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Meal Pattern Minute: Chestnuts

September 15, 2023

There are many foods that are creditable in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, but sometimes you come across a food that you are not sure about, especially those that you might use for special occasions or around the holidays such as roasted chestnuts during the winter months. But do chestnuts credit towards the CACFP meal pattern as a meat/meat alternate? 


Tune in to this Meal Pattern Minute where Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, talks about why chestnuts may or may not be credited in the CACFP meal pattern.  


Do you need resources to help you determine creditable and non-creditable meat/meat alternate foods in the CACFP? There are a couple of resources to help you determine if a food item can be part of a reimbursable meal or snack. 

The Crediting Handbook for CACFP is a reliable resource to have when wondering if a food is creditable or not in the CACFP. They have creditable columns that indicate yes, maybe, or no if a food can be served and credited towards the meal pattern. Additional comments help the CACFP provider understand why a food may or may not be credited. For example, if you look up chestnut in this handbook under the meats/meat alternates section, you will see that it is not creditable and explains that “Chestnuts credit as 1 oz eq meat alternate per 1 oz of nuts. Note that chestnuts are not in the Food Buying Guide.”  


The USDA Food Buying Guide is an interactive online tool that can help you search and navigate information on foods that are creditable along with their yield information. The database is being updated on a regular basis with creditable foods for the Child Nutrition program. If you search for chestnuts in the FBG, you will only find water chestnuts, which are creditable as a vegetable component in the CACFP but not the same thing as chestnuts. And as you noted when reading the Crediting Handbook, chestnuts will not be found in the FBG at this time but are creditable in the CACFP as a meat/meat alternate. 

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