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Meal Pattern Minute: Almond Milk as a Fluid Milk Substitute

September 27, 2022

Parents or guardians of participants might request that their child be served almond milk instead of cow's milk, either because of a medical reason or simply for preference. Are you able to serve almond milk and have it reimbursed in the Child and Adult Care Food Program? Our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, is here to answer this common question with a Meal Pattern Minute.


After you've watched the video, here are some additional things to remember about this rule, which you can find in the Fluid Milk section of the Crediting Handbook for the CACFP:

  • The nutrient profile for cow's milk is as such per 8 fluid ounces: Calcium (276 mg), protein (8 g), Vitamin A (500 IU), Vitamin D (100 IU), magnesium (24 mg), phosphorus (222 mg), potassium (349 mg), riboflavin (.44 mg) and Vitamin B-12 (1.1 mcg). A milk substitute must meet all of these nutrient requirements in order to be reimbursed without needing a medical statement from a licensed health care professional.
  • Most almond milk does not meet the nutrient profile of cow's milk, but there are other non-dairy beverages that do, such as some soy milks. If the participant's parent or guardian is simply requesting a non-dairy beverage and not specifically almond milk, there are reimbursable options that would only require a written request from a parent or guardian and not a medical statement.

For more information on milk substitutions in the CACFP, check out these resources:


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