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Webinar Slides Presentation

Check out the full presentation of slides from the webinar. We discussed how crediting can be one of the most challenging parts of child nutrition–but it’s also essential.

Full Webinar Transcript

Laura Thompson (00:00:55):

We are going to go ahead and get started. Thank you so much everyone for coming. We are thrilled that you are here today. We are really excited about this topic on becoming a crediting wizard and we are thrilled with the response that we’ve seen so far. Thank you for the questions that you’ve submitted, and we’re gonna tackle those throughout our webinar today and then some at the end as well. My name is Laura Thompson. I am the Marketing Manager here at Health-e Pro, where we do menu planning and nutrient analysis software. As far as just a quick agenda, we are going be doing a little bit of housekeeping. We are recording this session, so if you are unable to stay throughout the whole thing, we will be recording and passing it along to you tomorrow, or if you want to pass it along to anyone, that recording will be made available.

Laura Thompson (00:01:38):

We’ll also be providing the slides as well, which have a lot of links in them. I’ll be doing introductions of our team today, who are going to be presenting. We’ll start talking about crediting and then we will have a Q & A at the end. We’re hoping for about 15 minutes or so at the end to cover any questions that you might have. Then we’ll do the wrap up from there. If you have any questions throughout the webinar, please put them in the Q and A box down at the bottom. There’s two boxes that you might want to put them in. If you put them in the chat, it’s a little bit harder for us to keep track of. So if you could put them in the Q and A box, that would be fantastic. Introducing our presenters today, we have three presenters from our team here at Health-e Pro.

Laura Thompson (00:02:17):

We have Linsey LaPlant, who is our Western Regional Sales Manager. She has experience in the past working in a district as well as at a state agency in Washington State, being a state reviewer. We also have Ross Schonhoeft who is the Southern Regional Sales Manager here at Health-e Pro and has been a food service director at five different districts for 27 years in Texas, and we’re thrilled to have him here. We also have Lynn Shavinsky, the Eastern Regional Sales Manager who has spent decades in child nutrition as well. She has been a food service director in three different states. So these are our presenters today talking about crediting. Our objectives today- we are going to be covering crediting in the USDA school meal programs and then also talking through some of the resources that are in child nutrition. We’ve taken some of the questions that we’ve received as you guys submitted those questions throughout the registration process. We’re gonna sprinkle those in throughout the presentation as well. So thank you for your questions and then we’ll tackle any additional questions at the end. So, Lynn, go ahead.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:03:21):

The first question is “Why do we credit any kinds of foods? Why can’t we just take foods as they are?” And that has to do with the fact that in reality, not all foods are credited the same. They’re not all used the same. And what may have one product item like chicken could be used in a variety of different ways and count nutritionally differently. So the crediting within the child nutrition programs allows us to find some common ground amongst all the different versions. So just looking at this picture, two ounces of cooked chicken will credit as two meat-meat alternates, but chicken on the bone is going to be calculated differently because it’s raw and has bones. Chicken nuggets have breading (also come from different sources). Chicken taquitos may have a meat extender added to them. And then even a mixed chicken dish with pasta, vegetables and chicken is going to count differently. So we need to be able to find some common ground within all of those areas.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:04:33):

The meal contributions that we have within USDA each have different crediting. So meat-meat, alternate grain, vegetable, fruit and milk are all the different sections that we credit. And it’s not as simple as just taking it at face value. Fruit could be juiced or frozen or pureed. Vegetables could be canned and with skins. We need to be able to find common ground. Today we’re gonna highlight some of the different tools that are out there for you to be able to credit different foods. The food buying guide, CN labels, product formulation statements, the Schedule A and nutrition labels. Each of these contributes a different component into being able to do crediting. We’re going to walk through each of them. Go ahead, Linsey.

Linsey LaPlant (00:05:36):

Thanks, Lynn. So hopefully the majority of you have heard of what’s called the Food Buying Guide. The Food Buying Guide is the main reference tool that USDA has put out as a manual, and it used to be distributed via hard copy in a notebook. And so those of you that are more seasoned in child nutrition probably have one of those on one of your shelves somewhere. I used to tote it around with me. It used to get all kind of wrinkled and everything. However, now in the world of the digital age, USDA has made it available to everyone as an interactive web-based tool, as well as a mobile app. So you can have it in the palm of your hand in your phone. It is free to download from the App Store for iPhone and the Google Play Store for Android users.

Linsey LaPlant (00:06:20):

Then of course, you can still download an updated version and save it as a PDF if you’re really more of a paper person and want to have that desk manual available – working on paper as well. The food buying guide is an essential resource for everything when it comes to food yield information. It gives guides as to what the best way is to purchase food for the appropriate type and the amounts that you’re needing for meal pattern contribution requirements for whatever age grade grouping or federal program that you’re following in order to make sure that you’re meeting those meal pattern requirements. Just a little bit of background about the USDA Food Buying Guide. It is a reference that has been around for a very long time.

Linsey LaPlant (00:07:05):

It came out right around when the USDA developed the National School Lunch Program in 1947 and it now updates as needed. That web-based tool is the really the best one to go with because it’ll update as you’re going along with it. In the chat here, we’re gonna put a link into the USDA Food Buying guide online that will give you access into all of these tools. If you haven’t already tried to get access into the interactive web-based tool, I highly recommend it. It’s the best way to go.

Linsey LaPlant (00:07:39):

What else is included in the Food Buying Guide? Besides all of those yield tables, there is excellent information about the meal patterns, all of the federal meal patterns about how to purchase food and all of the resources are incredibly helpful (common abbreviations and symbols). So if you’re new to child nutrition, maybe that could be helpful for you. Common can sizes and then how to do those conversions from maybe a number 10 can down to a smaller can. Decimal to fractions and fractions to decimals as well. Sometimes if you have a fraction and you need to have that into a decimal so that you can make that calculation on a calculator, it’s very helpful. And then pounds to ounces in those metric equivalents of grams. I used to have a big chart on my wall, which was the easiest way to do that, and those are available through the Institute of Child Nutrition. And so if you need any further guidance with this or posters, the Institute of Child Nutrition is really the best way to go for that.

Linsey LaPlant (00:08:40):

Here is a view on your screen of what the online version of the USDA Food Buying Guide looks like. You can see that all of the different meal components are each individual section. And really the bulk of this is all about those yield tables of how much food that you would actually need in order to meet the meal pattern. There’s over 2000 food items that are listed in the Food Buying Guide, and each section gives you a comprehensive guide. There’s lots of tips and specific information about yields in there. We’ll dive into a couple of these here. Lynn later on in this webinar is really going get into the grain section that has step-by-step instructions for crediting grains and then worksheets available if you’re gonna make something from scratch as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:09:27):

Let’s take a closer look at the crediting and yield tables. In this case on your screen, we have it for vegetables with an example here of bell peppers and then potatoes. You can see across the top is all of the different columns in the food buying guide. So really getting a better understanding of what these columns are for is really the gist of using the food buying guide. So if all you see here is a big chart and you’re like, “Oh, how am I going to use this?” Don’t worry, there is a ton of information available. We’re just going to be touching on the basics here of how to use this. But again, if you want more information, the Institute of Child Nutrition has great free online courses of how to do this, and most state agencies get into more detail with this as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:10:10):

That first column is food as purchased, arranged in alphabetical order, and it gives some characteristics like maybe the fat content, if it’s a meat-meat alternate or if it’s with bone or without, or how you’re going to be purchasing those items: fresh, canned, frozen, dehydrated, for example, with vegetables. The second column is all about the purchase unit. In this case, usually the pound or could be the number 10 can cases are a smaller can size. Column three is about that edible portion. So the servings per edible portion could show in ounces like if it’s a meat-meat alternate or the servings that you would get for that purchase unit (in this case pound). The numbers in this column have been rounded down to ensure that enough food is purchased for the number of servings that’s stated there.

Linsey LaPlant (00:10:59):

That fourth column is about the meal pattern contribution. That’s really what we’re trying to get at here – “What do I need to slice, dice or serve here so that I can really meet that meal pattern contribution?” It’s listed by piece or with the ounce equivalent, if it’s a meat-meat alternative, in this case you can see that we’ve got sliced peppers, for example. The amount that is needed per 100 servings and numbers in this column (in the fifth column) have really generally been rounded up to an order that you have enough food that’s purchased in order to meet that number of servings. Then that additional information gives you some information that you can help calculate for what you would need to prepare those meals. It shows the amount of cooked, ready-to-eat and we’ll get into that a little bit more when it comes to meat-meat alternates as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:11:50):

If we take a look at this information that we have here when it comes to peppers, we’ll look at that second line there of quarter cup of raw vegetable strips and we can see here that it’s gonna be purchased in pounds and however it credits. I always like to start in the additional information first, and I can see that one pound as purchased gives me 0.8 pounds of ready-to-eat raw peppers that are in here (or cooked-to-raw peppers, however, you’re going to be making this). So that you know that you’re probably gonna cut out the seeds and cut out the white parts and things like that so that we’re not going to be looking at that. So servings per purchase unit here and the number of quarter of cups – so you get 14.7 quarter cups of raw vegetables per pound. Then looking at the potatoes here, you can see that you’d really want to find the exact way that you’re gonna be using that. Here we have potatoes, fresh, raw, shredded, and pre-portioned in there so that you can figure out what you need there as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:12:52):

The next one we’re going to look at is meat-meat alternates. This is probably where we get the most questions of, “Gosh, how do I calculate meat-meat alternates?” And the standard in here (for using this as an example of course) is raw ground beef. So you purchase a pound of raw ground beef. In this case we’re gonna take a look at that column one. You want to find the product that you are actually using, in this case 15% fat or 85/15, which is usually one of the most common. All of the meat-meat alternates are listed in the meat-meat alternate section and that includes things like beef, poultry, fish, cheese, yogurt, soy yogurt, and then beans and legumes (if you’re going be counting those as a meat-meat alternate) eggs, tofu, peanut butter, seeds, nuts and seeds and nut butters as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:13:37):

Let’s take a look at this. We’ll look again at that additional information to get an idea of how this works. One pound (as purchased) of raw ground beef is going to yield only three quarters of a pound or 0.75 pound cooked drain lean meat. What happened to the other quarter pound? Well that was included probably in a little bit of fat that was there, that’s going to be cooked of, any water that’s in that meat. So if you have a pound, it’s not going to be an actual pound of actual meat that you can count as a meat-meat alternate when you’re going to be putting it into a dish or serving it like taco meat for example. Here you can see that we get servings as purchase unit edible portion 12 one ounce lean cooked meat per pound. We know that there’s 16 ounces in a pound you can’t credit it that way because those four additional ounces (or a quarter of a pound as we see here) is going to be cooked off when we cook that meat.

Linsey LaPlant (00:14:36):

We had some great questions in the registration about using the Recipe Analysis Workbook or “RAW” is what we call it here. This is included in the food buying guide in Appendix A, and it’s used to determine the amount of meal pattern contribution when you’re crediting a recipe that might be from scratch. There’s a worksheet that’s included here that you can do if you wanted to do it on paper, but it’s also available as a web-based version. That’s what you see on your screen here. I’ve got an example- let’s say that we’re going to cook chili and we’re going to add some beef and beans and of course some tomato products in there. For the sake of example here, I want know for the ingredients that I’m putting into my chili that’s made from scratch, how much meat-meat alternate do I get for a half-cup portion?

Linsey LaPlant (00:15:22):

So I put this into the online worksheet and it does the calculations for you. This is the piece that a lot of people are wanting like “Gosh, isn’t there a program that I can just put a recipe in and it’ll tell me what my meal components are?” And the answer to that is “yes.” So here in the recipe analysis workbook that you can do online, it’s here. So you can see that I’ve added in some kidney beans, some raw ground beef, and then I’m going to put some cheese in this chili as well. My servings are a hundred here and I’m gonna do half a cup. I’ve put in the amounts that are in my recipe for the quantity of the ingredients there, and it’s going to calculate the quantity to purchase as well.

Linsey LaPlant (00:16:05):

The next slide shows the next the meal pattern contribution for the meat-meat alternate. So I went from the meat-meat alternate tab all the way over to the right where it says meal pattern contribution. And here it says that a half a cup of my chili provides 2.7 ounce equivalence of meat-meat alternate. So it has added the beans, the raw ground beef and the cheese altogether here, and gives you that contribution tab where the calculation is shown for that credible amount of each meal component. Now, of course, I would’ve put in the whole recipe that would’ve included red, orange vegetables and things like that as well, but for sake of example here you can see that. Now some of you might be thinking why aren’t you using the legumes or the beans as a legume, which you can do, but you cannot count legumes in the same meal as a meat-meat alternate and a legume. In my example here, I’m counting my beans as a meat-meat alternate.

Linsey LaPlant (00:17:03):

Now let’s take a look at the canned fruit section. In this example I have diced peaches in light syrup. How many half cup portions of canned, drained, diced peaches are in one number 10 can? So here we can see that there are two rows of information. One includes the liquid and one does not. We’ve asked for drained, so we will look at the second row here and this states that one number 10 can, there’s 35.4 quarter cup portions of drained peaches (or 8.75 cups). So how do we calculate this if you want to know how many half cup portions are there? There are a couple ways that you could do this. I would get out a calculator because simple math in my head can be hard sometimes and I would take the 35.4 and divide by two since half cup is twice as much as a quarter cup, and that gives me 17.7 half cup portions.

Linsey LaPlant (00:17:57):

Another way to look at this is that you could take the 8.75 cups and multiply that by two since there are two half cups per cup and that gives us 17.5. So here we would round down to the nearest half cup since that is what portion size we’re looking for. 17.5, Half-cup portions. And again, if this seems like it’s whizzing over your head and you’re like, “Gosh, how am I going to do this?” There are a lot of tools available and you could also input this into the recipe analysis workbook and it’ll help you determine the meal pattern components.

Linsey LaPlant (00:18:36):

In addition to the food buying guide, there are a lot of appendices and I really wanna highlight Appendix F of that online interactive version. This gives tons of links, resources and web-based links to food and nutrition service publications, great useful links and tools, things from the Institute of Child Nutrition. There is an entire web-based learning course, exactly how to use the food buying guide, getting into the recipe analysis workbook. It is a lengthy course, so if you are new to child nutrition, I highly recommend trying to carve out little bits of time as you’re able to get through the courses of really knowing how to use the Food Buying guide, USDA links and other federal resources. Then a lot of food safety information is included here as well. Here is our poll question. Back to our chili…”Crediting a new scratch recipe for homemade chili. What information is needed to determine the amount of meat-meat alternate here?” We didn’t talk necessarily about some of these things, but hopefully that you’ll get the idea here of what we would be needing according to what we did in the recipe analysis workbook.

Linsey LaPlant (00:19:55):

So everybody can fill out the pop up whole question here. Then Laura, are we gonna be getting the totals here?

Laura Thompson (00:20:04):

Yes, we will. We’ll give it a few more seconds here because people are still participating and then we will show the results. We’ve got five more seconds to submit your answer and then we’re going to show it. Okay, let’s take a look here, we’ll share the results.

Linsey LaPlant (00:20:37):

All right, excellent. So it looks like everybody caught on. So as we know, sour cream, although it is delicious, does not go towards meeting meal pattern requirements. So everybody got that right? Nutrition fact labels are good to have, but not necessarily needed in order to build out this chili recipe. And the amount of raw ground beef? Yep, you definitely need that, but you also need to know how much cheese is there. And here in our case of this chili example, we’re using the legumes in there. So the last answer is correct, the amount of raw ground beef with that fat percentage cheese and the amount of legumes and kidney beans. Alright, Ross is going talk about CN labels.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:21:27):

Hello, today I’m going to talk about CN labels and I’m also going to talk about the product formulation statements. Who runs the CN label program? It’s ran by the FNS directly to food nutrition services directly with commercial food processing firms in cooperation with following agencies in USDA and USDA Department of Commerce. Are manufacturers required to have seen labels? No, they’re not. And it’s no requirement for local entities to use CN labels. How does the program work? The program requires an evaluation of products formulation by the Food Nutrition Services, determine its contribution toward meal pattern requirements. It allows manufacturers to state this contribution on their labels and we’ll get into that in a second- how they state that on the labels. What products can we see in labels? Main dish items which contribute to the meat-meat alternate component of the milk pattern requirements. It could also allows for other components to be calculated, but it’s mostly the meat-meat alternates. The carry C labels – the produced under federal inspection by USDA, use Department of Commerce have the contribution towards meal pattern requirements determine using yields, and USDA food buying guide, which Lindsey just went over for child nutrition programs.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:22:59):

Some facts about CN labels…they’re valid for five years. They are a great cost of manufacturers. I don’t know if any of you know that since USDA has been changing the guidelines, it cost manufacturers a lot of money to change these CN labels. So I always tell them thank you for producing the CN labels because it costs a great deal of money to have these products analyzed. It’s issued for items that contain meat-meat alternates, may also list grain and vegetable contributions on the label along with the meat-meat alternates. Must have the official CN border and number to be valid. CN label numbers can be verified in the CN label verification report, which you can find under the USDA website. So if you want to go make sure that the the label’s still valid, you can go look at it.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:23:46):

Here is a CN label example. It must have the CN logo. It’s a distinct border around, many of you have seen this before. It has must have a six digit number assigned by FNS and USDA. Must have the meal pattern also must have the month in the year, and the USDA Authorization statement. It took me a long time to understand where to find the month and the year, but it’s on there and so you have to go and make sure that it’s within the five years to be valid.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:24:16):

Here’s an example of chicken drumsticks (Tyson Chicken Drumsticks) – it has a product code number. The manufacturer’s code has product information, sometimes has up information, your case weight, your CN label, the distinct border, your product attributes if it’s all natural (USDA inspected) and has the company name. Product formulation statements are what I call fact sheets, but I know that’s really not the correct term. It’s product formulation statements must be on manufacturer’s letterhead, name of the product and product code number, math calculation showing how much the manufacturer determine the meal pattern contribution. In other words, you produce the product, you make the claim crediting statement signed and date by an official of the manufacturer.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:25:09):

Here’s an example of a Tyson formulation statement. As you can see, it has the company name on the letterhead, has product information, the food buying guide information that must be on there. It has the company name, signature and title valid with signature and date and crediting information. I didn’t realize for a long time that you have to have the food buying guide information on there to claim the credit. Here’s an example of a product statement. This is a product specification nutrition information sheet. This is not valid because there is no signature, no title and no date. You cannot use this in crediting. You must have the signature, the date, and the information from the Food Buying guide to be credited in Health-e Pro. There is currently 193 manufacturers that share most of their data with Health-e Pro and easy-to-access format. No more clipping CN labels, searching for products formulation sheets as the guy that did this for a long time. Crawling through walk-ins with your camera, with your razor knife. We make it very easy in our product marketplace. It’s very easy to search. We have 193 companies that currently participate in our program.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:26:33):

Here’s what it looks like in Health-e Pro. There is an ingredient: chicken popcorn snackers, my most favorite ingredient ever in child nutrition. Those of you who have worked for me or worked with me understand this. I love this product because it’s so versatile. But as you can see, it’s one click and it pulls up all the information. No more calling through walk-ins with your phone. No more calling kitchen managers trying to get CN labels and product statements. It really does make it fast and easy. Here’s a quick question- Which of these products have a CN label and which of these products have a product formulation statement? Obviously the meat-meat alternate grilled cheese has to have a CN label and the apples is just a product formulation statement where you can take the crediting. How long is a CN label valid for? Five years. Thanks, and I’m going pass it on to Lynn.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:27:37):

We’re going to talk a little bit about grains in the child nutrition programs it is a fairly complex segment. There are multiple methods upwards of seven of different ways of crediting grains. One of the issues with using the different methods is that there are really two measurements that you’re searching for. One is the contribution, the meal contribution, so how many grain ounce equivalents there are, and the second is whether you can count it as whole grain rich. This situation that you have in a case with grains is that you have to look at using multiple tools in some cases to be able to do the crediting. So these are just a few examples of how to do those credits.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:28:38):

The other piece that gets complex with grains is that the grain contribution comes from multiple sources. So it’s not necessarily just having a roll or a grain product that you’re utilizing but it’s also incorporating the grain that’s used in combination foods as breading or contribution like a sandwich, pasta, or cereals that might be incorporated into cooking. And sometimes things that you may not necessarily even see- such as potentially a meatloaf because it might have grain in it because it uses breadcrumbs. So there’s a wide range of grain that can be utilized within a product. Being able to identify it, as well as credit it, can be sometimes a challenge.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:29:38):

The best source of information for grains is using the exhibit A grain chart. This can be found in, there’s an entire book related to grains and how to credit it through USDA. That’s the grain reference and many times you’ll see this exhibit A pulled out of that as a handout or a flyer. Most state agencies have created it. But one of the things that this does is it breaks the grain usage down into categories. So if you can see Group A are grain foods that are very hard they’re dense. And the intriguing thing about this is things like croutons, hard crackers, pretzels those items actually can count as one ounce equivalent without weighing an ounce. So in this particular scenario, it shows that the amount of grain (grams of grain) can be less than one ounce, 28 grams in order to count.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:30:51):

Likewise, on the flip side you have the group G, which has a very high sugar content. So the sugar obviously has weight and there’s a lot more than just the grain. There’s all kinds of other products in things like brownies and very calorically dense products. So in this case we have a product that will count as one ounce equivalent of grain that actually weighs upwards of 125 grams or four times the weight of one ounce. So you can see why grains becomes a little bit of a challenge because it’s not just about weighing the particular food, it’s about the composition of the food and how that particular grain component has been utilized. So is there a significant amount of water, not much water, a lot of sugar, other kinds of things. All those go into creating the different groupings that we have on this chart. Most of the standard grains are in the B group. So if you kind of think bread for B, that’s where you’re direct equivalent of 28 grams to 28 to one ounce is going to fall where it’s also the equivalent of one ounce equivalent.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:32:15):

So we have that information, but there is a piece that’s missing on there. The piece that’s missing when we talk about crediting has to do with the second piece, which is, is something whole grain rich. So unfortunately it’s not going to tell you on exhibit A if a rolL is whole grain rich for that information you actually have to look to the ingredient listing. And this can be somewhat confusing because there are a lot of different components that come into it. The point being it must be 51% whole grain. The easiest way to determine whole grain is to look for the word “whole”. That’s going to be the most straightforward in this example. Things that say whole- whole grain, whole wheat, whole grain oats, those are going to count for sure as whole grains. You can also use the whole grain seal that identifies that the items in the center are questionable.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:33:23):

They may or may not, depending upon how they’ve actually been treated. Typically these are going to be descriptions more on what’s selling the product, not necessarily on the ingredient listing. The ingredient listing will say whether it’s whole wheat flour, but it may just say wheat bread on the label. Things that are not whole grain are specifically enriched flour and just wheat flour. Those are the two that you see most often. While USDA does require that enriched flour be used in child nutrition, grain products, just enriched flour on its own will create a grain. So in child nutrition we have 80% whole grain rich and 20% grain ounces equivalent enriched flour and wheat flour can be used in that component and for childcare as well, but cannot count as the whole grain side of things.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:34:39):

Looking at this particular example does this product count as one whole grain rich ounces equivalent product? So again, we need two pieces of information. We need the crediting and we need the ingredients. So if we start with the ingredients, the very first ingredient is whole wheat flour. If you continue reading it, then also has enriched flour or wheat flour. That’s okay because the first ingredient is whole wheat. So that indicates that it is a whole grain product and would count as such. In this particular case, if they were flip flopped that would mean that the enriched wheat flour was first and it would not credit by weight. One thing to be cautious of, and this is a situation where knowing information like the product that shows on the product formulation statement like Ross said, is if you have multiple kinds of flours in a product, if the total combination is considered a whole grain product then it can count.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:35:59):

The only way to have that information is if the manufacturer were to tell you how much of a contribution the whole wheat was the enriched was and perhaps a whole oat that might be later. So if they were out of order in that case, you’re going to need that product formulation statement or direct information about the weights and the amounts that are in there. So using this label, we look like we’re fine. The second piece is to look at the weight. So if we’re going to use the 28 grams as our standard because this is a straight bread product the weight of this we need to look at as the consumed side. So when Linsey was going through the product or the food buying guide, it’s the edible portion. Nutrition isn’t necessarily done based upon the raw product unless that’s how you’re eating it. So in this case we have to look at the cooked weight of this particular roll. And in this case it’s 34 grams ready to eat or 1.23 ounces. So the 0.23 ounces is under 0.25, which everything credits at a quarter when we’re talking about crediting as the minimum. So this product would round down to one grain product. So there’s a lot of steps involved in being able to make a determination and that is why reliance upon things like the product formulation statements, DN labels and the food buying guide can be really beneficial.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:37:55):

So a common situation that occurs is your bakery doesn’t provide a product formulation statement. Well, the first thing I might suggest is asking them if maybe they would consider it within the food buying guide for any vendor they can register and actually get the documentation template for the product formulation statement. So that would be my first access point. Secondly, I would look at utilizing the label and the information that I have to be able to credit that out. So again, looking at what is in the information, if it does count whole wheat, white flour has that word “whole,” whole grain, that’s fine. I can look at the serving size of this using Exhibit A. It’s 51 grams. If I go with that 28 grams, it’s 1.8 ounce ounces is what the weight of this product is. And again, we have our rounding down options for crediting purposes to the quarters. So this would credit at 1.75 grain ounce equivalent. So now we have a poll question for you. One ounce of croutons and one ounce of a brownie both contribute one ounce equivalent of grain in the child nutrition program…true or false?

Laura Thompson (00:39:46):

We’re still getting some people contributing, so we’ll leave it up for a few more seconds. All right, here we go.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:40:06):

All right, so most of you got this, it is false. One ounce is not created equally between all grain products. That crouton is going to actually credit as more than one ounce for the weight of one ounce of croutons. And the weight of one ounce of brownie will probably contribute much less because it is not, it’s dense in sugar rather than the flour. So the next component that we look at for a tool in crediting child nutrition is the nutrition fax label. And we already sort of touched on this a little bit when we talked about looking at the weight of a particular portion size. So you see very clearly the hamburger bun 57 grams able to be used for crediting there. But the other things that are used in child nutrition for crediting are calories, saturated fat and sodium. And those are items that typically can only be found on a nutrition fax label for your products.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:41:26):

There’s also a lot of special crediting. We have things we haven’t touched on like other items. So something for example like butter may have a lot of sodium and a lot of saturated fat and you may use it on your grilled cheeses. That’s a component within your recipe that needs to be considered for analysis as well as the basic bread and cheese that are in that particular product. So all of those other products that are out there, condiments that you may use, they have to be considered and included in the nutrient analysis. There are also special tips related to unique products like alternative protein foods or vegetables smoothies. As we said before, not all items are created the same. So if you use a vegetable juice that crediting is going to be a little bit different if it’s commercially prepared versus something that you may prepare on your own. So USDA has an entire series of tip sheets and other reference items that you would definitely want to use for some additional information about crediting. Okay, so here’s our last poll question. We’re going to credit a pizza as received in the case. Which of the following would be the most acceptable way to determine meal component contribution- using the nutrition label, a CN label, the grain appendix A or the food buying guide? We’ll give you a hint, these are all interrelated because you in some cases can’t use one without the other, but as the person receiving it in the case, what is your best option for crediting this?

Laura Thompson (00:43:38):

All right, we’ll leave the question up for another five seconds or so. If you’ve got your answer, now’s your chance.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:43:57):

Okay, most everyone picked the CN label, which is going to be your most concise and the clearest crediting option for you. The nutrition label is important and it’s going to contribute towards your calorie saturated fat and sodium, but it’s not really going to tell you about meal contribution because the weight of that product is a combination food with protein meat-meat alternate as well as grains and creditable vegetable. The grain exhibit A, again, it’s a mixed product so you’re not going to be able to pull out the specifics because typically the manufacturer does not give you the weight amount of grain flour used in that particular product. And the food buying guide is a partial answer. You wouldn’t be able to calculate it because you don’t know the specific amounts in this particular case. But when they created the CN label, they did use the food buying guide as the basis of their crediting, so you can see how they all pull together.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:45:15):

And one particularly important piece that we just want to make sure resonates with everyone is that the nutrient analysis and crediting that you’ve just gone through only works if it matches the product that you’re serving. We know this has been an extremely challenging time in terms of substitutions, product changes, getting new things through the door and sometimes not knowing. But if you are trying to ensure that your meals are compliant and creditable, one of the key steps you need to take is to make sure that those are the products that you’re putting on your service line. Simply changing a beef patty can change it from a two meat-meat alternate to a 1.75 or the same thing with a bun. Being able to be a hundred percent confident that the product that you are crediting for, so that you meet the meal components is the product that you’re using is really key because as we’ve discussed, not all foods are created equal.

Laura Thompson (00:46:33):

So that wraps up the basic content portion of this webinar and we will be providing both a recording of this webinar to all of our registrants. So if you are on this, you’ll be getting a recording in your email, hopefully by tomorrow as well as a PDFs of the slides. So these slides will be made available so you can have these links hyperlinked in the PDF. So we know a couple of those questions came through, if this will be recorded and if the slides will be available in the answer is yes. So we’ve had quite a few questions coming in both as you were registering and then throughout this webinar. So we’re gonna tackle some of them. We probably won’t have time to get to all of them, but we will be following up with those questions. But here are some questions we would like to tackle that we’ve gotten so far.

Linsey LaPlant (00:47:14):

Laura, can I pop in here and answer one that came through on the chat here and then we’ll get to it. I just want to ensure that I said it correctly. A question about counting legumes as a meat-meat alternate when you also then have another meat-meat alternate. And the answer is yes. What I had said about those beans and the chili, specifically the ingredients of the kidney beans, I was counting them as a meat-meat alternate. We can’t also then count them as a legume in that same meal for that same ingredient. So with beans, you either gotta pick, is it gonna credit towards meat-meat alternate or is it crediting to legumes? Those same beans can’t credit both to meat-meat alternate and legumes in the same meal. You the menu planner, recipe writer and decider gets to choose. Thanks. Wanted to clear that up.

Laura Thompson (00:48:00):

Yes, thank you Linsey. Alright, so one of the questions that came through was if there is no CN label, Then what?

Ross Schonhoeft (00:48:09):

I’ll take that one. If there’s not a CN label, then you need to go to the person that produced the product and see if they have a product formulation sheet. Then you’re gonna have to credit it that way or you can take it to the food buying guide. But those are the two things that make it the easiest to do as a CN label or a product formulation sheet. Anybody like to add to that?

Linsey LaPlant (00:48:33):

Yeah, I’ll say something. When I was a reviewer I used to you know, folks would have like a muffin for example from a baker and they’re like, hey, there’s no CN label for that. Well remember a muffin will never have a CN label, right? Because there is no meat-meat alternate component to that. And so you can have a lot of products that are not going to have a CN label that are still compliant to serve. But if it is a prepared item that includes the meat-meat alternate CN label is best. But like Ross said, sometimes you know, some of the smaller manufacturers don’t want to pay for that, in which case then you’ll need to get that exact meal components signed and dated from the manufacturer.

Laura Thompson (00:49:10):

Awesome, thank you. Alright, another question that came through, how to get foods with multiple crediting categories to count, for example, chicken nuggets, grain and meat.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:49:24):

I’ll address it just from the perspective that it’s kind of the same answer that we just had. If you have a combination food, unless you know the breakdown of the original components of that food, so especially with a chicken nugget, it’s gonna be almost impossible for you to know how that was created from a manufacturer. Unless they tell you and give you the breakdown in a product formulation statement. Again, you can direct them to the food buying guide so that they can print their own product formulation statement if you are doing it from scratch. So you could do a chicken nugget from scratch where you’re using the actual chicken piece and then the breading component as well. You would have the weights and measures of those particular items and could count those using the food buying guide.

Laura Thompson (00:50:21):

Wonderful, thank you. All right, another question that we got. How do you work with dried fruits and different programs? Why is there a difference in crediting?

Linsey LaPlant (00:50:38):

Do you want me to take that one? I’ll take it. So whenever I think about dried fruit, I also then think about leafy greens because they’re opposite of each other. So dried fruit say a national school lunch program a quarter cup say of dried fruit is going to count as a half a cup of fruit. So we know that dehydrated fruit has no water in it, so it’s much more condensed and so you’re getting a lot more in a smaller amount, whereas opposed to something like a leafy green a cup of leafy greens only counts as a quarter of a cup, so they’re opposite of each other. Dried fruit is going to be twice as much as your portion size when it comes to crediting and vice versa for things that are leafy greens.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:51:26):

Just to clarify, it’s a half

Linsey LaPlant (00:51:28):

I think, oh, what did I say? A quarter cup?

Lynn Shavinsky (00:51:31):


Linsey LaPlant (00:51:31):

Oh, sorry. Talking out loud, I’m getting it confused. Sorry Lynn, go ahead and clarify that again.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:51:36):

One cup leafy greens credits as a half a cup of leafy green.

Linsey LaPlant (00:51:41):

Thank you.

Laura Thompson (00:51:44):

Awesome, thank you. Another question that came through, what if we change the form of a product in the cooking process, how would that affect crediting?

Lynn Shavinsky (00:51:58):

I’ll take a portion of this. So remember that the key to crediting is edible portion. So it’s how you consume it. So that product has to be in a cooked format. So if you had raw chicken for example, you wouldn’t count the raw chicken by weight. You have to take what as Linsey talked about in the food buying guide, what is going to cook off the water and the fat and figure out what that percentage change is using the food buying guide. The food buying guide also has variables for how you produce that product. So like she showed the potatoes, it was in shredded patty form. There’s also options in there for french fries and baked potatoes and mashed potatoes because as you change the form other things happen as well either in the cooking process or in the processing process. So you really have to identify where it is in the food buying guide, how it’s being produced and getting it into that final form. So it is complex and that’s sort of why a lot of people struggle with that information. Anybody else want to add to that?

Laura Thompson (00:53:27):

Okay, here’s another question that came through. How would you credit a vegetable blend or mixed vegetables?

Linsey LaPlant (00:53:34):

I can take that one. It would depend on if you are doing the vegetable mixing or if you are purchasing it that way. So for example, if you’re buying frozen peas and carrots together do you know what the portion or the proportions of carrots is to peas so that you can credit those correctly? No, you can’t. So you would credit the peas and carrots together as an “other” vegetable. Same thing with the five-way blend that might have broccoli and cauliflower and carrots together. However, if you are making something like a cucumber tomato salad where you know how many cucumbers to tomatoes that you are putting those things together and that is you’re serving them together, then yes, you could credit cucumbers separately then your tomatoes, but if you’re purchasing it together they would credit as “others.”

Linsey LaPlant (00:54:28):

I can tackle one of these that came through in our question and answers. It’s back to the chicken nuggets here that says, is there a CN label for a chicken nugget that states you need to serve X number of chicken nuggets to provide how much meat-meat alternate and grain? And the answer to that is yes, that’s exactly what a CN label will do. You know, a lot of them will say five chicken nuggets provides or contributes two ounces of meat-meat alternate and two ounces of whole grain. That’s exactly what the CN label will show.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:54:58):

And Linsey, I’d add a little bit on that too is in a system like Health-e Pro, you can actually go in to, if you’re building menus and recipes, you can actually go in and if you want to give the older kids seven nuggets, you put seven nuggets in and it’ll recalculate everything for you.

Linsey LaPlant (00:55:13):

There you go. And I apologize, I said “other”, it’s “additional vegetables with mixed vegetables”, apologize, cucumbers, other vegetables, additional vegetables when you have a mix.

Laura Thompson (00:55:28):

Here’s another question that I thought was very broad but also very fantastic. So I’m interested to see how you guys respond to this one. What should a new food director know?

Ross Schonhoeft (00:55:43):

I would say a new food director absolutely you better know in Texas, you better know your service center numbers or your education, your resource numbers, any other directors in your area, you better know their numbers. Learn the food buying guide over and over. Somebody asked a question on here about how to calculate beef crumbles versus raw meat. The food buying guide can do that for you and like Linsey showed you how to use that calculator and I never even knew that. I was a director all these years and Linsey showed me that yesterday and I did not even know that. That is a great, awesome tool. And so you know, you could definitely use that tool to, to calculate this, but knowing the food buying guide, knowing your resources, knowing where to go get help and obviously find a mentor. Most food service directors are really willing to help you. I mean so many people helped me throughout my career that it’s just, you gotta find that. Join associations, right Lynn? Join your local association, your state association, go to as many conferences and as many webinars like this as you can so that that helps you to be successful, I think.

Linsey LaPlant (00:56:52):

And it will get easier. A lot of people get really overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to child nutrition, new to food service, lots of hoops to jump through in order to get federal funding for those federal child nutrition programs. But like Ross said, there is a ton of resources out there. Do not feel like you need to recreate the wheel. There are lots of recipes available that you can test in your kitchen to make sure that they are standardized for your staff and your kitchens that the yield is correct that then has all of that crediting information there. And if you have your own recipes running it through that food buying guide tool in the raw, the recipe analysis is excellent. One thing I think I neglected to mention when it comes to the Food buying guide and that recipe analysis tool is that you need to register as a user and log-in to the food buying guide as a school district or as a sponsor in order to get that recipe analysis tab to show. So if you’re using just logging or just going to the website, it might not show. So registering then and then that way too you can really save your ingredients and those things will go through into the app as well.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:57:55):

And the ICN is a great resource. They really are. I guess it’s at the University of Mississippi I think now.

Linsey LaPlant (00:58:02):

Yep. Institute of Child Nutrition.

Ross Schonhoeft (00:58:04):

Yeah, the ICN is fantastic. They offer crediting classes. They offer so much there and the people there are very nice, they’re very helpful and I’ve taken many club courses there and I think that’s a great resource.

Lynn Shavinsky (00:58:18):

And the last place I would say is definitely go to your state agencies and even look at other state agencies. There are some wonderful resources out there if you just search- “I want a CN label information.” The childcare space, childcare has done some phenomenal single page reference pieces because now they’re moving and the reason that a lot of their products are really good coming out of FNS is because this is brand new to them. Child Nutrition, you know we’ve been struggling for a while with crediting in the concept of ounce equivalents and so forth, but it’s fairly new in the childcare arena and so they have really tried to put out a lot of materials that are simplified. And I would say the last thing is truly phone a friend and remember that your state agency really can be that person on the other end too. They have information they can point you in directions and calling them at the last minute probably isn’t the best move. But definitely when you first come on, just introduce yourself and say “I’m looking for assistance.”

Ross Schonhoeft (00:59:38):

And I’d also say one other thing that helped me, of course being online now has really helped so much, but there was an old book by Doc Parnell, I think it was called “The Handbook of Child Nutrition.” And that book was fantastic and it still is. Many of her concepts still hold true today. And she was a pioneer in our industry and Doc Parnell wrote this book and it really is a great resource if you could still find that. I don’t know if it’s still in print or not.

Laura Thompson (01:00:03):

Awesome, well thank you so much Lynn, Ross, and Linsey for covering crediting today. I know it’s a very big topic. We got far more questions than we had time for today, so we will be following up with the questions that you have. Thank you for contributing the questions. Thank you for attending today. Thank you for answering the poll questions. We really hope this was helpful and provided value for you. We thank you for coming again, this is being recorded so we will provide this recording and the slides to you. We also dropped into the chat a link to get professional development certificate for attending today. If you want to click on that, that will be sent to you automatically. Thank you again so much for coming today. We hope you found this helpful and we will see you again soon.