Laura Thompson (00:22):
All right, we’re going to go ahead and get started. I know that there are some who are still hopping on, but we want to be respectful of your time. So we’re gonna go ahead and get started. Today’s webinar is with our friends at Pro Team about crediting. And just as a quick little bit of an agenda, we are going to first start off here with a little bit of housekeeping. Then we’re going to do introductions with the team that will be joining us today, which is about the topic of crediting, which seems to be a very popular topic, given the response that we’ve gotten so far. We’re also going to have a Q and A at the end of this webinar. So if you have any questions, please let us know. You can put the questions in the Q and A box at the bottom of your screen.
Laura Thompson (01:00):
We’ve also had a lot of questions submitted as part of the registration process. So, we’ll be able to tackle some of those as well. And then we’re gonna have a wrap up after that. So as far as housekeeping this webinar is being recorded and if you’ve registered and since you’re listening to this and since you’re on, you have, and so you’ll be getting the link to this recording as well as the slides. As far as introductions, my name is Laura Thompson. I’m the marketing manager here at Health-e Pro, where we offer menu planning and nutrient analysis software. And then for our friends who are visiting us today, it is the, some of the team from Pro Team. And we are very excited to have them here today. So today we have Brittany Herman and Jessica Gascoigne presenting on behalf of Pro Team Food Service Advisors, Pro Team offers comprehensive consulting services on every aspect of your food service operation, such as menu development and regulatory compliance, procurement, operation solutions, financial planning, and scenario mapping, mapping, excuse me, marketing and more.
Laura Thompson (02:01):
That’s a bit of a tongue twister. Brittany Herman is a registered dietitian and senior consultant with Pro Team. She oversees the menu team and has the pleasure of partnering with districts to create innovative and compliant menus that help drive participation using Health-e Pro software. She has been in the school nutrition field for over 10 years and has experience with child nutrition programs at both state and district levels. Jessica Gascoigne is a registered dietitian and menu consultant with Pro Team. She partners with districts across the nation for menu planning, compliance, and innovative standardized recipe development. Jessica has over 15 years of experience as a pediatric registered dietitian and her experience ranges from a clinical and community dietitian with specialties in gastroenterology and food allergy to food service director, and most recently as a K12 school district, nutrition, dietitian, and menu planner, lots of tongue twisting words in there, but hopefully we we did that with the respect that it deserves. So with that, we are going to turn the time over to Brittany and Jessica. And again, if you have any questions, please feel free to put them in the Q and A portion at the bottom of the screen. And we will go from there.
Jessica Gascoigne (03:13):
Okay. Thank you for the welcome and introductions Laura. In today’s webinar, we will review the methodology behind crediting in the USDA school meal programs. We will walk through how to credit each food component group under the NSLP and SBP programs. And we will include tools and resources available to you, and to all attendees today. We will specifically review credible versus non-credible foods in the school meal patterns. And we will conclude the webinar by sharing a few best practices related to this topic and touch on the new transitional rule.
Jessica Gascoigne (03:52):
So, what is crediting? Crediting is the process established by the USDA food and nutrition service to determine how individual foods contribute to the child nutrition program meal patterns. A food is considered credible when it meets the minimum standard that counts towards a reimbursable meal or snack. Generally this means similar foods are grouped into categories that are credited in a similar way. Let’s explore that a little bit further. The main focus of the USDA crediting system is to provide simple information that allows child nutrition program op operators to one plan menus with food and quantities that meet the meal patterns and two offer foods in a way that encourages healthy habits and teaches children how to balance meals. There are a number of factors that impact how foods credit towards a reimbursable meal. The overall nutrient profile of a food is a primary consideration foods in each component group are based on a range of nutrients instead of an individual foods nutrient profile.
Jessica Gascoigne (04:53):
For example, foods in the meat/meat alternates component are grouped based on a collection of nutrients that contain protein, B vitamins, selenium, colon, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. The volume or weight of the food also plays a role in determining crediting. All meat and meat alternates, and grains, are credited in ounces. Fruits, vegetables, fluid milk are credited based on volume served. However, there are some nuances here like dried fruit credits for twice the volume served, and raw leafy green vegetables credit as half the volume served. Additionally tomato puree and tomato paste credit as if they were reconstituted, instead of at the volume served. And we’ll get into that a little bit more. Another consideration is the food’s federal standard of identity. Many credible food products in the child nutrition programs have a federal standard of identity or an industry standard for production. Standards of identity assist in crediting because they ensure food products with the same name, have the same characteristics, and therefore make a consistent contribution to the meal pattern. Customary use of a food product is another factor in determining crediting. Some foods are generally consumed as snacks and therefore have not been considered appropriate for service in the child nutrition programs.
Jessica Gascoigne (06:21):
In some cases, the volume of food required to meet the minimum serving size would be unreasonably large. And in other cases, such products do credit. An example of that would be tortilla and tortilla products such as the taco shell. They may credit as a grain item in nutrition programs because certain cultures they are served as the grain component.
Jessica Gascoigne (06:41):
Finally, meals and snacks served in the child nutrition programs act as a teaching tool for children by visually demonstrating how to build a healthy balanced meal with the key food groups and amounts recommended by the dietary guidelines. With this in mind, USDA does not allow something like pureed black beans that were added to brownies to be credited towards the vegetable or meat/meat alternate component. This is because a brownie is still a dessert in disguising vegetables in foods does not teach and encourage children to recognize, eat, and enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are five component groups that credible foods fall into, including meat/meat alternates, grains, vegetables, fruit, and milk. We will review examples of how to credit foods in each group in the next section of the presentation, starting with the meat/meat alternate component group. I’ll pass it over to Brittany to talk about crediting this component group, as well as the grains component group… Brittany.
Brittany Herman (07:46):
All right. Thank you, Jessica. In order for food to contribute to the meat/meat alternate component, it must contain a minimum of a quarter ounce equivalent. So this component group includes food items that we often think of as protein, like meat, poultry, and fish, cheese, yogurt, soy yogurt, dry beans, and peas, whole eggs, tofu and tempeh, peanut butter, or other nut or seed butters and nuts and seeds.
Brittany Herman (08:17):
Next slide. So where do we begin with how to credit these items? Meat and meat alternate food items can be credited by one of the following methods listed on the screen. And we’ll review examples of each method in the next slide. As a reminder, it is the program operator’s responsibility to keep records, to document that meal served and fulfill the meal pattern requirements. This is a huge benefit of the Health-e Pro menu software, which provides the platform to digitally store all of your nutrition labels, product spec sheets, and manufactured crediting documents for the products you use all in one place.
Brittany Herman (08:57):
So starting with the Food Buying Guide, this is one of the principle tools sponsors should use to determine the specific contribution of food makes towards the meal pattern requirements. We can use the food buying guide to determine the crediting for unprocessed meat and meat alternate food items like tofu and yogurt in this example. So, as you can see on the screen, the Food Buying Guide demonstrates that you would need a 2.2 ounce for a quarter cup serving of commercially prepared tofu to credit as a one ounce meat alternate serving. For yogurt, a half cup of yogurt or four ounces provides a one ounce equivalent of a meat alternate. Three quarters of a cup or six ounces would be a 1.5 ounce equivalent; serving a cup or eight ounces would then be a two ounce equivalent and so forth.
Brittany Herman (09:50):
So moving onto the crediting process… meat and meat alternate items to help simplify this process program operators can look for sand labels on food packages. And we provided an example of a beef patty product on the screen here. So CN labels are only available for items that contribute towards the meat/meat alternate component of the meal pattern. Some examples include, but are not limited to beef patties, cheese or meat pizzas, meat, cheese, and bean burritos, breaded fish, and chicken product. USDA child nutrition or CN labeling program gives food manufacturers the option to include this label on their product. And it clearly identifies how the product contributes towards the meal pattern requirements. It provides a warranty against auditing claims if the product is used according to the manufacturer’s direction.
Brittany Herman (10:45):
So if they stand label for the process meet or meet alternate product you’re using does not exist. A manufacturer product formulation statement or PFS provides a way for manufacturers to demonstrate how a product may contribute to the meal pattern requirements. The difference between a sand label and a PFS is that the CN label is verified through the CN labeling program. And a PFS is not verified by any federal agencies. Because the PFS has not been verified, it is the program operator’s responsibility to request this document from the manufacturer and then verify that the supporting documentation is accurate and meets the meal pattern requirements. We’ve shared a tip sheet that was created by USDA for how to evaluate if a PFS is acceptable in the resource section at the end of the presentation for more detailed information, but we’ll review a few key pieces to look for.
Brittany Herman (11:40):
So on the screen, as an example of a chicken tender product, some key components you wanna look at are that the PFS is on the company’s letterhead, that the product name and the product code number, as well as the serving and portion size are listed. And then the PFS should also include a description of the creditable ingredient or ingredient. If there’s multiple that match what’s in the food buying guide, as well as the crediting calculation and a signature of the representative of the company who completed the form. So again, we did share a resource that kind of has that checklist to look for that you can reference after this presentation. So as you can see in this example two chicken tenders, which is equal to a 4.46 ounce serving, would then provide 2.5 ounce equivalent of meat.
Brittany Herman (12:37):
So next, we have an example of a USDA foods fact sheet. These product information sheets describe the items and provide crediting and nutrition related information for products expected to be available for schools and institutions participating in the child nutrition program. So the example product sheet on the screen is for commodity cooked diced chicken. And we can see under the crediting and yield section that this particular product credits ounce for ounce, but that’s not always the case with USDA food. So for example, this is the chicken fajita product, and we can see under the crediting and yield section that we would need 1.7 ounces of the fajita strips to credit as a one ounce meat serving, or we’d have to double that. So 3.4 ounces of fajita strips would then credit as a two ounce meat serving. So we included a link to where you can find these product information sheets as in the resource section at the end of the presentation as well.
Brittany Herman (13:45):
One other note we want to mention is the crediting of meat and meat alternates in the school breakfast program. So there’s no separate meat or meat alternate component group in the school breakfast program, like there is at lunch. However, schools may substitute a one ounce equivalent of a meat or meat alternate for a one ounce equivalent of grains after the minimum daily grains requirement is met. So what does that look like? A school could serve a one ounce equivalent grain like graham crackers with a one ounce equivalent of a meat alternate like a cheese stick, to equal two ounce equivalent of grains. Another example would be a yogurt parfait. As long as the parfait contains at least a one ounce equivalent of granola, the four ounces of yogurt in the entree could then be credited towards the grains component at breakfast, making it another two ounce equivalent grain. Okay, so now let’s practice a couple examples together. If you wanna participate, you can type your answer in the chat. So we’re gonna be thinking about where we can get crediting information for these two different egg products. The first being a hard boiled egg and the second being a processed egg omelet that has multiple ingredients. So if you have a guess, you wanna enter it into the chat now.
Brittany Herman (15:21):
Okay. I’m seeing hard boiled egg Food Buying Guide. That would be correct. And if we were to reference that we would see that the Food Buying Guide says that one large egg is equal to a two meat alternate serving, and then the omelet, I’m seeing a lot of CN labels. Yes. we would want to refer to the CN label if available, if not, we would request that manufacturer PFS to determine the crediting great job.
Brittany Herman (15:52):
Okay. Moving on to the grain food component group, in order for a food to contribute to the grains component, it must contain a minimum of a quarter ounce equivalent. For examples of credible grain items include whole grain-rich or enriched breads biscuits, bagels rolls, tortillas, crackers, pasta rice items, such as ready to eat breakfast cereals or oatmeal and whole grain, rich breading on fish and poultry products such as breaded chicken patties or fish sticks. We did want to mention because this often causes some confusion, but potatoes and corn are considered starchy vegetables in the USDA meal program. So they cannot be credited towards the grains sooth component group. For example, if you’re offering maybe a loaded baked potato entree, you would have to offer a grain item like a roll or a biscuit along with it. Cause you cannot count that potato as the grain, another common misunderstanding when it comes to crediting grains.
Brittany Herman (16:56):
is that just because a grain product weighs one ounce does not necessarily mean that it provides a one ounce equivalent of grain. So similar to the meat/meat alternate crediting, we would refer to the Food Buying Guide to determine the crediting for single ingredient, grain items like rice, dry pasta, and oat. For processed items, ee would refer to either the CN label manufacturer, product formulation statement, or the USDA food fact sheet, if available. And in some cases we could use exhibit and the nutrition facts panel alongside the ingredient list to determine the grain crediting. So we’ll review some examples of each type of documentation.
Brittany Herman (17:39):
First up, a look at crediting a brown rice ingredient using the Food Buying Guide. So to calculate the ounce equivalent of brown rice, we can use the chart on the screen as our guide. So we’ll say that we have seven pounds of brown rice in our recipe. We would then multiply the seven pounds of rice by the servings per purchase unit, which can be found in column three in the Food Buying Guide. So seven pounds of rice times 8.75 is equal to 61.25 ounce equivalent. Now we’ll say that there’s 100 servings in our recipe. We would then divide the 61.25 ounce equivalent by 100. And we would get the number of ounce equivalents per serving, which would be 0.61 ounce equivalent. In this case, the last step would then be to round down to the nearest quarter ounce. And that would be a half ounce equivalent. So a recipe developed for a hundred servings that contain seven pounds of brown rice would contain a half ounce equivalent of grains per serving, utilizing the information found in the Food Buying Guide. So with that, if you need the rice and the dish to contribute more towards the grain component, you could look into either increasing the quantity of the rice and the recipe, or offering a larger portion, which would reduce the overall number of servings in the recipe.
Brittany Herman (19:08):
Moving on to the next slide. This is another example of a CN label. This time for breaded chicken chunks, where the crediting for both meat and grain component contributions are included. We can see on this label that a 10 piece serving provides a two ounce equivalent meat and a one ounce equivalent grain. One other note I want to mention here is that CN labeled products that use the term ounce equivalent grain indicate that the product meets the whole grain rich criteria products that use the term ounce equivalent grains with “enriched” in parenthesis indicate that enriched grains are the majority of the ingredient. So the product could credit towards the grains component, but would not meet that whole grain rich criteria. Okay. So let’s review another example of a PFS for grains. Manufacturers must answer questions about the product before grams of creditable grain are calculated such as does the product meet whole grain, rich criteria does the product contain non-creditable grains and which group and exhibit A, the product belongs to which I’ll touch on next. So in this example, the pancakes are found in group C of exhibit A and the correct standard of creditable grains is used.
Brittany Herman (20:35):
To briefly touch on exhibit A, this resource compiles a wide variety of prepared grain products and groups them together based on their average grain content. Each group in A provides the minimum serving size required to supply a one ounce equivalent of grains. To calculate the ounce equivalent in a particular grain product menu, planners will also need to reference the package’s nutrition facts panel for the grams or ounces per serving, and then the ingredients list to confirm the whole grain content. So there is a PDF document of exhibit A available, which was on the previous slide, but there’s also an exhibit A tool available through the web-based interactive version of the Food Buying Guide. You can also download it as part of the Food Buying Guide app that’s available on the Google Player, Apple App Store. It can be very helpful in determining the ounce equivalent of grains for your grain product, the amount of grains product to serve, to provide a specific ounce equivalent and the amount of grains product to serve in order to meet the minimum grains requirement for a specific age grade group.
Brittany Herman (21:54):
Now we can look at another example of a USDA food fact sheet. This one’s for brown rice. So as you can see under that crediting and yield section one ounce of the dry product or a half cup of a cooked portion is equal to a one ounce equivalent grain. And this would also align with the information that’s available in the Food Buying Guide. So before we move on to the vegetable component, I wanted to touch on some of the nuances around grain-based desserts. USDA recognizes that some sugar may be needed to bake breads and other grain items that are not generally served as desserts, but the grain-based desserts limit is intended to minimize children’s exposure to desserts in school meals. So there’s not necessarily a specific amount of sugar or fat that classifies a grain food as a dessert much is dependent on how the product is used in the meal and how children generally consume the product.
Brittany Herman (22:53):
So items like donuts, cakes, brownies, pies, cookies, and sweet rolls are seen as grain-based desserts in the child nutrition program. For breakfast, there isn’t a limit in terms of the number of times you can have it on the menu, but certain types of grain-based desserts are not allowed such as you can’t serve cakes or brownies as the grain entree item at breakfast. For lunch, all grain-based desserts are allowed. However, there are limits to how many times they can be menued per week. So no more than two ounce equivalent of grain served per week can be in the form of a grain-based dessert in the NFLP and the footnotes on exhibit A do explain this in more depth, if you wanna reference that.
Brittany Herman (23:42):
All right, so let’s take a look at another crediting again, if you wanna participate, you can place your answer in the chat. But for tortilla chips, where would we look for crediting information? I’ll give everyone a minute to think of their response. I’m seeing CN label. So again, CN labels are only gonna be available if a product contains a meat or meat alternate. So with tortilla chips, that would just be a grain. But first we could look for that manufacturer product formulation statement. And if that doesn’t exist, then we could look into using the exhibit A along with the ingredient list to verify whether or not it’s a whole grain rich item and the portion size. So I will pass it back over to Jessica now to cover the remaining food component group.
Jessica Gascoigne (24:41):
Thank you, Brittany. All right. Let’s dig in a little on crediting vegetables. Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables and full strength vegetable juice may contribute towards the vegetables requirement. The minimum credible serving size for any vegetable offering is one eighth of a cup. And it is credited based on volume, not weight. Over the course of a week, schools must offer vegetables from specific subgroups established by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These subgroups include dark green, red, orange bean/pea, starchy, and other. The additional vegetable requirements may be met with vegetables from any subgroup.
Jessica Gascoigne (25:27):
As we previously stated, there are some nuances with vegetables, for example, raw leafy greens credit at half the volume served. Cooked leafy greens, such as sauteed spinach are credited by volume as served. So to elaborate on that example, a half a cup of cooked spinach would credit as half a cup of dark green vegetables. Whereas one cup of raw chopped romaine would credit for half its volume, which is a half a cup of dark green. Beans and legume vegetables may be counted towards the meat/meat alternate, or the vegetable component groups, but not as both simultaneously. This is a rule because double counting would reduce the overall calories in the weekly totals. Vegetables in this group include roasted beans, such as roasted chickpeas or garbanzo beans, black beans, beans found in scratch made chili such as kidney beans, and noodles made from bean or legume flowers. All right, let’s quickly practice looking into this side garden salad, how does this side garden salad, credit? What information would you need feel free to add to the chat, the information that you think would be useful?
Jessica Gascoigne (26:52):
Yeah. Okay. I’m seeing ingredients list. Good. That’s a good start. So in this example, we can assume that we would need to know the ingredients and how we would credit this, is we’re gonna assume for this example that there’s one cup of romaine, which would credit for half a cup of dark green, a quarter cup of shredded carrots, and a quarter cup of cherry tomatoes. Adding those together. Since they’re both red /orange would provide half a cup of red, orange vegetables. If you’re unsure where to start, we would recommend finding out the portion served and then using the Food Buying Guide to determine the volume based on pounds of each vegetable mixed salads can include a variety of greens and or vegetables and can credit towards the appropriate vegetable subgroups, if a minimum of one eighth cup is offered.
Jessica Gascoigne (27:43):
Let’s move on to crediting in the fruit component group. Fruits that are fresh, frozen dried, or canned as well as full strength. Fruit juice may contribute towards the fruit component. The minimum credible serving size for any fruit is one eighth of a cup, just like vegetables. And it is also credited on volume, not weight. In the school meal programs, whole dried fruit and whole dried fruit pieces credit at twice the volume served. For example, if you have a quarter of a cup of raisins or dried cranberries, it would credit as one half cup of fruit. And then everyone’s favorite at lunchtime – juice. Juice credits as the volume served, so four fluid ounces credits as a half of cup for grades K through 12. No more than one half of the fruit or vegetable offerings over the week may be in the form of juice. Additionally, all juice must be 100% full strength juice. Diluted or concentrated juice is not creditable. Frozen 100% juice credits based on the volume prior to freezing. So schools should request this information from their manufacturers or distributors. When looking at a whole food item, such as fresh fruits, the USDA nutrient database and Food Buying Guide can be used to determine the nutrition and crediting. In this example, on the screen, looking at the Food Buying Guide and looking at whole strawberries, we would get 10.5 quarter cup servings or dividing that by two, for a larger portion, we would get 5.25 half cup servings of fresh strawberries per pound of strawberries.
Jessica Gascoigne (29:36):
Let’s practice crediting a whole fruit by looking at this pear. Feel free to answer in the chat if you have any suggestions, where do we need to look for crediting information for a fresh pear? Great. Yes, the Food Buying Guide, what other information would be helpful or needed to determine the crediting?
Jessica Gascoigne (30:06):
And lots of Food Buying Guides here; thank you. Yes. The size, the box count, all of those things. So we would need the pack size for the pears, and we can locate this information by checking the box it came from or where we ordered it from our distributors, our DOD favors programs, all of those have the information we would be looking for. Thank you for your answers, great job. For our last component group, let’s talk about milk. Schools must offer at least two different options of fluid milk, including unflavored milk in an eight ounce, eight fluid ounce portion. Under the transitional nutrition standards that take effect July one of this year for the upcoming school year, nutrition program off operators will be allowed to offer flavored low fat milk in addition to non-fat flavored milk and non-fat or low fat unflavored milk. Fluid milk that is used in smoothies can credit toward the milk component requirement if a portion contains at least one quarter cup. However, when a smoothie contains less than the required milk for a reimbursable meal, additional fluid milk must be offered. Milk used in preparation of menu items, other than smoothies, such as breads, puddings, macaroni, and cheese, and so on does not credit towards the milk requirement.
Jessica Gascoigne (31:29):
There are other foods used in meal service that often bring up crediting questions. Other foods are not credible as a component in the meal patterns. These items are frequently used as condiments or seasonings to add variety and to improve acceptability in the meal, such as maple syrup on pancakes, salad dressing on tossed greens and so on. While these extra foods do not credit towards the meal pattern component, school program operators do need to make sure that they’re included in the nutrient analysis and count towards the weekly calories, saturated, fat, and sodium, and are also trans fat free.
Jessica Gascoigne (32:08):
Now we’re going to switch gears and Brittany and I are going to go through some best practices as they relate to crediting. Our first best practice will focus on what to do in the case of a product substitution. We all know that schools across the country are experiencing supply chain issues and have received little notice that the ordered food product will not be provided as planned. As a result, schools have had to find other products to serve. Schools can document how these substituted foods meet the meal pattern requirements in a variety of ways. First in the case of a substitute beef patty for a hamburger entree school nutrition staff can check with the distributor to see if a CN label or product formulation statement is available for an alternate product. Please keep this documentation for future records. If you substitute, ideally you can find a product that provides the same two ounce equivalent MMA crediting as the previous burger. The best practice here is to have a backup product or an entree in mind for menu substitutions, and thus can easily be added into the production record as an alternate item.
Brittany Herman (33:19):
Our next best practice focuses on the importance of correct portioning. So with CN labels, the correct portioning of the product is required to have that crediting assurance. You may have noticed that some CN label products are served by volume rather than by the each. In this example, the CN label states that a 1.84 ounce serving of this cheese sauce product credits as a one ounce equivalent meat alternate. So how does the serving staff know how much cheese sauce to serve to equal the one ounce equivalent meat alternate serving? The answer is to weigh out the serving amount and determine the volume measure that provides the correct portion. So if the cheese sauce is served in small portion cups, the staff can weigh several portions to get the correct volume and then fill remaining portion cups to that same fullness. Remember to teach staff, to use the tear button on the scale, to remove the weight of the portion cup before adding the cheese sauce. And the pro tip that we have is to take a reference photo of the correct portion volume for weights for future use. Or you can consider marking a portion cup with a product name and fill line for individual portion reference.
Jessica Gascoigne (34:37):
Our next best practice focuses on a helpful tool for crediting scratch recipes. To help simplify the way you calculate meal pattern contributions in a standardized recipe, we recommend using the Food Buying Guide recipe analysis workbook on the Food Buying Guide interactive web-based tool. The online tool contains a user guide and training videos to help you use the recipe analysis workbook to credit recipes towards a meal pattern requirement. We do recommend that if you use this tool, you save a copy and upload a copy of the documentation into Health-e Pro for record keeping purposes.
Brittany Herman (35:18):
Next let’s review where to go for crediting local items that you may want to feature on your menu. For most items, the Food Buying Guide will be especially helpful here. Let’s say that you plan on offering fresh local tangerines on the menu in the winter months. What do you need to know about the tangerines in order to determine the crediting? Similar to the pear, you would need to know the count. So we’ll say that they come packed as a 120 count. In this example, from the Food Buying Guide, you can see that whole tangerines that are a 120 count, provide a 3/8 cup fruit serving. So because this is less than a half cup serving the menu planner might have to consider looking at serving two or instructing students who select a tangerine, that they also need to take another fruit to count as meeting the full fruit component for a reimbursable meal. Your state agency may also have a resource for how different sized fruits and vegetables that are local to your community credit. So they can be helpful to check in with as well.
Jessica Gascoigne (36:22):
For our last best practice, let’s take a look at how you would credit a mixture of vegetables, such as the California blend. In some cases you may be able to use the manufacturer provided data that clearly documents the ratio of vegetables in the ingredient list, which then allows you to credit the amounts towards a vegetable subgroup requirement. For example, if a mixture provides 25% broccoli, 25% carrots and 50% cauliflower, a one cup serving of this blend would provide a quarter of a cup dark green, a quarter of a cup red/orange, and a half of a cup of other vegetables. However, offering a vegetable blend does not require monitoring that each portion contains exactly the documented ratios. If a manufacturer documentation does not exist, program operators can estimate how much of each subgroup is in a vegetable mixture and credit it towards the appropriate subgroup. Remember that at least one eighth of a cup of vegetable must be present to credit towards any vegetable subgroup. If the quantities of different vegetables are not known and cannot be estimated, the vegetable mixture can credit as additional vegetables necessary to meet daily and or weekly vegetable minimums.
Brittany Herman (37:42):
So we wanted to end the presentation by touching on the transitional standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium final rule. In February of this year, USDA published a rule that establishes transitional standards for the next two school years, and three key areas- milk, whole grains, and sodium. For the upcoming school year, schools will be allowed to offer flavored low fat milk. In addition to unflavored or flavored non-fat milk. The sodium requirements will remain the same for breakfast and lunch in school year 22/23, but in school year 23/24, the sodium limit for lunch only will decrease. Marginally schools will have to meet what’s being referred to as the target 1A sodium requirement. And that’s gonna be about a 10% reduction in sodium from the current lunch meal pattern. For grains, the big change this upcoming year will be that at least 80% of grain served must be whole grain rich.
Brittany Herman (38:40):
So menu planners will have to plan their enriched grain offerings accordingly. So maybe you have an enriched biscuit product that your students really like with these new transitional rule standards, you would only be able to offer that once a week at breakfast, if you only had one entree available daily. And the other four days worth of breakfast entree items would need to be a whole grain rich item. With that said, this guidance is ever changing. And this is just what’s current as of today. Looking at the bigger picture USDA is working to develop long term nutrition standards. And those will be based on the newest Dietary Guidelines for Americans and input from key stakeholders, like all of you. They are expecting to publish a proposed rule on what that will look like this fall. So more to come.
Brittany Herman (39:37):
So we have covered a lot of information today and we couldn’t possibly get into all of the programs and all the different nuances associated with crediting, but we hope this was a really good overview for all of you. So we have provided lots of links here to resources we’ve mentioned throughout the webinar which will be shared with you after the presentation. We hope that it’s helpful to you to be able to dive into more detailed information around this topic. We also included some links to resources for crediting specifically, and the CACFP, and the SFSP programs that we weren’t able to fully dive into today for the sake of time. But Laura, we’ll be able to send these out in the email, along with the recording after, right?
Laura Thompson (40:24):
Yes, exactly. I was just gonna follow up with that. So we will be providing both the recording of this webinar as well as these slides as well. So that will be available to you whether or not you miss something, or you just wanna follow up with the resources, or if you wanna pass it along to a colleague. So these will be made available to you to be able to reference back to. So with that we would love to hear any questions you have, please submit them in the Q and A portion of the Zoom down below. But we also wanted to start with a few of the ones we received as people were registering, there was a field for, do you have any questions that you’d like answered? So we’re gonna start with a few of those, and then we’ll start going into the Q and A portion that people are submitting here. So one of the questions we received was what products are the ones to watch out for that credit differently in programs?
Jessica Gascoigne (41:13):
Brittany, I’ll take that one. So some of the products that we wanna watch out for would be some of the ones that were mentioned during our presentation. So like leafy greens, dried fruit, they credit at volume served in SFSP. CACFP has some stricter standards around sugar content of yogurt, for example, no more than 23 grams of sugar per ounce dry, and breakfast cereals, no more than six grams of sugar per ounce, dry. NSLP, SBP, CACFP all use ounce equivalents for grains, but CACFP requires at least one serving of grains per day to be whole grain rich across all eating occasions. And then in the fall, we will see that NSLP and SBP will require 80% of our grains to be whole grain rich. So another thing that would be different in those programs, preschoolers, schools may not serve grain-based desserts, like pop tarts, cinnamon rolls, cereal bars, donuts, in that age group. And you can find more information about that on exhibit A for the details of what would be allowed in that age group.
Laura Thompson (42:20):
Thank you. Awesome. Thank you. All right. Another question that came through was can the protein on a nutrition facts label be used to equate crediting to the meat/meat alternate component?
Brittany Herman (42:33):
Unfortunately, no. We can’t use the grams of protein on the label. You would have to use the Food Buying Guide or have documentation from one of the methods that we discuss in the presentation, like the CN label or the product formulation statement to determine the crediting.
Laura Thompson (42:51):
Here’s another one. If I make gelatin with 100% fruit juice instead of water, can I credit it as a fruit?
Brittany Herman (43:01):
So that is actually addressed in the Q and A document that we did include on that resource side, which will be shared with everyone. But just off the top of my head juice and gelatin cannot credit unless there’s visible fruit also present in that gelatin.
Laura Thompson (43:20):
Another one is how do you get the program to transfer the credits from the ingredient to the created recipe?
Jessica Gascoigne (43:28):
Okay. I think this question is probably specifically for Health-e Pro. So if Laura, if you’ll allow me to just elaborate a little, currently the Health-e Pro software is not able to do this. It’s manually done by a menu planner or a menu builder. But there is a new upgrade coming that will be released later this year. And users will be able to create a quick recipe from an ingredient and the meal components will populate from the ingredient. This will be a huge time saver when creating recipes from a single ingredient, and we’re definitely looking forward to it.
Laura Thompson (44:00):
What is the difference between a food item versus a food component at breakfast?
Brittany Herman (44:09):
I’ll take that one. So a food component, you wanna think of it like a food group. At breakfast a food component is gonna be one of three food groups. So you have your grain item, you have your fruit, or you can substitute a vegetable for that. And then your milk. A food item is gonna be a specific item offered within a food component group. So pancakes would be a food item in the grain food component group, peaches would be a food item in the fruit food component group. So you’re probably thinking of this in terms of offer versus serve. So a school would have to offer at breakfast, at least four food items from three different food from the three required food component groups, and then a student would have to select at least three food items from the four offered and include at least a half cup of a fruit or vegetable for a reimbursable breakfast.
Laura Thompson (45:10):
Do items like pickles or olives credit?
Jessica Gascoigne (45:16):
Oh, I can handle that one. Yes, they can credit as other vegetables. More information of how to credit these would be found in the Food Buying Guide. Because they’re higher in sodium, we typically see these items offered in a smaller portion, like a few pickle slices on a hamburger or a chicken sandwich rather than a half cup portion. But many programs do offer those as an additional item or an other vegetable in smaller quantities.
Laura Thompson (45:48):
Thank you. How do canned black eyed peas credit? Does this include USDA ones?
Brittany Herman (45:56):
So you have the option as a menu planner how you wanna credit them so they can be credited towards either the meat or meat alternate component group or that bean/pea vegetable subgroup. So if we were thinking of the USDA black eyed peas, for example, a half cup of those could credit as a half cup of either the legume vegetable, or as a two ounce meat/meat alternate, but not both.
Laura Thompson (46:25):
We appreciate all these questions coming in. We’re still trying to tackle them and kind of organize them a little bit. So keep bringing them in, and then we’ll, we’ll see what we have time to be able to get to. And some of these are kind of specific too, so we’ll see what we can address now versus what we can follow up with later. Here’s another one that came through is cheese credited by weight, too.
Jessica Gascoigne (46:45):
Yes. Most cheeses credit for ounce, for ounce, with the exception of specific cheeses like cottage cheese, parmesan, and ricotta. And again, you can find that in the Food Buying Guide, and it’ll tell you specifically what portion in terms of weight that you would get to credit for that.
Laura Thompson (47:04):
Thank you. Do tortilla chips that are treated with lime count as a whole grain?
Brittany Herman (47:12):
I would say in most cases they can credit towards the grains component. So the first ingredient would have to be a whole grain ingredient and say something like whole corn or corn treated with lime, and then the remaining ingredients would need to be enriched. I believe there’s a memo that goes into more detail about that one.
Laura Thompson (47:36):
Thank you. Another one that came through, how do extra foods like ice cream or pudding work if they’re offered as a promotional item with the purchase of a reimbursable meal?
Jessica Gascoigne (47:48):
Any extra or promotional foods such as a dessert that’s offered free of charge to students who purchase a reimbursable meal must be included in the nutrient analysis and fall within the weekly dietary specifications for calories, saturated fat, sodium, and so on for each age group.
Laura Thompson (48:08):
Another one that came through how to credit different lines in a food court style high school.
Brittany Herman (48:17):
So we might need a little bit more information to answer that question, but you would need to make sure that the meal components that you are offering on all the lines would that they’re offered in at least the minimum quantities on every serving line. And then something else to keep in mind, as we see that this can be confusing for some program operators is that if you have different serving lines with different menu items, each serving line needs to offer all the vegetable subgroups weekly. So for example, if you had a pizza line, you couldn’t necessarily just offer french fries every single day, unless the students also had access to maybe a centrally located garden or salad bar. If you didn’t have that option available, you would have to make sure that the vegetable subgroups were rotated on the different serving lines for that food court style method.
Laura Thompson (49:10):
Here’s another one. Can you confirm that if a recipe calls for one flour tortilla in Spanish rice, there are no whole grain creditable grants?
Jessica Gascoigne (49:21):
I would have to look, well, anyone would have to look at the Food Buying Guide as well as the ingredient list and the nutrition panel to see what is processed into that item. So if it starts with whole grain flour, excuse me, I’m sorry, whole grain flour or whole grain… it’s a flour tortilla, so not whole grain corn. And the same thing with Spanish rice, a Spanish rice was based in brown rice. There’s potential that there would be whole grain credible grams in there, but again, we’d have to do some digging and use the resources we talked about today to make sure what was in those products.
Laura Thompson (49:57):
Here’s another one. Did you mention that pop tarts can’t be served to pre-K? Sounds like a possible CACFP question here.
Brittany Herman (50:06):
Yes. So that, so pop tarts are considered a grain-based dessert. And if you do go back and look at that exhibit A document, there’s footnotes that kind of go into detail about different age grade groups that can get grain-based desserts or how they kind of vary among the program. So with preschoolers served under the national school lunch and school breakfast program they really can’t have any of the grain based desserts. Besides, I think, graham crackers are the exception there. So pop tarts, cinnamon rolls, even things like cereal bars all credit as grain-based desserts, and they’re not to be served to pre-K students.
Laura Thompson (50:44):
This question might be too specific or require too much math on the fly. I’m not sure, but we’ll see if we can tackle it now, if it’s, when we’re gonna have to follow up with, but it’s how do you configure pizza dough? 51% whole grain, 31.81 grams for crediting grain contribution.
Brittany Herman (51:02):
I think we might have to take that one offline. I think we need a little bit more understand,
Brittany Herman (51:06):
Answer that question.
Laura Thompson (51:07):
Totally understand. Here’s another one. How do you credit a corn relish, its own recipe in Health-e Pro, that is now used in a Southwest salad?
Jessica Gascoigne (51:21):
A corn relish. Is that, so, go ahead, Brittany.
Brittany Herman (51:26):
I was gonna say so if it is already, I don’t have the recipe in front of me to reference, but if it is already providing some level of meal contribution, if you were adding that in, in the same portion amount to a new recipe… like if it was a half cup of the relish, for example, credited as a quarter cup of starchy vegetable, that would translate as long as you were giving them that same portion in the new recipe, if that makes sense, but that might be another one that we have to follow up with a little bit more information.
Laura Thompson (52:03):
Here’s another one. What if pre-K students are commingled with other grade levels?
Brittany Herman (52:10):
So there is an exception to that with the meal pattern requirement. So in that case, the grain-based dessert limit wouldn’t necessarily apply and you would just serve them the k-5 meal pattern, but you do have to get approval through your state agency for that.
Laura Thompson (52:26):
Interesting, ok, thank you. Another one that’s coming in – can frozen yogurt credit towards the meal meat/meat alternate category.
Jessica Gascoigne (52:39):
Haven’t had that come up before. I don’t know. I’d have to dig a little for that answer to that.
Brittany Herman (52:45):
<Laugh> yeah, I bet that’s referenced in that Q and A document. I just can’t, I can’t recall off the top of my head and don’t wanna misspeak.
Laura Thompson (52:51):
I’m sure there’s a million different pieces of information trying to recall it at a moment’s notice. So if that’s understandable as well.
Brittany Herman (52:58):
Yeah, that document is very, very helpful though. I mean, it’s, I don’t know, it’s a hundred pages, maybe. There’s a lot of Q and A for really nitty gritty things like that. So I definitely encourage you to check that out after this webinar.
Laura Thompson (53:10):
And as a reminder, we will be sending out these slides in the recording as well. So if, if you’re curious about how to find some of these resources, that will be in that slide before this one right here. Let me see if I can go back to it. These links will be made available in the slides that we offer as well. So in case if you’re curious where anything is, there’s a whole bunch of resources that these ladies have put together that will be made available to you. Looks like those are the questions we have for today. I know there’s still some others coming through, but they’re gonna require some more specific follow up, but thank you again so much, Jessica and Britney, this has been very informative and I speak from what I’ve seen as far as the chats coming through and the responses that we’ve gotten from email.
Laura Thompson (53:49):
This was a topic that is very timely. So thank you so much for your expertise and your insight and your thoughts, and being able to share your experience with us. Because I think this has been very, very helpful, and just even some of the feedback we’re getting in the chat is a lot of appreciation and a lot of thank you. So thank you so much for your time. And if you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to Brittany or Jessica here. Their information is here. Their website at Pro Team Advisors is here. You can always also reach out to us as well at Health-e Pro. We’ve got our staff on call in order to answer some questions that you have, especially if you’re a Health-e Pro customer. So thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time. We know things are busy. We know things are crazy. We appreciate you taking time out of your day to come join us. So thank you so much and we’ll see you again soon.
Brittany Herman (54:33):
Jessica Gascoigne (54:35):