On March 16, 2020 the USDA released a new version of the Crediting Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program. This new version is aligned with the new meal pattern that became effective 10/1/2017.
The Food Buying Guide and the Crediting Handbook are designed to work together. Think of the Food Buying Guide as the textbook and the Crediting Handbook as the crib notes.
The Crediting Handbook has a table for each of the food components with a simple Yes/No/Maybe categorization of different foods. Each section is color-coded by food component. Here is an example from the meat/meat alternate section:
Here are some suggestions of how to utilize the new Crediting Handbook:
- Print a copy for each classroom in your facility. Use a hole-punch and a book ring and hang the Crediting Handbook on the bulletin board for easy reference. Place each page in a page protector for even more durability. Encourage staff with CACFP duties to refer to the Crediting Handbook for a reminder of the meal patterns or determining if a food is creditable.
- Use the Crediting Handbook as part of new employee orientation. The approachable tone and clean graphics makes the Crediting Handbook a great resource for training new employees on the CACFP meal pattern requirements and credible foods.
- Feature the Crediting Handbook in your annual CACFP training. All staff and volunteers with CACFP responsibilities are required to be trained annually on the parts of the CACFP relevant to their job and Civil Rights. Rather than creating training materials from scratch, use the Crediting Handbook! The Q&A sections lend themselves to quizzes and the sections on calculating sugar limits and identifying whole grains are a natural for small group activities.
- Make the Crediting Handbook available for parents. Parents will often ask about CACFP meal pattern requirements and how meals and snacks are planned. The Crediting Handbook can be an easy go-to for parent questions. If you have a website, you could link to the Crediting Handbook on your page with your facility menu.
At My Food Program, we’re big fans of anything that makes the CACFP easier, and the Crediting Handbook is definitely in that category. We’re also experts on the USDA Food Buying Guide and have incorporated the yield calculations right into our software. Contact us today to find out how My Food Program makes the CACFP easier through software.