Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

TABLE S-1 Recommended Age Groups for CACFP Meal Patterns

Age Group

Age Rangea


0–5 months

6–11 months


1 year

2–4 years

5–13 yearsb

14–18 yearsb


19 years and older

aAge ranges are inclusive; e.g., ages 0–5 months includes ages 0 through 5 months.

bThe committee recognizes that children older than 12 years ordinarily are eligible only for the at-risk afterschool program, but migrant children are eligible through age 15 years, and youths in shelters are eligible to age 18 years.

Process to Develop Recommendations

An iterative process was used to develop recommendations for revised CACFP Meal Requirements. The first step was to set key parameters, including age groups and total daily calorie requirements. Then the current intakes of individuals in these age groups were evaluated by comparison to standards for food groups and nutrient intakes. This was done to identify food and nutrient intakes of concern. Next, nutrient and food group intake targets for CACFP were developed, taking into account the identified nutritional needs of the CACFP population. Finally, meal patterns and food specifications were developed to be used as the basis of the recommended Meal Requirements for CACFP. This last step was repeated until the new Meal Requirements aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the DRIs.

As a part of this process, the committee considered the five criteria in Box S-1 and the unique aspects of the program. Importantly, the committee gave consideration to the practicality and cost of implementing revisions to the program in the different types of settings in which CACFP operates.

Age Groups

The age groups for which patterns are recommended are similar to those currently used by CACFP, although some changes have been made for the younger children to correspond to recent dietary guidance. See Table S-1 for the recommended age groups.


As structured by the committee, the recommended Meal Requirements encompass two distinct elements: meal patterns and food specifications.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement