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Improve Nutritional Quality of CACFP Meals and Snacks over Time and in Alignment with Dietary Guidance

Meal Requirement Recommendation 1: USDA should adopt the recommended Meal Requirements for healthy infants up to 1 year of age (shown in Tables 7-1 and 7-8). Key elements of this recommendation are

  • the provision of only breast milk or formula for infants under 6 months of age;

  • the gradual introduction of baby meats, cereals, fruits, and vegetables beginning at age 6 months; and

  • the omission of fruit juice of any type before the age of 1 year.

In addition, for infants 6–11 months of age, when solid foods are introduced, it is recommended to introduce meat as the preferred first solid food to help ensure an iron source for breastfed infants (AAP, 2009; Krebs et al., 2006). Practices that promote breastfeeding should be encouraged.

Meal Requirement Recommendation 2: For all children age 1 year and older and for adults, USDA should adopt Meal Requirements that increase the variety of fruits and vegetables, increase the proportion of whole grains, and decrease the content of solid fats, added sugars, trans fats, and sodium (shown in Tables 7-2 through 7-8). Key elements of this recommendation follow:

  • One fruit and two vegetables are to be served at each lunch and supper meal. Over the course of a 5-day week, different types of vegetables are to be served at each lunch and supper, as follows: dark green vegetables at least twice per week, orange vegetables at least twice/week,1 legumes at least once/week, starchy vegetables no more than twice per week, and other vegetables at least three times per week. Appendix Table H-1 lists vegetables in each vegetable subgroup. Serving sizes are tailored to the age group’s nutritional needs.

  • Fruit rather than fruit juice is to be served at most meals; unsweetened 100 percent juice is allowed only once per day in a serving size tailored to the age group’s needs.

  • Over the course of the week and day, at least half of the grains/


The 2010 Report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (available at: [accessed February 10, 2011]) recommends that tomatoes be moved from the other vegetables group to a new group, red/orange vegetables. If incorporated into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this change will require a minor adjustment to the CACFP weekly vegetable servings to match the new recommendations.

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