Crediting Popcorn in Child Nutrition Programs
This memorandum provides guidance on crediting popcorn in child nutrition programs. Previously, popcorn could not contribute to any component in the meal patterns, but could be served as an "extra" food. Based on stakeholder feedback, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is updating CNP food crediting guidance to allow popcorn to credit as a whole grain.
CACFP operators now may credit:
- ¾ cup (or 0.25 ounces (7 grams)) popped popcorn as ¼ ounce equivalent of whole grains in a reimbursable meal or snack.
- 1 ½ cups (or 0.5 ounces (14 grams)) popped popcorn as ½ ounce equivalent of whole grains in a reimbursable meal or snack.
- 3 cups (or 1.0 ounce (28 grams)) popped popcorn as 1 ounce equivalent of whole grains in a reimbursable meal or snack.
Why It Matters
Popcorn is a whole grain food and a good source of fiber. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identify dietary fiber as an “underconsumed nutrient” and a “nutrient of public health concern,” meaning most children and adults do not consume enough dietary fiber and that low intakes of dietary fiber are associated with health issues. Expanding food crediting in the CNPs to include popcorn, a budget-friendly, whole grain item that is particularly popular with children, could help address these concerns.