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Meal Pattern Minute: Soy Milk Beverages

March 22, 2024

When serving milk in the Child and Adult Food Program, a parent may request you to serve a milk alternate such as soy milk to their child. If this request is not due to a disability and only a preference by the parents for other reasons, you may choose to serve soy milk if it is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk. As you go shopping for soy milk, there are many types out there! Are all soy milk beverages created equally? 

 Take a minute to find out with Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, discusses this question in this Meal Pattern Minute. 

Want more resources to help you reach the correct decision on soymilk beverages? Review the USDA memo, handouts, and webinar below to guide you further.  

  • Nutrition Requirements for Fluid Milk and Fluid Milk Substitutions in the CACFP, Q&As
    • For children or adults who cannot consume fluid milk due to non-disability medical or other special dietary needs, non-dairy beverages may be served in place of fluid milk. This has been in effect since Sept. 15, 2011 and allows the CACFP to better serve the dietary needs of its participants. Non-dairy beverages must be nutritionally equivalent to milk and meet the nutritional standards for fortification of calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other nutrients to levels found in cow’s milk. The nutrient standards for non-dairy beverages are outlined in the CACFP regulations at 7 CFR 226.20(g)(3). As stated above, non-dairy beverages served to children 1 through 5 years old must be unflavored due to the higher sugar content of flavored varieties.
  •  USDA Crediting Fluid Milk Tip Sheet 
  • Substituting Milk in the CACFP (Member Resource) 
  • Free Webinar: Serving Milk in the CACFP
    • This webinar walks the audience through Team Nutrition’s “Serving Milk in the CACFP” training worksheet and lets the audience select milk for various age groups to meet meal pattern requirements. Presented by USDA Team Nutrition.

CACFP creditable soy milk can be substituted for cow’s milk in the recipes below. 

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