Crediting Foods, Regulations & Food Labels



For a list of creditable foods for children 1 year to 13 years, click here.



Recently, some cheese manufacturers have changed the formulation of their cheese. This means that some of these cheeses are no longer creditable for the food program.


Cheese labeled "imitation cheese," "cheese product," and "cheese dip" contains ingredients that are not allowed in cheeses that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


When claiming cheeses, make sure that the package says:

  • Natural Cheese

  • Cheese Spread

  • Cheese Food


Natural cheeses such as: cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack cheese are made directly from milk. Cheese spread and cheese foods are made with natural cheese plus ingredients to create a soft cheese that melts easily. When serving cheese food or cheese spread, plan on buying twice as much. It takes about 2 ounces of cheese spread or cheese food to equal 1 ounce of natural cheese.


Look at the package carefully to see what kind of cheese you are buying. Stay away from cheeses labeled "cheese product" or "imitation cheese."


Cheeses that are not creditable include:

  • Kraft American Singles (cheese product)

  • Regular Velveeta "Loaf"/Block (cheese product)

  • Velveeta Light "Loaf"/Block (cheese product)

  • Velveeta Cheese Original Shredded (cheese product)

  • Kraft Easy Cheese (cheese snack)

  • Cheez Whiz (cheese dip)



Even though some prepared boxed or frozen items are not creditable the way they have been manufactured, food items may be added to them during the cooking process to make them creditable. Below is an explanation of how to write out meals that have been homemade or have components added to them.


Frozen or Delivery (Take Out) Pizza - Because there is no way of knowing the amount of toppings the manufacturer has placed on the pizza, the only creditable component is the crust as a bread/grain.

  • To make the pizza creditable as a meat/meat alternate component ADD cheese, pepperoni or another meat/meat alternate to the purchased pizza.

  • To make the pizza creditable as a fruit/vegetable component ADD mushrooms, sauce or another fruit/vegetable. No matter how many fruit/vegetable components are added, the pizza can only be creditable as one fruit/vegetable on the menu. Another fruit/vegetable component must be served on the side. To let us know what component is the side dish, SD should be written on the menu next to the appropriate item. An example of how this should be written is located below.



Cheese (added) 

Mushrooms/Onions (added)

Peaches (SD)




Homemade Pizza - If a pizza is made from scratch, one meat/meat alternate, one fruit/vegetable & one bread/grain can be credited because the provider is able to place the required amount of toppings on the pizza. However, only one fruit/vegetable component is allowed. A side dish of a fruit/vegetable will also need to be served. An example of how this should be written is located below.


Pepperoni (HM) 

Tomato Sauce

Pineapple (SD)





Boxed Macaroni and Cheese - Any form of a boxed macaroni and cheese dinner from a manufacturer is only creditable as a bread/grain component. In order to claim this meal as a meat/meat alternate component, ADD cheese during the cooking process. Cheese may also be served as a side dish (SD) to meet the meat/meat alternate requirement. An example of how this should be written is located below. (The cheese added must be natural cheese, cheese spread, or cheese food. Please refer to the creditable cheese section above for questions.)



Cheese (added) 

Green Beans






Canned Pasta Meal (Ravioli & Spaghetti) - Straight from the manufacturer, canned pasta meals are only creditable as a bread/grain component. To claim this as a meat/meat alternate ADD a meat/meat alternate during the cooking process. Tomato sauce in these products is NOT creditable. Cheese may also be served as a side dish (SD) to meet the meat/meat alternate requirement. An example of how this should be written is located below.



Cheese (added) 



Spaghetti O's 






  1. COMBINATION FOODS: A combination food is defined as a single serving of food that contains two or more of the required meal components.

  2. MINIMUM PORTION SIZE: The minimum portion size is the smallest amount of food that can contribute to meeting the meal/snack requirements. The minimum portion size for components found in combination foods are: Meat/Meat Alternate- at least 1/2 (one-half) ounce by weight or equivalent, Fruit/Vegetable - at least 1/4 (one-fourth) cup by volume, Bread/Grains - at least 1/2 (one-half) slice of bread or equivalent.

  3. NON-CREDITABLE PORTION SIZES: Small amounts of food (portion sizes less than the minimum portion size) that are used as garnishes, seasonings, or breading (unless a CN label is present or it is a Schwann's product) do not contribute to the meal pattern requirements. Examples include but are not limited to:


  • less than 1/4 cup of raisins sprinkled on top of a serving of oatmeal

  • less than 1/4 cup of pickles on top of a hamburger patty

  • less than 1/4 cup of onion in a serving of tuna salad

  • bread crumbs sprinkled on top of a casserole

  • less than 1/4 cup of mushrooms on top of single serving of pizza

  • less than 1/2 ounce of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of a serving of vegetable, pasta or other food


Categories: There are three categories of combination foods. Crediting restrictions and examples follow. The examples of combination foods are products made from "scratch" (homemade), from a standardized recipe, and contain the minimum component portion size or the entire required component size.


Menu Writing Tip: Use HM to identify homemade combination dishes. List only the foods that contribute to the meal pattern requirements. DO NOT list non-creditable portion sizes, herbs, spices, etc.


1. Main Dish/Entree Combination Foods

  • May contribute to no more than a total of three components.

  • Must contain a meat/meat alternate component.

  • May contribute to no more than a total of one fruit/vegetable component.



     HM Beef Stew (Beef, carrots and potatoes)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component and one fruit/vegetable component.

  • Must also serve milk, one bread/grain component and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Beef Vegetable Soup (Beef, carrots, potatoes, onions and celery)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component and one fruit/vegetable component.

  • Must also serve milk, one bread/grain component, and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Chili (Ground beef, kidney beans and tomatoes)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component and one fruit/vegetable component.

  • Must also serve milk, one bread/grain component, and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Lasagna (Ground beef, cheese, tomatoes and pasta)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component, one fruit/vegetable component, and one bread/grain component.

  • Must also serve milk and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Tuna Noodle Casserole (Tuna, cheese, peas, mushrooms and noodles)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component, one fruit/vegetable component and one bread/grain component.

  • Must also serve milk and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Tacos (Ground beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and taco shells)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component, one fruit/vegetable component and one bread/grain component.

  • Must also serve milk and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.  


     HM Hamburger Deluxe (Ground beef, tomato, lettuce, bun, garnished with pickle and onion)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate component, one fruit/vegetable component and one bread/grain component.

  • Must also serve milk and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Pizza (Cheese, sausage, tomato sauce and crust, garnished with green peppers, and olives)

  • Contributes to one meat/meat alternate, one fruit/vegetable component and one bread/grain component.

  • Must also serve milk and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


2. Side Dish Combination Foods

  • May contribute to no more than two components.

  • May contribute to no more than a total of one fruit/vegetable component.



     HM Broccoli and Rice Casserole (Broccoli and rice)

  • Contributes to one fruit/vegetable component and one bread/grain component.

  • Meets snack requirements.

  • Must also serve milk, one meat/meat alternate component, and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


     HM Cauliflower with Cheese (Cauliflower and cheese)

  • Contributes to one fruit/vegetable component and one meat/meat alternate component at snack only.

  • Must also serve milk, meat/meat alternate (as part of the main dish), one fruit/vegetable component, and one bread/grain component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.


3. Beverage Combination Foods

  • May contribute to no more than two components.

  • Must be made from fluid milk.

  • May contribute to no more than one fruit/vegetable component.



     HM Banana Cow (Milk and Banana)

  • Contributes to the milk component and one fruit/vegetable component.

  • Meets snack requirements.

  • Must also serve meat/meat alternate, grain/bread, and one fruit/vegetable component to be a reimbursable lunch or supper.



Commercially prepared baby food is reimbursable except for the following:


1. Commercially prepared baby "desserts" DO NOT contribute to the infant meal requirements. Examples of commercially prepared baby desserts include but are not limited to: Banana Apple Dessert, Dutch Apple Dessert, Fruit Desserts, Fruit Yogurt Desserts, Puddings, Custard Puddings, Fruit Cobblers, Hawaiian Delight, and Tutti Frutti.


These foods are typically high in sugar and contain a variety of ingredients.


2. Commercially prepared baby combination foods and dinners DO NOT contribute to the infant meal requirement. Examples of combination foods and dinners include but are not limited to: Macaroni & Cheese, Chicken & Rice Dinner, Vegetable Beef Dinner, Turkey & Green Beans, Chicken & Broccoli, and Ham & Apples.


There is no way to determine exactly how much of each ingredient is included in combination baby foods and dinners.


3. Commercially prepared baby "fruit-type" products: Fruit-type products, which include juice as one of the ingredients DO NOT contribute to the infant meal requirements.


It is important to read labels on "fruit-type" products to determine if they contribute to the meal pattern. Some products are made from JUICE(S) or JUICE(S) AND FRUIT, along with a variety of other ingredients. Typically these are citrus ("pineapple" or "orange") combination products.


4. Cereals: Adult "hot cereals" (oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc.) do not contribute to the infant meal requirements. Only iron-fortified, dry, infant cereals contribute to the infant meal requirements. Infant cereals with fruit in them are NOT creditable.


5. Commercially prepared baby fruits "with Tapioca": The Child Care Food Program DOES ALLOW a fruit "with tapioca" to contribute to the infant meal requirements because the number of fruits without tapioca are limited.


General Guidelines Regarding Commercially Prepared Baby Foods


  • Read the ingredients label.

  • Buy single ingredient foods.

  • Avoid foods with water listed as the first ingredient.

  • Avoid foods with added fat, salt and sweeteners.

  • Avoid foods with added fillers, modified food starch and tapioca.




To view the Infant Meal Pattern Requirements and Serving Sizes, click here.



Calls To Our Office for Meal Absence: USDA requires that when a provider and the children are out of a home at a meal service time, the provider MUST call in to report the absence prior to leaving the home. If a call is not made, reimbursement will not be provided for that meal.


Special Menu Usage: If a provider is found to be using the special menu (Ready Made Regular Menus, Quick Codes, On-Line or Cycle Menus) options incorrectly, use of all special menu options will be disallowed immediately.


Contacting Households: At any time we, the sponsoring organization, have the right to contact an adult member of the household in which a child lives to verify attendance, enrollment and meal service at the family day care home in which the child is enrolled.


Submitting Claims: Claims need to be postmarked by the 5th of the following month and checks will be mailed when funds are received from the Michigan Department of Education. Claims postmarked after the 5th are considered late and MAY NOT be reimbursable. 


Mid Michigan Child Care Centers, Inc. only has 60 days from the last date of a claim, to request funds from the Michigan Department of Education. Any claims received after the final deadline will not be paid.


Accuracy Matters: Menus and Meal Attendance Sheets need to accurately reflect the meals served to children. Fraudulent claiming can result in suspension and termination from the food program.


Holiday Notes: If children are attending day care on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day, a signed note from the parent stating that their child was in care on the specific holiday is required to be sent in with the claim that the holiday falls into.



Below is a list of items that will be considered Serious Deficiencies. If you are found to be seriously deficient, the provider will be given a chance to correct the deficiency. If the deficiency is not completely and permanently corrected, the provider will be terminated from the food program.


  • Failure to keep required records. (No menus or attendance sheets or missing menus and attendance sheets.)

  • Failure to allow the representative in the home to conduct a review.

  • Submission of false information on the application.

  • Submission of a false claim for reimbursement.

  • Simultaneous participation under more than one sponsoring organization.

  • Conduct or conditions that threaten the health and safety of a child(ren) in care or the health and safety of the public.

  • A determination that the day care home has been convicted of any activity that occurred during the past seven years that indicated a lack of business integrity, or the concealment of such conviction. A lack of business integrity includes fraud, antitrust violations, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, receiving stolen property, making false claims, obstruction of justice or any other activity indicating a lack of business integrity as defined by the state agency.

  • Failure to participate in CACFP training.

  • Any other circumstances related to the non-performance under the provider/sponsor agreement. 


If a provider/home is terminated from the food program they will not be able to participate in any child care food program for seven (7) years, during which time their name remains on a Federal List.


If a provider/home has been found seriously deficient, all future reviews will be unannounced and the provider will be required to record menus and attendance at point-of-service.



The monitoring function of this program shall be for the purpose of assisting Providers in meeting minimum nutritional requirements and accurately reporting data needed to compute reimbursement rates with a minimum of error.


The Sponsoring Organization maintains the right and has the responsibility to assure that its operation is consistent with the law, the Child Care Food Program Regulations, terms of Agreement between the Sponsoring Organization and the Michigan Department of Education, and the terms of the Agreement between the Sponsoring Organization and the Provider.


When the Sponsoring Organization finds a Provider to be in violation of the Sponsoring Organization/Provider Agreement or the rules of the Program, the Provider may be terminated or suspended (withholding payment for one or more months) from the sponsorship of the Mid Michigan Child Care Centers, Inc.


Notification of termination or disciplinary action to the Provider on the part of the agency must be done in writing by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, with a copy to the state agency. Effective with the date of this letter, no further reimbursement will be paid. A copy of the following procedure must accompany this letter, as well as the copy to the state agency.



If the Provider feels the termination or suspension from the Child Care Food Program by Mid Michigan Child Care Centers, Inc. is unjust, he/she may appeal by initiating the following Review Procedure:


  1. The Provider may request (by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested) review of the negative action within 15 calendar days of receiving notice of action from the Sponsoring Organization. The review will be conducted by the Administrative Review official (or disinterested party) or his/her designee.

  2. If the Provider has requested a review, the Provider shall be provided with at least ten calendar days advance written notice (sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested) of the time and place of the review.

  3. The Sponsor shall acknowledge receipt of the request for review within ten calendar days and provide for the review at a specified time and place for both parties within three weeks of the receipt of the Provider's request. The Provider will be notified of the agreed-upon time and place of the review (by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested). Failure of the Provider to appear at the review shall constitute the Provider's waiver of the right to further appeal unless the review official agrees to reschedule the review.

  4. The review official shall make a determination based on information provided by the Provider and Sponsoring Organization, and on program regulations.

  5. The review official shall inform the Provider (by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested) and the Sponsoring Organization within two weeks of the determination of the reviewer, with a copy to the state agency. (YES or NO - no explanation is necessary.)



Research has shown that eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis. And the grocery store shelves are full of foods with packaging promising to help do that.


But it's important to take a close look - beyond the promises - at the nutritional values, ingredients, and calorie counts in the food you buy, and to understand how they factor into your family's healthy eating.


Food labels provide this information and allow you to make smart choices to help meet your family's nutritional needs.



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) require labels on almost all packaged foods that include nutrition information in readable type. The information usually appears on the back or side of packaging under the the title "Nutrition Facts." It's also displayed in grocery stores near fresh foods, like fruit, vegetables, and fish.


The nutrition facts label includes:

  • a column of information -"% Daily Value" - that shows what portion of the amount of daily recommended nutrients the product provides, based on a 2,000 calorie diet

  • information about total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, fiber, and other nutrients

  • serving size


Additional information on the food label will include:

  • content claims, such as "light" or "low-fat," that must meet strict government definitions so that they are accurate and consistent from one food to another

  • health claims, like "While many factors affect heart disease, diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of this disease," which must meet government requirements for approval

  • ingredient list



At a glance, it may appear as though everything on the shelves either adds fiber to your diet or reduces fat intake. To make healthy, informed food choices, it's important to understand: food label claims; serving sizes; calorie requirements; percent daily values; and important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.



Manufacturers often make claims about the healthfulness of a food on the front of a package - like "fat free" or "no cholesterol." Many people wonder if they can trust these claims to be true. The fact is, the FDA does require the food-maker to provide scientific evidence in order to make those claims. Even so, it's a good idea to carefully read the claims and understand what they mean.

  • Reduced fat means that a product has 25% less fat than the same regular brand.

  • Light means that the product has 50% less fat than the same regular product.

  • Low fat means a product has less than 3 grams of fat per serving.


Even if a food is low in fat, the food may not necessarily be low in calories or nutritious. Even a low-fat food can be high in sugar. Food companies also may make claims such as "no cholesterol," but that does not necessarily mean the product is low in fat.



At the top of each food label is an amount listing for serving size. These are determined by the food manufactuer, and they're based on the amount that people generally eat. All of the information about the nutritional value of the food that is listed on the label is given according to the serving size. So if a serving size is 2 crackers and you eat 4 crackers - which would be two servings - you need to double all of the nutritional information.


The number of servings per container tells you how many serving sizes are in the whole package. So if one serving is 1 cup, and the entire package has 5 cups, there are five servings per package.



A calorie is a unit of energy that measures how much energy a food provides to the body. The number of calories that's listed on the food label indicates how many calories are in one serving.



The second number, calories from fat, tells the total calories in one serving that come from fat. The label lists fat so that people can monitor the amount of fat in their diets. Dietitians generally recommend that no more than 30% of calories come from fat over the course of the day. That means that if the food you eat over the course of a day contains 2,000 calories total, no more than 600 of these should come from fat.



Percent daily values are listed in the right-hand column in percentages, and they tell how much of a certain nutrient a person will get from eating one serving of that food. If a serving of a food has 18% protein, then that food is providing 18% of your daily protein needs based on 2,000 calories per day.


Percent daily value is most useful for determining whether a food is high or low in certain nutrients. If a food has 5% or less of a nutrient, it is considered to be low in that nutrient. A food is considered a good source of a nutrient if the percentage is between 10% and 19%. If a food has 20% or more of the percent daily value, it is considered high in that nutrient.


The information on food labels is based on an average diet of 2,000 calories per day, but the actual number of calories and nutrients that kids need will vary according to their age, weight, gender, and level of physical activity. 


So use food labels as a guide to determine whether a food is generally nutritious, but don't worry so much about calculating the nutrients down to the exact ounce as long as your kids are healthy. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.



This number indicates how much fat is in a single serving of food and it's usually measured in grams. Although eating too much fat can lead to obesity and related health problems, our bodies do need some fat every day.


Fats are an important source of energy - they contain twice as much energy per gram as carbohydrate or protein. Fats provide insulation and cushioning for the skin, bones, and interal organs. Fat also carries and helps store certain vitamins (A, D, E, and K).


But because eating too much fat can contribute to health problems, including heart disease, adults and kids older than age 2 should have about 30% of their daily calorie intake come from fat.



The amount of saturated fat appears beneath total fat. The FDA also required food-makers to list trans fat separately on the label.


Saturated fats and trans fats are often called "bad fats" because they raise cholesterol and increase a person's risk for developing heart disease. Both saturated and trans fat are solid at room temperature (picture them cloggin up arteries!)


Saturated fat usually comes from animal products like butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, and meats. Trans fats are naturally found in these foods, too. But they're also in vegetable oils that have been specially treated, or hydrogenated, to be solid at room temperature - the fats in stick margarine and shortening, for example. Some cookies, crackers, fried foods, snack foods, and processed foods also contain trans fats.


Saturated fats should account for less than 10% of the calories that kids eat each day, and the amount of trans fat that they consume should be as low as possible (less than 1% of total calories).



Unsaturated fats are also listed under total fat. These are fats that are liquid at room temperature. Foods high in unsaturated fat are vegetable oils, nuts, and fish. Unsaturated fats are often called "good fats" because they don't raise cholesterol levels as saturated fats do. Most fats should come from sources of unsaturated fats.



Cholesterol, usually measured in milligrams, is listed under the fat information. Cholesterol is important in producing vitamin D, some hormones, and in building many other important substances in the body. Cholesterol can become a problem if the amount in the blood is too high, though, which can increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a blockage and hardening of arteries that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.


Most of the cholesterol a person needs is manufactured by the liver. However, dietary sources such as meat and poultry, eggs, and whole-milk dairy products also contribute to cholesterol levels.



Sodium, a component of salt, is listed on the Nutrition Facts label in milligrams. Small amounts of sodium are necessary for keeping proper body fluid balance, but too much can contribute to high blood pressure. Almost all foods naturally contain small amounts of sodium but many processed foods contain greater amounts.



This number, listed in grams, combines several types of carbohydrates: dietary fiber, sugars, and other carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the most abundant source of calories. Up to 60% of a child's total calories should come from carbohydrates. The best sources are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.



Listed under total carbohydrate, dietary fiber itself has no calories and is a necessary part of a healthy diet. High-fiber diets promote bowel regularity, may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and can help reduce cholesterol levels.



Also listed under total carbohydrate on food labels, sugars are found in most foods. Fruits contain simple sugars but also contain fiber, water, and vitamins, which make them a healthy choice. Snack foods, candy, and soda, on the other hand, often have large amounts of added sugars. Although carbohydrates have just 4 calories per gram, the high sugar content in soft drinks and snack foods means the calories can add up quickly, and these "empty calories" usually contain few other nutrients.



This listing tells you how much protein is in a single serving of a food and is usually measured in grams. Most of the body - including muscles, skin, and the immune system - is made up of protein. If the body doesn't get enough fat and carbohydrates, it can use protein for energy. Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, soybeans, and dried beans. Anywhere from 10% to 20% of the calories that kids consume each day should come from protein.



Vitamins A and C are two important vitamins, which is why they're required to be listed on the Nutrition Facts label. The amount of each vitamin per serving is measured in percent daily values - so eating a food with a percent daily value of 80% vitamin C gives you 80% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Vitamin A, which usually appears first on a food label's list of vitamins and minerals, is important for good eyesight and helps maintain healthy skin. It's found in orange vegetables, such as carrots and squash, and in dark green, leafy vegetables. The body uses vitamin C to build and maintain connective tissues, heal wounds, and fight infections. Vitmain C is found in citrus fruits, other fruits, and some vegetables.


Food companies might also list the amounts of other vitamins.



The percentages of these two important minerals are required on labels and measured in percent daily values. Food companies can also list the amount of other minerals.


Calcium has a lot of uses in the body, but is best known for its role in building healthy bones and teeth. Milk and other dairy products are excellent calcium sources. Kids between the ages of 1 and 3 need 500 milligrams of calcium per day, while 4- to 8-year-olds need 800 milligrams. The calcium requirement for kids ages 9 to 18 jumps to 1,300 milligrams per day - the equivalent of 4 to 4 1/2 cups (about 1 liter) of milk. It's easy to see why most teens in the United States don't get enough calcium every day, but calcium can also be found in other foods, such as fortified orange juice, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables.


Iron helps the body produce new, healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen, so it's important to get adequate iron. Teenage girls and women need extra iron to compensate for that lost in the blood during menstration. Meat is the best source for iron, but it's also found in iron-fortified cereals, tofu, dried beans, and dark green, leafy vegetables.



Food labels must also include the ingredients that are in the product, listed according to how much of the ingredient the food contains.


Reading the ingredient list is especially important if someone in your family has a food allergy. The American Academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology estimates that up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies, and that eight foods account for 90% of food allergy reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts.


Since 2006, food-makers have been required to clearly state on food labels (after or next to the list of ingredients) whether a product contains these allergens.


In some cases, it's easy to identify what's safe to eat by checking the listed ingredients on a label. However, some ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction may be listed under an unfamiliar name. A dietitian can provide suggestions on what foods to avoid and hidden ingredients to beware of.



Here are some guidelines on using food labels to plan nutritious and healthy meals:

  • Offer kids a variety of foods. Give them a variety of healthy foods - including lean meats and fish, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy, vegetables, and fruits - helps ensure that they get a wide variety of nutrients.

  • Choose a diet low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Limit total fat intake to no more than 30% of total calories per day.

  • Read serving size information. What looks like a small package of food can actually contain more than one serving.

  • Limit foods with added sugar.

  • Pay attention to the amount of sodium in the foods you buy.

  • Choose healthy snacks rather than cheese puffs, which are high in calories, fat, and sodium and low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Healthy snacks shoud include fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.

  • Be skeptical of low-fat junk food. If the fat has been eliminated or cut back, the amount of sugar may have increased. Many low-fat foods have nearly as many calories as their full-fat versions. Likewise, check the lables of low-carb versions, which may be high in fat and calories.


Use your food label savvy to create a healthy, well-balanced diet. It might seem complicated at first, but it can help you make good choices when shopping for your children.


To receive a certificate of training hours you must complete a quiz based on the material above. You are required to get all questions correct. If you do not get 100% on the quiz the first time, you may take it over again. The results of the quiz will be emailed to Mid Michigan Child Care Food Program. When we receive the results of your quiz, a certificate of training completed will pop up that you can print. A copy of the certificate will also be emailed to you. 


Crediting Foods, Regulations, & Food Labels Quiz


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