Skip to content

Meal Pattern Minute: Sugar Limits in Breakfast Cereal

October 20, 2023

Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are delicious grains that are good to eat at breakfast and snack! There are so many different types of cereals one could choose from such as puffs, squares, and rounds. Each cereal brand may even come with different flavors like cinnamon, strawberry, and chocolate. But can you choose any breakfast cereal when serving it in the Child and Adult Care Food Program? Do we need to pay attention to the total sugars found on the Nutrition Facts Label? 


Get your answer with Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, where she states the regulation associated with breakfast cereals and sugar limits in the CACFP. 


Below you will find more resources to help you determine if your ready-to-eat breakfast cereal is creditable in the CACFP.  

  • Grain Requirements in the CACFP: Questions and Answers 
    • Breakfast cereals served to infants, children, and adults must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce (21.2 grams of sugar per 100 grams of dry cereal) (7 CFR 226.20(a)(4)(ii)). Breakfast cereals include ready-to-eat cereals and instant and hot cereals. As a reminder, both infant cereals and ready-to-eat cereals must be iron-fortified to be reimbursable in the infant meal pattern. Breakfast cereals must meet the sugar limit and be made from enriched or whole grain meal or flour, or be fortified, to be creditable in the CACFP.
  • Identifying Cereal Sugar Limits
    • Cereals can come in all different sized packaging and the Nutrition Facts Label may differ on serving size. This resource provides three quick methods to identify if your cereal meets the sugar limits.  
  •  Choose Breakfast Cereals That Are Lower in Added Sugars
    • This free webinar walks you through Team Nutrition’s “How to Choose Breakfast Cereals Lower in Added Sugars” training worksheet and lets you look at various cereals to see if they meet meal pattern requirements. 
  •  Whole Grain-Rich Quick Guide 
    • Are you serving breakfast cereal as the whole grain-rich component for that day? Review the National CACFP Sponsors Association handout called, “Whole Grain-Rich Quick Guide.” This will help you quickly decide if the breakfast cereal is whole-grain rich.  

 Recipe Snack Idea: Make a trail mix with your creditable breakfast cereal(s) and mix it with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit!


Want to share this video on Facebook? Click here, and then you'll find three icons along the right side of the screen. Click on the arrow, and you'll be able to choose whether you want to share it to your feed or to a group. You can also include a short note about why this Meal Pattern Minute is so important! Click on the "Post" button when you're finished, and that's it!