Fluid milk, along with yogurt and cheese, should continue to be an important part of government-funded meals and snacks served to children and adults in day care and afterschool programs, according to a report released last week by an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee. All meals served through the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, the committee noted, should include fluid milk, providing some participants up to three servings a day. Additionally, natural cheese and low-fat and fat-free versions of yogurt should be included as meat alternates or as an alternative to fluid milk.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides meals and snacks to three million children and 114,000 adults who participate in programs hosted in family child care settings or day care centers. The meals and snacks must meet nutritional requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the current requirements are based on nutritional guidance that is at least 20 years old. Although the recommendations set forth by the IOM report are not binding, they may be used by regulators or legislators as the basis for requiring changes to the program.
The committee encourages providers to serve whole milk to children under the age of two, while low-fat and fat-free varieties are recommended for participants two years of age and older. Flavored milk would be allowed for participants ages five and older in afterschool and adult programs. The flavored milk must be fat-free and contain no more than 22 grams of sugar per one-cup serving of milk, which would allow approximately 10 grams of added sugar.
Low-fat and fat-free yogurt would be limited to 40 grams of sugar per 8 ounces of yogurt. Natural cheese also would be allowed, with lowfat varieties encouraged but not required. Processed cheese, however, would not be allowed to be part of meals or snacks served through the federal program.
Read the full report here.
For more information, members may contact Michelle Matto, IDFA's consultant on nutrition and labeling, at email@example.com.