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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. 


Here are a few webinars to give you more information on creditable meat alternates in the CACFP. 

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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