Smoothies Offered in the Child Nutrition Programs
This memorandum clarifies juice and yogurt allowances based on the child care and preschool meal pattern updates and incorporates the meal pattern flexibilities related to flavored milk. The flavored milk flexibilities apply to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and the Special Milk Program for Children effective beginning in school year 2019-2020 (July 1, 2019). Lastly, this memorandum changes the policy for commercially prepared smoothies. Commercially prepared smoothies can now contribute to the meat/meat alternate, fruit, vegetable, and milk components of the federal meal requirements for all child nutrition programs (CNPs). Allowing commercially prepared products provides variety to program operators seeking to include appealing and nutritious smoothies on their menus. This memorandum supersedes all previous guidance on smoothies including SP 10-2014 (v.3), CACFP 05-2014 (v.3), SFSP 10-2014 (v.3).
Use of Smoothies in the Child Nutrition Programs
Since 2012, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has allowed crediting for milk contained in fruit smoothies, provided those smoothies were prepared in-house. Effective immediately, smoothies containing milk are no longer required to be prepared in-house and may credit as long as the manufacturer adequately documents how the product meets federal meal requirements through a Product Formulation Statement or CN Label. This includes attesting that commercial mixes with milk are made using ingredients that meet federal, state, and local definitions for fluid milk in the area where served. School food service staff must ensure that the required 8 oz. of fluid milk is available to each child served and that at least one other unflavored, fat-free, or low-fat fluid milk is offered to meet the variety requirement for school meals.
FNS also allows for the crediting of yogurt in smoothies as a meat/meat alternate for all meals and snacks, including snacks and suppers served under CACFP and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). It is important for program operators to recognize that the addition of yogurt to a smoothie does not serve as a substitution for fluid milk. Fluid milk must be offered to meet the milk component requirement in all CNPs. (Please note, adults in CACFP may be offered 6 ounces of yogurt in place of 8 ounces of fluid milk once a day). Effective immediately, smoothies containing yogurt are no longer required to be prepared in-house and may credit as long as the manufacturer adequately documents how the product meets federal meal requirements. This includes attesting that yogurt in commercial mixes are made in compliance with federal definitions for yogurt.
Crediting of Fruits and Specific Vegetables
Smoothies containing vegetables have become more popular, and some program operators wish to provide this option to contribute toward the meal pattern requirements. FNS permits the crediting of any vegetables contained in smoothies. Pureed vegetables and fruits, (fresh, frozen, or canned), when served in a smoothie, credit as juice, and as such are subject to the limitations regarding juice service. Vegetables from the dry beans and peas subgroup may credit toward the vegetable meal pattern requirement as vegetable juice when served in a smoothie. This policy on the crediting of vegetables in smoothies applies in all CNP meals and snacks.
State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.