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All CNP 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 that contribute to a healthy diet. The meal pattern requirements for each CNP are provided in Charts 1A–5C. State agencies have the discretion to set stricter requirements than the minimum nutrition standards for school meals. For additional guidance please contact your State agency.

- Chart 1A: School Breakfast Program (SBP)
- Chart 1B: National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Chart 2: Afterschool Snacks Program
- Chart 3: Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
- Chart 4A: CACFP Meal Pattern for Children and Adults: Breakfast
- Chart 4B: CACFP Meal Pattern for Children and Adults: Lunch and Supper
- Chart 4C: CACFP Children and Adult Meal Pattern: Snack
- Chart 4D: CACFP Infant Meal Patterns: Infant Meal Pattern
- Chart 5A: Preschool Breakfast Meal Pattern
- Chart 5B: Preschool Lunch Meal Pattern
- Chart 5C: Preschool Snack Meal Pattern

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:

- Common can and jar sizes
- How to substitute one can size for another
- How to convert customary units (such as pounds and ounces) to their metric equivalents
- How to convert parts of a unit (such as ½ gallon or ¼ pound) to the correct decimal equivalent

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:

- Can sizes are industry terms and do not necessarily appear on the label.
- The net weight on can or jar labels differ according to the density of the contents. For example, a No. 10 can of sauerkraut may weigh 6 lb 3 oz (2.81 kg), while a No. 10 can of cranberry sauce may weigh 7 lb 5 oz (3.32 kg).
- No. 10 cans of the same food item may have different net weights depending on the manufacturer.
- Canned meats, fish, and shellfish are known and sold by the weight (not volume) of the contents in the can.

**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. 2½ cans. In the Vegetables yield tables, you will see that for 100 servings of heated, drained vegetable, you need 7.9 No. 2½ cans. How can you determine how many No. 2 cans are needed for 100 servings?

**Read across the top to find the column that begins with the can size you have.**In the example above, you would see that No. 2 is listed in the fourth column.**Read down the rows listed under “Can Size In Yield Table.” Find the can size for which you want to make the substitution.**In the example above, you read down the third row to find No. 2½.**Find where the column and the row intersect and note the figure listed. This tells you how many cans are required for the substitution.**In the example above, note that “1.5” is shown where the fourth column and third row intersect.

**For the example above, this tells you:**

In place of each No. 2½ can, you would need to use 1.5 No. 2 cans. To answer the question above:

- Multiply the number of 2½ cans needed for 100 servings (7.9) by the number of size 2 cans needed to substitute for one 2½ can (1.5).

Calculation: 7.9 multiplied by 1.5 equals 11.85 - Round up to the next whole can. 11.85 rounds up to 12

Therefore, if you need 7.9 No. 2½ cans for 100 servings, you would need 12 No. 2 cans for the same 100 servings.

**Decimal Equivalents**

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 vegetables or fruits 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 Workbook (see Appendix A) determined that the amount of carrots in one portion of a recipe provides 0.68 cups of vegetables. Based on Table 7, this amount actually credits as ⅝ 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**

**EXAMPLES**

Cups to Gallons: You want to convert 10½ cups to the equal volume amount of gallons in decimal form.

- Find the whole number unit in the left-hand column. For this example, the whole number is “10.” Find “10” in the Number of Units column on the left of the table.
- Follow this line across the table towards the right to the column headed “+½ unit.” Read the decimal number. Going right from the number “10” and stopping under the heading “+½ unit,” the decimal number reads 0.66.

Gallons to Cups: Your recipe calls for 0.53 gallons of an ingredient. You want to know the equal volume amount in cups.

- Find 0.53 in the body of the table under the “fraction or part of the unit” columns. For this example, 0.53 can be found under the “+½ unit” nine rows down.
- Follow this line across the table towards the left. Read the number in the “Number of Units” column. The Number of Units corresponding to 0.53 (which is under the “+½ unit” column) reads “8.”
- Combine the whole unit number from the “Number of Units” column with the fraction listed in the “Fraction or part of the unit” column corresponding to the 0.53 number.
The whole number 8 The fraction of a number + ½ Combining these numbers = 8½

**Metric Equivalents**

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 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.)

**Ladles**

Table 14 shows the approximate measure for the six ladle sizes most frequently used by CNP 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**

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**

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:

- Abbreviations and Symbols
- Common Can and Jar Sizes Average Net Weight or Fluid Measure and Average Volume-Per Can
- Common Can and Jar Sizes, per Case and Principal Products
- A Guide for Substituting Cans
- Decimal Weight Equivalents
- Decimal Equivalents of Commonly Used Fractions
- Decimal Equivalents to the Nearest Portion of a Cup for Fruits and Vegetables
- Decimal Equivalents for Fractions of a Unit
- A Guide to Metric Conversions
- Metric Equivalents by Weight
- Metric Equivalents by Volume
- A Guide to Volume Equivalents for Liquids
- Sizes and Capacities of Scoops (or Dishers)
- Sizes and Capacities of Ladles
- Sizes and Capacities of Measuring-Serving Spoons
- Quarter Cup to Cup Conversions

**The Buy American Provision** requires that school food authorities (SFAs) purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, domestic commodities or products. This provision supports the mission of the Child Nutrition Programs, which is to serve children nutritious meals and support American agriculture. Program regulations that govern this provision only apply to SFAs that operate the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Programs and are found 7 CFR 210.16(d) and 7 CFR 220.16(d).

Last updated on 09/19/2024

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