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All Child Nutrition Program meal patterns follow a food-based menu planning approach. This approach requires specific amounts of foods be served daily in accordance with the meal pattern. The specific amounts of foods included in the meal pattern requirements ensure that program participants receive access to a variety of foods each day which contribute to a healthy diet. The meal pattern requirements for each Child Nutrition Program are provided in Charts 1A-5C. For additional guidance please contact your State agency. All updated meal patterns are listed below.
This section contains a variety of information and reference tools, starting with a list of common abbreviations and symbols used.
Also included are tips on portion control and tables showing:
Please see the next section titled “Tables” for a complete list of all tables referenced below.
Common Can and Jar Sizes - per Can
The following tables provide helpful information on 10 common can and jar sizes. Table 2 lists: 1) the average total net weight or fluid measure per can; and 2) the average volume per can. Table 3 gives information on number of cans per case and principal products.
It is important to know:
Substituting Can Sizes
As you plan menus and make purchasing decisions, you may at times want to use a different can size than the ones listed in this guide.
For example, you might have several No. 2 cans of wax beans in your inventory that you want to use. The FBG lists yield information for this product in No. 2-1/2 cans. In the Vegetable yield tables, you will see that for 100 servings of heated, drained vegetable, you need 7.9 No. 2-1/2 cans. How can you determine how many No. 2 cans are needed for 100 servings?Table 4 makes substitutions easy. Here is how to use it:
For the example above, this tells you:
In place of each No. 2-1/2 can, you would need to use 1.5 No. 2 cans. To answer the question above:
Tables 5-8 will help you convert units of weight and measurement to their decimal equivalents or convert decimal equivalent to measurable or weighable units.
Table 5 lists ounces and their decimal equivalents in pounds.
Table 6 lists common fractions and their number equivalent in decimal form. Use this table as a quick reference when you need to convert a commonly used fraction into numbers.
Table 7 lists numbers in decimal form and converts and rounds them down to the correct fraction of a cup for crediting vegetable and fruit servings.
Use Table 7 to assist in rounding the decimal equivalent of a vegetable or fruit serving to the correct creditable volume towards the vegetable or fruit meal pattern component. The decimal equivalent is not “fluid ounces” but the fraction of a serving as determined by crediting calculations.
For example, a calculation using the recipe analysis worksheet (see Appendix A) determined that the amount of carrots in one portion of a recipe provides 0.68 cups of vegetable. Based on Table 7, this amount actually credits as 5/8 cup vegetable (red/orange vegetable subgroup in school meals) since 0.68 is between 0.625 and 0.749.
Table 8 shows decimal equivalents for fractions of pounds, cups, and gallons. These can be listed in the same table because each breaks down into 16 parts – for example, just as there are 16 ounces in a pound, there are also 16 tablespoons in a cup, and 16 cups in a gallon.
Using Table 8 to Calculate Fractions of a Unit
Cups to Gallons: You want to convert 10-1/2 cups to the equal volume amount of gallons in decimal form.
Gallons to Cups: Your recipe calls for 0.53 gallons of an ingredient. You want to know the equal volume amount in cups.
|The whole number||8|
|The fraction of a number||+1/2|
|Combining these numbers||=||8-1/2|
Metric quantities are increasingly used for food processing, packaging, and specification writing. The following four tables will help you become familiar with the relationship between metric units (Tables 9, 10, and 11) and customary units (Table 12).
Table 9 is a guide to metric conversions showing, for example, how to change ounces to grams by multiplying by 28.35. Table 10 shows metric equivalents by weight. Table 11 shows metric equivalents by volume. Table 12 shows customary units for volume.
NOTE: For Tables 11 and 12, keep in mind that volume is measured in fluid ounces and liters.
Measures for Portion Control
Careful portioning is an important part of any food service operation. It helps to ensure that each serving will be the appropriate size and that a recipe will produce the expected yield (see the “Yields” section in About the Food Buying Guide for definitions of yield).
Scoops or dishers, ladles, and measuring-serving spoons of standard sizes are fairly dependable measures for portioning by volume and serving food quickly. Below is portion information on each. Remember, whichever utensil you chose to measure with, it must be filled level to the top to maintain equal portioning for each measure.
Scoops, Dishers, or Dippers
Scoops (sometimes called dishers or dippers) are useful for portioning specific volumes of foods such as drop cookies, muffins, meat patties, and some vegetables and salads.
The number on the scoop tells you how many scoopfuls make 1 quart (946 milliliters). The higher the number, the smaller the scoop. For example, a Number 24 scoop is smaller than a Number 6 scoop, because it takes more scoopfuls to make 1 quart.
Table 13 shows the approximate measure of each scoop or disher in cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. (Remember, the same volume of different foods will not all weigh the same. If you want to measure by weight, use a scale.)
Table 14 shows the approximate measure for the six ladle sizes most frequently used by Child Nutrition Program operators to portion foods.
Ladles are useful for serving soups, stews, creamed dishes, sauces, gravies, and other similar liquid products.
The higher the number on a ladle, the larger its size. For example, a ladle marked “2 ounce” is twice as large as a ladle marked “1 ounce.”
Ladles are not labeled “fluid ounce,” although this would be more accurate since they measure volume, not weight.
Measuring-serving spoons are volume-standardized serving spoons identified for a specific volume measure. They are similar to a ladle, scoop, disher, or dipper in that they can be used to measure specific volumes of food but they are shaped like a serving spoon (solid or perforated.)
Table 15 shows the approximate measure of each measuring-serving spoon.
Like ladles, they are labeled in ounces but not in fluid ounces which would be more accurate since they measure volume, not weight.
Serving spoons (solid or perforated) may be used instead of scoops for variation in portion shapes. However, it is more difficult to ensure correct portioning. Since serving spoons are not standardized measuring devices, they are not identified and labeled by number.
When using serving spoons, some extra steps are needed to ensure accurate portioning. Before using a particular serving spoon for portioning, 1) measure or weigh the quantity of food the spoon holds and 2) determine how full to fill the serving spoon. Then determine the number of spoonfuls required for the serving size.
Below is list of tables referenced in the “To Help You Use This Guide” Section:
The Buy American Provision is a very important provision in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs (NSLP/SBP). This provision does not apply to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors who are not school food authorities operating the NSLP/SBP.
This provision requires that a school food authority purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, domestic commodities or products. The term “domestic commodity or product” means an agricultural commodity that is produced in the United States or a food product that is processed in the United States substantially using agricultural commodities that are produced in the United States.
The definition of “substantially” means that over 51% of the final processed product consists of agricultural commodities that were grown domestically; however, exceptions to purchase domestic foods are very limited. These limited exceptions are only permitted after first considering domestic alternatives and when domestic foods are unavailable or prohibitively expensive.