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 recommendations, 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).

  • Afterschool Snack Meal Pattern - 5/13/19
    The Afterschool Snack Meal Pattern provides a nutritional boost to children and teenagers.
  • Infant Meal Pattern - 4/22/19
    This chart includes the required food components and minimum amounts for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served to infants 0-11 months of age. Document available for printing in grayscale.
  • Child Meal Pattern - 4/22/19
    This chart includes the required food components and minimum amounts for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served to children 1-18 years of age. Document available for printing in grayscale.
  • Adult Meal Pattern - 4/18/19
    This chart includes the required food components and minimum amounts for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served to adult care center participants. Document available for printing in grayscale.
  • Offer Versus Serve in Adult Care (15 minutes) - 7/13/17
    This training discusses menu planning and meal service to meet OVS guidelines for the Adult Meal Pattern.

Forms and Guidance


V - Food - Chicken Fajitas
Helping Programs Successfully Plan Meals

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