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Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All
meal composites and the menus were evaluated for cost and correspondence with the nutrient targets. The menus were also evaluated for acceptability and practicality. This resulted in some changes in the preliminary Meal Requirements. The end product of this iterative process was a set of recommendations for CACFP Meal Requirements.
ESTABLISHING CALORIE AND NUTRIENT TARGETS
The committee developed targets for calories and 24 nutrients and other dietary components for each of the seven specified age groups. These targets served as a guide for developing the new Meal Requirements and helped ensure that they would align well with the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) (IOM, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002/2005, 2005) and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines (HHS/USDA, 2005). In setting the targets, the committee used the approach developed and implemented by the School Meals committee (IOM, 2010). As described below, different approaches were used to develop targets for (1) calories, (2) nutrients with Estimated Average Requirements (EARs), (3) nutrients with Adequate Intakes (AIs), and (4) macronutrients. The targets vary by age group and eating occasion.
Estimated Energy Requirements
Before nutrient targets could be set for CACFP meals and snacks, it was essential to determine appropriate calorie targets. To do this, the committee first estimated the average daily energy requirements of several age groups of children and adults served by CACFP (see Chapter 3, Table 3-3). The committee used rounded overall means in setting calorie targets for specific meals and snacks and in other calculations related to the Meal Requirements. Of necessity, these calorie levels will be too high for some subgroups (mainly adolescent and older adult females) and too low for others. In using the overall mean, the committee sought to achieve a satisfactory balance between these two extremes, recognizing that gender-specific calorie targets are impractical for use in a group feeding program. As explained in the section “Food Intakes” in Chapter 5, adults ages 19 years and older were considered a single group with a daily calorie target of 2,000 calories per day. Likewise, the 5–10- and 11–13-year age groups were combined, and a mean calorie level of 1,900 calories per day was used in the analyses.
Distribution of Calories Across Eating Occasions
As a first step in setting target calorie levels for CACFP meals and snacks, the committee analyzed data from the National Health and Nutri-