CACFP- Whole Grains VS Refined Grains
Active, growing children have high-energy needs, and a great source of energy is grains. Grains provide energy from complex carbohydrates. When children eat a balanced diet filled with whole-grains, the brain uses what it needs for energy and stores the remaining amount for later use.
Grains are divided into two groups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains
contain the entire grain kernel. This kernel or seed is made up of the following three parts bran, germ, endosperm. Whole grains are filled with essential nutrients that fuel the body. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been milled to remove the bran and germ. Milling gives grains a finer texture and extends their shelf life. It also removes up to 90% of the nutrients, such as iron, dietary fiber, and many B vitamins. Although most refined grains are enriched with iron, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, whole grains are naturally more nutritious.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requires that grains must be made from whole-grain or enriched meal or flour. At least one whole-grain must be whole-grain-rich each day in child care settings. At least one serving of grains must be 100% whole-grain, or at least 50% whole-grain and the remaining grains are enriched. The grain group includes many foods, such as whole-grain or enriched rice, cereal, pasta, breads, and bread products, such as waffles, muffins, and crackers.
Tips for Great Grain Choices
There are many options for selecting grains for good health. Keep these tips in mind as you choose grains for your child care setting.
Make half of your grains whole-grain:
• Offer whole-grain bread products more often.
• Look for the words whole-grain, whole-wheat, brown rice, or other whole-grain terms in the ingredient listing on the product label.
Vary grain choices:
Reduce fat, salt, and sugar in grains:
Use whole-grain breads and serve plain or with a light spread of jelly or jam instead of margarine or butter.
Below you will find a “Whole grains or refined grains” poster that you can use for your reference or print off for your parents.
Institute of Child Nutrition. (2019). CACFP meal pattern requirements training. University, MS: Author.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2017). CACFP 16-2017: Grain-Based Desserts in
the Child and Adult Care Food Program. https://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/grain-based-desserts-child-andadult-
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2020). Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/child-and-adult-care-food-program
Grab and go lesson ICN Selecting Grains for Good Health Nutrition and Meal Management Nutrition Needs
Institute of Child Nutrition. (2014). Family child care fundamentals. University, MS: Author.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). Choose MyPlate. www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tipschoosing-whole-grain-foods
© 2020, Institute of Child Nutrition, The University of Mississippi, School of Applied Sciences
As you prepare to meet the new requirements for grains on Oct 1, 2021, we have attached a USDA worksheet for you to use in scratch baking meal planning. We know many of you enjoy making special grain items for your kids. This handout will help you:
A. Practice with a homemade grains worksheet
B. Show to weigh one serving of the grain item
Keep in mind that regulations require the following:
Serving Meals with WGR Foods
Each day, at least one meal or snack must include a whole grain rich food. If your program serves:
One meal (breakfast, lunch or supper), the grain must be WGR.
One snack, if one of the two components is a grain item, it must be WGR.
More than one meal or snack (breakfast, lunch and snack), you may choose which meal to serve the WGR food.
All breakfast cereals must be whole grain, enriched or fortified & must contain no more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce.
Printing off the grains conversion chart and the worksheet will help you calculate those yummy baked items for your kids so you can have them on file. Also you can go to the websites listed to find further information.
As you know, starting October 1, 2021 meal planners must use ounce equivalents to determine the amount of credible grain served as a part of a reimbursable meal or snack.
This month we have provided a USDA worksheet for you to use in your meal planning. It will help you:
Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Program (FBG):foodbuyingguide.fns.usda.gov
Starting October 1, 2021 meal planners must use ounce equivalents to determine the amount of creditable grain served a part of a reimbursable meal or snack.
Stay ahead of the deadline and start working on your menus now calculating the change. Here are some resources from the USDA to help you get started.
These two pages from USDA will help you get started. They will go in depth with IW packages, actual pictures of pieces for size, weight in grams & ounces, reading labels, different age groups, and how to calculate the ounce equivalents for each grain item on your menus.
Here is the memo from USDA https://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/fr-092519
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