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Meal Pattern Minute: Serving Nuts & Seeds

June 28, 2022

Nuts and seeds credit towards the meat/meat alternate component in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and are good sources of protein and other nutrients. But can you serve nuts and seeds for the entire component during a meal or snack?

Our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, is here to fill you in on the details in this Meal Pattern Minute.


After you've watched the video, here are some additional things to remember, which you can find in the Meats/Meat Alternates section of the Crediting Handbook for the CACFP:

  • While nuts and seeds have limitations on how much can be served during meals, nut and seed butters may credit towards the entire meat/meat alternate component.
  • Remember to be cognizant of any intolerances or allergies, and be mindful of choking hazards. The USDA advises caution when serving nuts and seeds to children under 4 and some elderly participants.
  • Nuts and seeds have a 1:1 ounce equivalent ratio, meaning that 1 ounce of nuts or seeds credits for 1 ounce of meat/meat alternate.
  • Two tablespoons of nut or seed butter provide 1 ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternate.
  • Soy nuts may also credit towards the vegetable component, but cannot credit as both vegetable and meat/meat alternate at the same time. A 1/4 cup of roasted soy beans credits as 1 oz eq meat alternate or a 1/4 cup vegetable.


For more information on serving meats/meat alternates in the CACFP, check out these resources from USDA:


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