored fat-free milk, or flavored fat-free milk.

Preschool

Preschool meals must include either unflavored low-fat or unflavored fat-free milk.

  Resources


MEAT/MEAT ALTERNATES
{assorted meats and meat alternates}

Creditable meat/meat alternates include cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; cheese; beans and peas (legumes); eggs; nut and seed butters; nuts and seeds; commercial tofu (containing at least 5 grams of protein in 2.2 ounces); yogurt or soy yogurt; and alternate protein products (APPs). At lunch, meat/meat alternates must be served in a main dish or in a main dish and only one other food item. Legumes credit as either meat/meat alternates or vegetables, but not both in the same meal. The serving size of meat/meat alternates refers to the edible portion of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish as served, e.g., cooked lean meat without bone, breading, or other ingredients. To credit toward the meat/meat alternates component, a menu item must provide a minimum of ¼ ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternates. The rest of the minimum daily serving must be met with additional meat/meat alternates.

Grades K-12

At breakfast, schools may substitute 1 ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternates for 1 ounce equivalent of grains after offering the minimum daily grains serving (1 ounce equivalent).

Preschool

Meat/meat alternates may substitute for the entire grains component at breakfast up to three times per week. Yogurt and soy yogurt cannot contain more than 23 grams of total sugars per 6 ounces (no more than 3.83 grams per ounce).

  Resources for Preschool (Ages 1-4)   Resources for All Grades (Preschool and Grades K-12)


VEGETABLES
{assorted vegetables}

Creditable vegetables include fresh, frozen, and canned.
A serving of canned vegetables must be drained. Legumes (cooked dry beans and peas) credit as either vegetables or meat/meat alternates, but not both in the same meal. All vegetables credit based on volume, except raw leafy greens credit as half the volume served (e.g., 1 cup of leafy greens credits as ½ cup of vegetables). To credit toward the vegetables component, a menu item must provide a minimum of 1/8 cup of vegetable. The rest of the minimum daily serving must be met with additional vegetables.

Grades K-12

Lunch menus must include minimum weekly servigns of the five vegetabel subgroups (dark green, red/oranges, beans and peas (legumes), starchy, and other). Vegetables may be substituted for fruits if the weekly menu includes at least two cups from the dark green, red/orange, beans and peas (legumes) or “other” vegetable subgroups. At lunch, the weekly amount of fruit juice cannot exceed half of the weekly fruit offerings. At breakfast, the weekly amount of fruit juice together with vegetable juice (including fruit/vegetable juice blends) cannot exceed half of the weekly fruit offerings. The calculation of the total weekly amount of juice offered in school meals includes 100 percent fruit juice, frozen juice pops made from 100 percent juice, pureed fruits in fruit/vegetable smoothies, and juice from canned fruit served in 100 percent juice, unless the canned fruit is drained. Canned fruit in light syrup or water does not count toward the weekly juice limit.

Preschool

The preschool lunch meal pattern does not require vegetable subgroups. The USDA’s CACFP Best Practices recommends at least one serving per week of dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas (legumes), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Juice credits as the vegetables or fruits component at only one preschool meal or Afterschool Snack Program snack per day.The juice limit includes all fruit and vegetable juice, frozen pops made from 100 percent juice, pureed fruits and vegetables in smoothies, and juice from canned fruit in 100 percent juice. The USDA’s CACFP Best Practices recommends serving whole fruits (fresh, canned, dried, and frozen) more often than juice.



FRUITS
{assorted fruit}

Creditable fruits include fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. Canned fruits must be in light syrup, water, or 100 percent fruit juice. A serving of canned fruit may include the 100 percent juice in which the fruit is packed. All fruits credit based on volume except dried fruit credits as twice the volume served, e.g., ¼ cup of dried fruit counts as ½ cup of the fruits component. To credit toward the fruits component, a menu item must provide a minimum of 1/8 cup of fruit. The rest of the minimum daily serving must be met with additional fruits.

Grades K-12

At lunch, the weekly amount of fruit juice cannot exceed half of the weekly fruit offerings. At breakfast, the weekly amount of fruit juice together with vegetable juice (including fruit/vegetable juice blends) cannot exceed half of the weekly fruit offerings. The calculation of the total weekly amount of juice offered in school meals includes 100 percent fruit juice, frozen juice pops made from 100 percent juice, pureed fruits in fruit/vegetable smoothies, and juice from canned fruit served in 100 percent juice, unless the canned fruit is drained. Canned fruit in light syrup or water does not count toward the weekly juice limit.

Preschool

Juice credits as the vegetables or fruits component at only one preschool meal or Afterschool Snack Program snack per day.The juice limit includes all fruit and vegetable juice, frozen pops made from 100 percent juice, pureed fruits and vegetables in smoothies, and juice from canned fruit in 100 percent juice. Canned fruit in light syrup or water does not count toward the juice limit. The USDA’s CACFP Best Practices recommends serving whole fruits (fresh, canned, dried, and frozen) more often than juice.

  Resources for Grades K-12   Resources for Preschool   Resources for All Grades (Preschool and Grades K-12)


GRAINS
{assorted grains}

To credit toward the grains component, a menu item must provide a minimum of ¼ ounce equivalent of grains. The rest of the minimum daily serving must be met with additional grains.

Grades K-12

All grains must be whole grain-rich (WGR). Cereal grains (e.g., oats, barley, cornmeal, and bulgur) and ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereals and cooked breakfast cereal grains (e.g., oatmeal and cream of wheat) must be whole grain, whole grain-rich (WGR), or fortified. Foods that qualify as WGR for school meals for grades K-12 contain at least 50 percent whole grains, any other grain ingredients must be enriched, and the combined weight of noncreditable grains such as bran or modified food starch must be less than two percent (¼ ounce equivalent) of the product formula. To comply with this limit, noncreditable grains cannot exceed 3.99 grams per serving for groups A-G or 6.99 grams per serving for groups H and I of the USDA's ounce equivalent chart. For more information, see the CSDE's handout, Criteria for Whole Grain-rich Foods for Grades K-12 in the NSLP and SBP.

Preschool (Ages 1-4)

Creditable grains include whole grains, enriched grains, bran, and germ. Cereal grains and RTE breakfast cereals and cooked breakfast cereal grains must be whole grain, WGR, enriched, or fortified, and cannot contain more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce. Except for sweet crackers such as graham crackers and animal crackers, grain-based desserts cannot credit in the preschool meal patterns, e.g., cookies, sweet pie crusts, doughnuts, cereal bars, granola bars, sweet rolls, pastries, toaster pastries, cake, and brownies.

The preschool meal patterns require at least one serving of WGR grains per day, between all meals and Afterschool Snack Program snacks served to preschoolers. The USDA’s CACFP Best Practices recommends at least two servings of WGR grains per day. Foods that qualify as WGR for preschool meals contain at least 50 percent whole grains and any other grain ingredients are enriched. The WGR definition for preschool meals is different from the WGR definition for grades K-12 because it does not include a specific limit for noncreditable grains, but noncreditable grains must still be insignificant. A grain food meets the preschool WGR criteria if a whole grain is the first ingredient (or second after water), and the next two grain ingredients (if any) are whole grains, enriched grains, bran, or germ. A combination food meets the preschool WGR criteria if the first grain ingredient (or second after water) is a whole grain, and the next two grain ingredients (if any) are whole grains, enriched grains, bran, or germ. For more information, see the CSDE's handout, Criteria for Whole Grain-rich Foods for Preschool Meals in the NSLP and SBP.

  Resources for Grades K-12   Resources for Preschool (Ages 1-4)   Resources for All Grades (Preschool and Grades K-12)


CONTACT
CSDE School Nutrition Programs Staff
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education
Child Nutrition Programs
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 504
Hartford, CT 06103-1841
Phone: 860-807-2050
Fax: 860-807-2127


Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)




Content Last Modified on 12/1/2017 11:57:56 AM