Meal Pattern Requirements

IMPORTANT - Meal Pattern Changes

USDA has released the new Meal Patterns! They have a greater emphasis on serving whole grains and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables as well as reducing the amount of added sugars. These changes are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, child care providers all over the United States and others. These are the first significant changes since the program began in 1968!

What you need to know:

1.  The implementation date for the new meals patterns is not until next year – October 1, 2017.

2.  No changes can be implemented until further guidance is provided by USDA, DPI, and 4-C CACFP.

Below are the comparisons of the current and new meal patterns. Even though you can’t start getting reimbursed for serving the new meal patterns, there are lots of things you can start including in your daily practices now, to get ahead of the game, such as:

  • If you wish to keep some of the components in your weekly menus that won’t be creditable with the new meal patterns (cookies, bars, donuts, flavored milk, juice, etc.) – it doesn’t mean you can’t serve them, it simply means they can’t be part of the meal pattern. Serve these at a snack you’re not claiming.
  • Start introducing whole grains to the children by slowly transitioning them in.
    • If a child is used to their sandwich on white bread - start the transition by making zebra sandwiches (one piece of bread while bread and one piece of bread whole grain).
    • Mix whole grain pasta and enriched pasta in a dish
  • Lunch/dinner start serving a fruit and vegetable or two vegetables
  • Make at least 1 of the 2 required components of a snack a vegetable or a fruit
  • Start investigating WIC approved cereals

Current Meal Pattern Requirements

New Meal Pattern Requirements Comparison:

Stay tuned--More information and training to come!