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Meal Pattern Minute: Crediting Bean/Pea Noodles as Meat/Meat Alternate

February 16, 2024

Walking down the grocery store aisles or searching online for your foodservice products, you might come across a variety of different types of noodles to serve those in your care. Several types of unique pastas one might find are black bean spaghetti, chickpea penne, and red lentil rotini. In the Child and Adult Care Food Program, whole beans and peas are creditable as either a vegetable or meat/meat alternate component in a meal type, but can they credit as a meat/meat alternate in pasta form? 

 Tune in to Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, as she gives the answer to this answer and what additional documentation you might need if creditable. As a reminder, always talk to your sponsoring organization or State agency for additional confirmation. 


More information about this topic can be found at the links provided below. 

  • Memorandum: Crediting Pasta Products Made of Vegetable Flour in the Child Nutrition Programs
    • Pasta Products Made of 100 Percent Legume Flour(s) Crediting as a Meat Alternate
    • The crediting change discussed above aims to increase options for local program operators to meet vegetable requirements; therefore, this crediting change does not remove the visual recognition requirement for legume pasta crediting toward the meat/meat alternate component.
    • Consistent with legumes crediting, ½ cup of cooked pasta made of 100 percent legume flour(s) may credit as 2 ounce equivalents of meat alternate. To credit as a meat alternate, pasta made of legume flour(s) must be offered with additional meat/meat alternate, such as tofu, cheese, or meat. At the discretion of local menu planners, legumes may credit as a vegetable or a meat alternate, but not as both in the same meal [7 CFR 210.10(c)(2)(i)(F)(iii)].
    • Alternatively, manufacturers and program operators may credit legume flour pasta using the Bean Flour yield information on page C-1 ofAppendix C, and by using the crediting principles detailed in the Manufacturer’s Product Formulation Statement (PFS) section of the CN Labeling Program website.
  • Crediting Handbook for CACFP 
    • Review the meat/meat alternate section and look for the food item called, pasta/noodles (made from beans/peas). Pasta/noodles made from beans/peas are creditable if a serving provides at least a 0.25 oz eq of meat/meat alternate. It must be offered with additional meat/meat alternate, such as tofu, cheese, or meat. Document meal pattern contribution with a CN label or a Product Formulation Statement. 
  •  Crediting Meats/Meat Alternates in the Child Nutrition Programs Tip Sheet 
    • Pasta or noodles made from 100 percent bean/legume flour to credit as a MA, it must be served with an additional visible M/MA of at least 0.25 oz eq per serving. For example, 0.25 oz eq cheese sprinkled over the pasta. It can also be credited as a vegetable, but not as both a vegetable and MA in the same meal. If using this type of pasta or noodle, a ¼ cup cooked equals 1 oz eq in the meat/meat alternate component.

 Important Information 

If using the bean/legume pasta or noodles in a dish, remember you will still need a grain component at lunch/supper.  


Try one of these meal ideas to add to your menu. 

  • Curly Bean Pasta Lunch 
    • Red lentil rotini 
    • Cannellini beans 
    • Tomato pasta sauce 
    • Sliced peaches 
    • Bread stick 
    • Milk 


  • Creamy Bow Tie Pasta Salad 
    • Chickpea bow tie pasta with cheese cubes, peas, and creamy sauce 
    • Baby carrots 
    • Whole wheat crackers 
    • Strawberries 
    • Milk 


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