Developing a Menu with Serving Sizes


Options for Documenting a Menu with Serving Sizes 
Developing a Menu with Serving Sizes

Sample Menu



Per CACFP 01-2020 Documentation Requirements for the CACFP Meal Patternschild and adult care centers operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) must post dated, daily menus with serving sizes per age group for every meal and snack claimed.  This requirement replaced the previous requirement that centers complete Menu Production Records (MPR).

Note: At-risk programs, emergency shelters, and day care home providers are not required to document serving sizes on their menus or maintain MPRs.

The menu with serving sizes is typically different than the menus referenced in California licensing regulations that are developed for parents and guardians.  In the CACFP, a menu with serving sizes is used to document that the CACFP operator has met meal pattern requirements and as a communication tool for kitchen staff.

Options for Documenting a Menu with Serving Sizes

Per CACFP 01-2020 Documentation Requirements for the CACFP Meal Patterns, child and adult care centers operating the CACFP must use one of the four following options when documenting a menu with serving sizes:

  1. CDSS-developed menu with serving sizes templates, accessible in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS).  The two templates listed below include instructions, a completed sample menu with serving sizes, and a template for agencies to complete electronically.
    • Form ID CACFP 89: Daily Menu with Serving Sizes for Multiple Age Groups
    • Form ID CACFP 90: Weekly Menu with Serving Sizes for One Age Group
  2. CACFP Operator-developed menus with serving sizes.  CACFP Operators who choose to develop their own template must document the menu for each meal and snack served and the serving size of each food item for each age group served.  Use the guidance on this web page, under Developing a Menu with Serving Sizes, to understand how to create an acceptable menu with serving sizes.
  3. MPRs. CACFP Operators that choose to continue to use an MPR to meet the requirement for a menu with serving sizes are only required to complete the two columns titled Name and Form of Food Used and Serving Size (for each age group served).  All other columns on the MPR are optional.  The CNIPS includes the following MPR templates and instructions; however, CACFP Operators can also develop their own MPRs:
    • MPR—Child Care Centers: Form ID CACFP 28 (template) and 28A (instructions)
    • MPR—Adult Day Care Centers: Form ID CACFP 78 (template) and 78A (instructions)
  4. Transport Records.  CACFP Operators who receive vended meals can continue to use the Sample Transport Record template (Form ID CACFP 66 in the CNIPS) or their own transport record template to fulfill the requirement for a menu with serving sizes.  As a reminder, all fields must be completed, including the serving size for each food item served or the scoop number sizes for bulk foods.

Developing a Menu with Serving Sizes

The following guidance is for CACFP Operators who choose to develop their own menu with serving sizes.

General Menu Requirements

  • Menus must be dated and include the name of each food item (e.g., strawberries, oranges), not just the name of the component (e.g., fruit), served each day to meet the meal pattern requirements.
  • Menus must include the serving size for each age group served.  If all age groups are served the minimum serving size for the oldest age group served, menus only need to include that one serving size.
  • Menus must include the fat content of every type of milk served (e.g., whole, 1 percent [low-fat], fat-free [nonfat or skim]), and whether each milk type is unflavored (plain) or flavored for each age group.
  • Menus must document which food item meets the requirement of one whole grain-rich (WGR) food item each day.
  • Menus must reflect substitutes made.  For example, if broccoli is listed on the menu but spinach was served, indicate this substitution on the menu.
  • Menus only need to include the nondiscrimination statement if the menu is available to the public and includes additional information regarding the CACFP.

Using Legends

A legend that includes general information about the entire menu may only be used for:

  1. Serving sizes for fruit (cups) and vegetables (cups).  Note: It is optional to note in the legend that leafy greens credit as half the volume served (e.g., ½ cup lettuce credits as ¼ cup vegetable) and dried fruits credit as twice the volume served (e.g., ¼ raisins credits as ½ cup fruit) but not required as long as food service staff are aware of the conversion and provide the correct serving size for these food items.
  2. Serving sizes, percent fat, and unflavored (plain) or flavored for milk (cups or oz)
  3. Grain food items that meet the daily WGR requirement.  For example, “All grains are WGR”, “Asterisks note WGR food items”

Legends must not be used to document single component grain and single component meat/meat alternate (M/MA) food items (see section: Documenting Single Component Grain and M/MA Food Items).

Documenting Single Component Grain and M/MA Food Items

Single component grain and meat/meat alternates (M/MA) food items are foods that contain one creditable component.  For example, single component grain food items include bagels, rice, and cereal; single component M/MA food items include beans, eggs, cheese, and chicken.

Serving sizes must be listed next to food items for single component grains and single component M/MAs in the menu for each day.  Legends do not clearly identify the serving size for these components since the serving size may be listed in a variety of ways—as shown in the table below—and must not be used.

Grain Food Items and Serving Sizes M/MA Food Items and Serving Sizes
Bread, 1 slice
Rice, ¼ cup
Pasta, ½ ounce equivalent (oz eq). Note: If oz eq used, staff must know that ½ oz eq pasta = ¼ cup cooked (1/2 oz dry)
Bagel, ½ each
Cornbread, 1 piece
Refried beans, ¼ cup
Egg (whole, large), ¼
Chicken breast, 1 oz
Cheese, ½ oz
Yogurt, ½ cup
Peanut butter, 1 tablespoon

Note: CACFP Operators must provide the grains component in the minimum serving sizes listed in the CACFP meal patterns tables (e.g., ½ oz eq); however, the serving size for the grains component is not required to be listed on the menu as oz eq.  For example, if ¼ tortilla provides ½ oz eq, it may be clearer to communicate to food service staff how much to serve if the serving size is listed on the menu as “Tortilla, ¼” instead of “Tortilla, ½ oz eq.”

Documenting Mixed Component Food Items

Mixed component food items contain two or more meal pattern components.  For example, a grilled cheese sandwich contains a grains component (bread) and a M/MA component (cheese).

Mixed Component Food Items (No Recipe, CN Label, or PFS)

Mixed component food items that are not accompanied with a recipe, Child Nutrition (CN) Label, or product formulation statement (PFS) from the manufacturer must include the serving size of each component in the mixed component food item separately on the menu since there is no back-up documentation to communicate with the kitchen

Menu example: Grilled cheese sandwich (1 oz cheese, 1 slice bread)

Mixed Component Food Items Made Using a Recipe

Mixed component food items made using a recipe may list the serving size of the food item on the menu without documenting the contribution of each component separately only if the recipe lists the serving size and the contribution of each component per serving.  For example, a recipe for Chicken Alfredo may state that when prepared as instructed, a ¾ cup serving provides 1½ oz M/MA and ¾ oz eq grains.

Menu examples: Chicken Alfredo (¾ cup), Grilled cheese sandwich (½ each)

Mixed Component Food Items Accompanied with a CN Label or PFS

Mixed component food items accompanied with a CN Label or PFS may include the serving size of the entire food item without documenting the contribution of each component separately, since the serving size and contribution of each component in a serving is documented on the CN Label and/or PFS.

Menu examples: Pizza (1 slice), Chicken nuggets (4 each)

Sample Menu

The three-day sample menu below meets the menu with serving sizes documentation requirements for a child care center serving lunch to children ages 1–5.

In this sample menu, the same serving size for the entrée is provided to each age group on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is allowable for any single or mixed component food items, provided that the minimum serving size is met for the oldest age group.  For example, a CACFP Operator who serves the same serving size of fruit to children ages 1–5 at lunch, would need to provide ¼ cup to both age groups, which is the minimum serving size for ages 3–5 at lunch. In that situation, the CACFP Operator could simply list, Fruit (¼ cup) in the legend without listing the serving size for each age group separately.

Legend Monday Menu and Serving Sizes Tuesday Menu and Serving Sizes Wednesday Menu and Serving Sizes
Age 1: 4 oz (½ cup) whole unflavored milk

Ages 2–5: 6 oz (¾ cup) 1% unflavored milk

Ages 1–2: 1/8 cup
Ages 3–5: ¼ cup

Ages 1–2: 1/8 cup
Ages 3–5: ¼ cup

Asterisk (*) denotes WGR
Chicken nuggets:
4 each (ages 1-2)
5 each (ages 3-5)

Roll*, ½ each

Baby carrots


½ Turkey sandwich:
Turkey, 1 oz
Bread*, 1 slice

String cheese, 1 each



Pasta*, ¼ cup
Meat sauce, 3 oz


Apple slices


This sample menu with legend is acceptable, provided that the CACFP Operator maintains the back-up documentation listed below.

  • CN Label or a PFS for the chicken nuggets (Monday) and meat sauce (Wednesday) if they are commercially processed products.  A recipe is required if they are homemade products.
  • CN Label or a PFS for the turkey lunch meat (Tuesday) if it is a commercially processed product.  Documentation is not required if the turkey is unprocessed (e.g., turkey is the only ingredient and there is not an Ingredients list with multiple ingredients and flavoring agents).  For more information on crediting luncheon meats, see Crediting Luncheon and Processed M/MA in the CACFP.
  • Nutrition Facts labels and Ingredient lists for the following packaged foods on the menu:
    • Each type of milk served
    • Roll (Monday), unless homemade; then a recipe is required
    • Bread (Tuesday)
    • String cheese (Tuesday)

For questions about this topic, contact the CACFP Meal Patterns Team at

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

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Contact Us

CDSS Child and Adult Care Food Program
744 P Street, MS 9-13-290
Sacramento, CA 95814

Have menu or Meal Patterns questions?  Email us at

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