Meal Patterns

The CACFP meal patterns are based on the recommendations by the National Academy of Medicine and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has issued the CACFP meal pattern requirements only twice; in 1968, when the CACFP program began, and again in 2017.

Under these standards, meals and snacks served include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. In addition, the meal patterns support serving human milk to infants and children at any age as well as encourages breastfeeding. In Minnesota, when food is provided by licensed child care centers, the meals and snacks served to infants and children must comply with the CACFP meal pattern requirements of the USDA (Code of Federal Regulations, title 7, section 226.20).

Meal Pattern-effective October 1, 2017

Forms and Guidance

  •  pdf iconPDF  - 11/6/17
    Summary of the new CACFP meal pattern changes, effective October 1, 2017.
  • New Meal Pattern Training Tools for the Child and Adult Care Food Program  - 1/8/18
    Staff training made easy. PowerPoints, videos and handouts on the new meal patterns.

V - Food - Chicken Fajitas
Helping Programs Successfully Plan Meals

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