Crediting Tempeh in Child Nutrition Programs
This memorandium provides guidance on crediting tempeh in the child nutrition programs. Tempeh is a highly nutritious fermented soybean cake traditionally made from whole soybeans. Although mature beans have traditionally been credited as a meat alternate in the CNPs, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has not previously issued guidance on crediting tempeh. Based on stakeholder feedback, FNS is updating CNP food crediting guidance to explain how to credit tempeh as a meat alternate.
Program operators now many credit 1 ounce of tempeh as 1 ounce equivalent of meat alternate. This method of crediting applies to tempeh with ingredients limited to soybeans (or other legumes), water, tempeh culture, and for some varieties, vinegar, seasonings, and herbs.
Why It Matters
Tempeh is used as a meat alternate in a variety of recipes, including stir-fries, sandwiches, and salads. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) identify soy products as protein foods, and a good source of copper, manganese, and iron. A key recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines is to consume a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products. As commenters noted, providing a straightforward crediting method for tempeh provides improved access to an additional vegetarian option, allowing program operators to diversify menus to meet the dietary needs of participants with vegetarian preferences or dietary restrictions for cultural or religious reasons.