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Meal Pattern Minute: Crediting Pickles

March 9, 2023

Pickles are a great addition to many meals and snacks. There are a variety of pickled cucumbers found in the grocery store or with other food vendors such as dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, sweet pickles, kosher pickles, and gherkins.  They can be served as spears, in rounds, or whole, making sure they are cut & served to the age-appropriate size to those in your care. However, there seems to be some confusion whether a pickle is creditable in the Child and Adult Care Food Program as a vegetable or does it get categorized as a condiment that is not creditable in the CACFP?  

Get the answer by listening to our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, who can explain if pickles are creditable in the CACFP as a vegetable component. 


Find more information on pickles by reviewing the Vegetables section of the Crediting Handbook for the CACFP:, USDA Food Buying Guide, and the USDA Crediting Vegetables in the Child Nutrition Programs Tip Sheet. While pickles can be creditable as a vegetable in the CACFP, keep in mind that pickles can fall under products that DO NOT contribute toward meal pattern requirements when served as a pickle relish. 

  • Crediting Handbook
    • Pickles may be credited if a minimum of an 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) is provided. Please note that most pickles are high in sodium.
    • A serving size example for pickles would be to serve 1/3 (large) pickle which equals ¼ cup of vegetables. 
  • USDA Food Buying Guide
    • Listed in the Food Buying Guide you will find yields for canned pickles as whole gherkins, pickle chips, pickle spears, and whole pickles. 
  • Crediting Vegetables Tip Sheet
    • Products That Do Not Contribute Toward Meal Pattern Requirements 
      • Condiments such as pickle relish, jam, jelly, tomato catsup, or chili sauce (tomato paste is creditable) 
      • Home-canned products (for food safety reasons) 


Pickles can add another layer of flavor to many recipes. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate pickles in your recipes, meals, or snacks. 

  • Add gherkins to a charcuterie board. 
  • Dill pickles go great in a potato & egg salad. 
  • Try bread & butter pickles in a sloppy joe sandwich. 


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