Meal Patterns and Nutrition Resources
USDA revised the CACFP meal patterns to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. The changes made were based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scientific recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine, stakeholder input, and cost and practical considerations. Under the revised meal patterns, meals served will include more whole grains, less saturated fat, a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, and less added sugar.
USDA has updated their CACFP Nutrition Standards web page with great resources on the current meal pattern.
Meal and Milk Calculators
- CACFP Milk Calculator (XLSX, 29 KB)
- Meal Component Calculation Workbook (XLSX, 36 KB)
- Non-Dairy Beverage Milk Substitutions
- Non-Dairy Tool - The CACFP Non-Dairy Tool is currently unavailable. It is being updated to reflect the new FDA Daily Values (DVs), which go into effect July 26, 2020. Some companies are already using the new percentages on their package labels, which results in inaccurate values when nutrients are entered in the Non-Dairy Tool. Please send any questions related to allowable non-dairy beverages to the CACFP training team. We are happy to research any specific products to see if they meet the guidelines for non-dairy beverages.
- Potentially Allowable Non-Dairy Beverages
Meal Pattern Menu Checklists
- CACFP Infant Menu Checklist (PDF, 235 KB)
- CACFP Child Menu Checklist (PDF, 225 KB)
- CACFP Adult Menu Checklist (PDF, 198 KB)
Menu Planning Tools
The CACFP Seasonal Menus are designed to inspire programs to use seasonal, locally grown foods when possible. The menus are four-week cycle menus with a breakfast, lunch/supper, and snack. Menus are customizable and contain links to standardized recipes. Your institution can start implementing these healthy seasonal menus in your adult or childcare facility today!
- CACFP Fall Cycle Menu (PDF, 371 KB)
- CACFP Winter Cycle Menu (PDF, 344 KB)
- CACFP Spring Cycle Menu (PDF, 290 KB)
- CACFP Summer Cycle Menu (PDF, 321 KB)
- CACFP Cycle Menu Template (PDF, 514 KB)
The CACFP Seasonal Menus:
- Meet the NEW CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements
- Select healthy meal options
- Offer seasonal and local foods
- Promote NC agriculture
- Utilize standardized recipes
- Offer variety
- Crediting Tofu and Soy Yogurt Products in the CACFP
- Feeding Infants and Meal Pattern Requirements in the CACFP
- Grain Requirements in the CACFP
- Offer Versus Serve and Family Style Meals in the CACFP
- Questions and Answers on the Updated Meal Pattern Requirements for the CACFP (PDF, 252 KB)
- Transition Period for the Updated CACFP Meal Patterns
- Vegetable and Fruit Requirements in the CACFP, Q&A (PDF, 91 KB)
For additional Meal Pattern resources, visit our Resources page.
Last Modified: May 10, 2019