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Meal Pattern Minute: Full-Strength Juice and Infants

August 25, 2023

Full-strength juice can be served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern for children ages one and up. In the Children and Adult CACFP Meal Pattern, full-strength juice can only be served once per day. But what if you are caring for infants?  Do these same regulations apply when serving infants between the ages of 6 months to 11 months?  


If you have 60 seconds, then listen to Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, on this Meal Pattern Minute where she reveals the answer. 


Where can you find this information when searching for the CACFP regulations on full strength juice? Here are a few resources to check out and save for future references.  

  • The Crediting Fruits in the Child Nutrition Programs Tip Sheet separates out the the different Child Nutrition programs, specifically for full strength juice. Under the CACFP-Infants Meal Pattern, Fruit and vegetable juices must not be served. 
  •  Review this policy memo from March 23, 2017, CACFP 09-2017 Vegetables and Fruit Requirements in the CACFP: Q&As. Starting Oct. 1, 2017, the updated infant CACFP meal pattern also prohibits child care centers and day care homes from providing juice to infants as part of a reimbursable meal. This prohibition is consistent with the recommendations of the National Academy of Medicine and American Heart Association of no juice before the age of one. 
  •   For many of your infant meal pattern questions, USDA has a detailed guide called Feeding Infants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. This guide will help child care providers understand the CACFP meal pattern requirements. It also includes best practices for feeding babies in a way that supports their growth and development. Regarding juice there are several areas in this guide referencing this regulation. One reference in Chapter 5: Feeding a Baby Using a Bottle and Cup, it says Juice, even 100% juice, does not credit towards a reimbursable meal or snack in the CACFP infant meal pattern. Doctors recommend not giving juice to children under 12 months of age.
  •  Looking for some infant meal pattern food combinations? We've developed a Sample Infant Menu to help you get started on foods you could serve that are reimbursable in the CACFP. 

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