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Meal Pattern Minute: Cereals and Grain-Based Desserts

July 15, 2023

When looking at foods that may or may not be creditable in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, it can be challenging to figure out which foods would be considered grain-based desserts and therefore not creditable in the CACFP. We know that brownies and cupcakes are grain-based desserts, but when we look at certain breakfast cereals, would these be considered grain-based desserts as well? 


It only takes a minute to find out! Listen to Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, as she answers the question in this Meal Pattern Minute, “Could a breakfast cereal be considered a grain-based dessert?”  


As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the resources they provide, the answer can be found by reviewing the USDA Child Nutrition Program Exhibit A. All products that are considered grain-based desserts are in red font and noted in the footnotes. Exhibit A: Grain Requirements For Child Nutrition Programs . When searching for “ready to eat breakfast cereal (cold, dry), which is found in Group I, it is not written with a red font.  


However, for any breakfast cereal to be creditable in the CACFP, it must meet the sugar limit and grain criteria. For more information on breakfast cereals, review the Food and Nutrition Services Document # CACFP09-2018: Grain Requirements in the Child and Adult Care Food Program: Questions and Answers. 

Grain Requirements in the CACFP: Questions and Answers | Food and Nutrition Service

If you would like to know if a breakfast cereal is creditable, use the resources below to help you determine if the cereal meets the grain and sugar limit requirements. 

Think outside the box when it comes to serving CACFP creditable breakfast cereals. You can try adding  breakfast cereal to a trail mix, smoothie bowl or as a yogurt topping