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Meal Pattern Minute: Substituting Cheese By Volume

January 12, 2024

When developing recipes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, there are times when you may not have enough of a creditable ingredient. Sometimes the only option may be to substitute the ingredient for another creditable ingredient, but do they always credit the same when measured at the same volume? For example, what happens when you substitute 1 cup of shredded cheese for 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese in a recipe? Will you get the same ounce equivalency? 

 Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, answers this specific question about substituting cheeses. Keep in mind that all creditable ingredients should be reviewed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Buying Guide for guidance. 

 Visit the resource page for the USDA's interactive Food Buying Guide.  Here you will receive information about how to easily search, navigate and display content while using the Food Buying Guide. There are free webinars available to help you further understand how to use this tool. 

 Other resources to help you develop recipes are listed below. 

  • Crediting Recipes in the CACFP 
    • This free, fillable recipe template can help you determine the creditable components of your recipes. Following the four steps outlined in this worksheet and using the resources provided, you will be able to make #CACFPCreditable recipes at any time! 
  • Standardized Recipes (Free Webinar)
    • Using standardized recipes can help to ensure your recipe turns out the same way each time you make it. It is a good practice to use a standardized recipe when a menu item has two or more components. That’s why our partners at the Institute for Child Nutrition made these resources on creating a standardized recipe for simple menu items.  
  • How to Credit Recipes in the CACFP (Webinar)
    • Maybe you love to develop delicious recipes, or a parent has shared one of their family favorites, but you are not sure how to make it creditable in the CACFP. Learn key tips and methods on how to evaluate recipes to ensure they are #CACFPCreditable as we guide you through our recipe crediting worksheet. 
  • Crediting Recipes in the CACFP for Centers (Webinar)
    • Learn how to evaluate and scaleup recipes while ensuring they are CACFP creditable. Become confident in developing your own #CACFPCreditable recipes to make and serve to those in your care. 


Try one of these #CACFPCreditable recipes where cheese is used to credit as the meat/meat alternate. 

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