Meal Pattern Minute: Crediting Leafy Greens
July 7, 2022
The USDA recommends that providers include a variety of vegetables each week from all of the subgroups - dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy and other vegetables. It also recommends offering green salads when possible. Both of these recommendations are easily met by incorporating leafy greens into your Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern. Some of the leafy greens that you might already serve include lettuce, cabbage, spinach and kale, but this group also includes bok choy, chard, chicory, cilantro, collard greens, endive, mustard greens, parsley and watercress.
Serving leafy greens does come with one important crediting rule in the CACFP. Hear all about it in this Meal Pattern Minute with our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD.
After you've watched the video, here are some additional things to remember about this flexibility, which you can find in the Vegetables and Fruits section of the Crediting Handbook for the CACFP:
- When serving leafy greens, or any vegetable for that matter, one vegetable does not have to make up the entirety of the vegetable component, as long as the minimum serving size of 1/8 cup for each vegetable is met.
- Because the minimum serving of vegetables in the CACFP is 1/8 cup, the minimum serving of leafy greens is 1/4 cup.
- For example, when serving a lunch/supper vegetable component to a 3-5 year old, which is 1/4 cup, you could serve 1/4 cup of leafy greens (which credits as 1/8 cup vegetable) along with 1/8 cup of a different vegetable and have it credit as the full 1/4 cup serving for the component.
For more information on serving vegetables in the CACFP, check out these resources from USDA:
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