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Preschool Meal Pattern Resources







Flavored Milk is not allowed. A variety of milk is not required. Schools may serve one allowable milk to all preschoolers.


CNP Meal Pattern Comparison

Whole Grain Rich

At least one serving per day must be Whole Grain Rich

All grains must be whole grain or enriched. Creditable grains include whole grains, enriched grains, bran, and germ.


USDA Grain Requirements Q and A

Grain Based Desserts

Not allowed.

Examples of grain based desserts include brownies, cookies, sweet pie crusts, doughnuts, cereal bars, granola bars, breakfast bars, sweet rolls, pastries, toaster pastries, sweet scones (e.g., blueberry, raisin, and orange cranberry) cake, rice pudding, and sweet bread pudding. Grain-based desserts do not include muffins, quick breads (such as banana bread and zucchini bread), cornbread, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and savory scones (such as cheese and herb).

Sweet crackers such as Animal Crackers and Graham Crackers.

USDA Grain Based Desserts Memo

Breakfast Cereal

Cereals must be whole grain, enriched, or fortified. May not contain more than 6 grams of sugar per dry ounce


Team Nutrition: Breakfast Cereal Fact Sheet


Must not contain more than 23 grams of sugar per 6 ounces


Team Nutrition: Yogurt Fact Sheet 

Offer Vs. Serve

Not allowed

Unless students are co-mingled with K-5 students and using the K-5 meal pattern

USDA Flexibility for Co-Mingled Preschool Meals: Q and A

Breakfast-Meat/Meat Alternate

The meat/meat alternates component is not required at breakfast. May substitute meat/meat alternates for the entire grains component up to three times per week (regardless of the number of days in the week).



Vegetables and Fruit Components



100 % Fruit and Vegetable Juice

Breakfast-Vegetables and fruit are one component. Schools may serve vegetables, fruits, or both.

Lunch-Vegetables and fruits are two separate components.


Juice may count toward the entire vegetables component or fruits component at only one meal or snack per day.



USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.