Serving Children that are Vegetarian in the CACFP
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So, some of your participants are vegetarian. Not a problem, there are vegetarian dishes that all children can enjoy! Plus, many meat alternates are a cost-effective protein source. Our partners at the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) have some great resources for serving vegetarian menus that fit into the CACFP meal pattern.
Types of Vegetarians
There are many distinct types of vegetarian diets and knowing each one can help you make the necessary changes based on a child’s dietary requirements.
How to Serve Vegetarians in the CACFP
Use the table above and work with families to determine what a child can and cannot eat based on their diet. In most instances, you should be able to replace meats with meat alternatives at mealtime. For example, when serving spaghetti noodles with meat sauce, a vegetarian child could be served noodles with meatless sauce and a serving of mozzarella cheese on top.
If a child doesn’t drink cow’s milk, you can serve nondairy milk that is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk. Many soy milks meet these criteria. More information on alternative milk options can be found in the crediting handbook.
Looking for Tasty Vegetarian Recipes?
For even more resources, check out NCA's vegetarian recipes!