Meal Pattern Minute: Meat Alternates
December 15, 2023
When it comes to serving those in your care, there are five food components to serve throughout the day in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. One of those components is the meat/meat alternate. Of course, we know that meats include beef, poultry, pork, and fish but how are the meat alternates selected to be in this component and what are they?
To explain this question, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, talks about why certain plant-based foods and some animal byproducts can be credited as a meat alternate. Please keep in mind that fluid milk, although an animal byproduct, has its own food component an cannot be credited in the meat/meat alternate component.
Looking for resources to help you identify meat alternates and how much to serve at each meal service to meet minimum requirements? Review and bookmark the resources below to find your answers and serve as references as you operate in the CACFP.
- Crediting Meats/Meat Alternates in the Child Nutrition Programs Tip Sheet
- Check out page 3 of this tip sheet to find out how much to serve for a meat alternate to credit in the CACFP.
- Serving Meats and Meat Alternates at Breakfast
- Suggested meat alternates are provided if you want to replace the grain up to 3 times per week with a meat/meat alternate at breakfast.
- Serving Meats and Meat Alternates at Lunch and Supper in the USDA CACFP
- Measurement and crediting information can be found here for meat alternates served at lunch or supper in the CACFP.
Here are a few webinars to give you more information on creditable meat alternates in the CACFP.
- Serving Meat & Meat Alternates at Breakfast
- This webinar focuses on the option to serve meat and meat alternates in place of grains at breakfast up to three times per week for those following CACFP and preschool meal patterns.
- Additional Meat/Meat Alternates Options for CNPs: Crediting Tempeh and Surimi
- The webinar provides an overview of the crediting updates resulting from the Request for Information and provides crediting technical assistance with hands-on practice specifically for tempeh and surimi.
Looking to make your menu with more plant-based meat alternates? Check out this meal pattern minute and blog.
Want to include more meat alternates in your menu? Try one of these recipes below.
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