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  • Breakfast: one serving each of milk, fruit or vegetable, and grain or bread (three meal components)

  • Lunch and Supper: one serving each of milk, grain or bread, meat/meat alternate, and two different servings of fruit or vegetable or a combination of fruit and vegetable (four meal components)

  • Snacks: one serving selected from each of two of the four meal components (milk, fruit or vegetable, grain or bread, or meat/meat alternate)—that is, two of the four components.

Serving sizes for children and adults differ by age group, as shown in Table 2-5 for breakfast and in Appendix E for all the other meals and snacks by age group. For children over 12 years of age and adults, the pattern is the same as for children 6–12 years of age with allowance for larger servings. For example, one serving of bread for children ages 1 through 5 years is one-half slice, whereas it is one full slice for children ages 6 through 12 years and may be more for adults. The patterns shown in Table 2-5 and Appendix E include specifications for the types of foods that make up each meal component and the amount of each type of food that represents one serving. Notably, only adult day care centers currently have the option to use the offer versus serve form of food service. In this form of service, participants may refuse to take one or more of the meal components offered to them.

By following the breakfast pattern for children 3–5 years of age, a breakfast menu under the current regulations might include one-third cup

TABLE 2-5 Current Child Meal Patterns for Breakfast: Select All Three Meal Components for a Reimbursable Meal

Meal Components

1–2 Years

3–5 Years

6–12 Yearsa

1 Milk (c)

½

¾

1

1 Fruit/vegetable

 

 

 

Juice,b fruit, and/or vegetable (c)

¼

½

½

1 Grain/breadc

 

 

 

Bread (slice)

½

½

1

Cornbread, biscuit, roll, or muffin (svg)

½

½

1

Cold dry cereal (c)

¼

¾

Hot cooked cereal (c)

¼

¼

½

Pasta noodles, or grains (c)

¼

¼

½

NOTE: c = cup; svg = serving.

aChildren ages 12 years and older may be served larger portions based on their greater needs. They may not be served less than the minimum quantities listed in this column.

bFruit or vegetable juice must be full-strength.

cBreads and grains must be made from whole grain or enriched meal or flour. Cereal must be whole grain or enriched or fortified.

SOURCE: Adapted from USDA/FNS, 2010a.



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