Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Crediting Smoothies Offered in Child Nutrition Programs

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
SP 40-2019, CACFP 17-2019, SFSP 17-2019
Response Required
Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Reference

No references available.

Memo Text




The purpose of the memo is to provide guidance on policy changes and general updates to outdated resources/website links and updated questions and answers related to the use of smoothies offered in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).


The guidance in this memorandum supersedes all previously published guidance related to the crediting of smoothies in the NSLP, SBP, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP).


In the past, smoothies were required to be prepared in house.   Commercially prepared smoothies are now allowed in Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs) as long as there is adequate crediting information such as a Product Formulation Statement or a Child Nutrition (CN) label provided by the manufacturer indicating how the product credits in the Federal meal pattern.   Smoothies do not have to contain a full meal component in order to be served and credited toward the meal pattern.  However, program directors must make sure that meal components are offered in sufficient quantities each day to all students in order to meet the requirements of the CNP meal patterns. 


Crediting fluid milk

  • Milk used in smoothies must be consistent with CNP guidance.
  • At least one other unflavored, fat-free, or low-fat (1%) fluid milk must be offered to the students.
  • Yogurt in smoothies does not take the place of the milk requirement.
  • The smallest creditable amount of milk that can be served in a smoothie and credited to the meal pattern is ¼ cup.

Crediting meat/meat alternate

  • Yogurt in smoothies can credit as a meat/meat alternate but cannot be credited as a substitution for milk.
  • The minimum creditable amount of meat/meat alternate that can be credited is .25 ounces.
  • Probiotic yogurt mixes or drinkable yogurt does not credit in CNPs.
  • Yogurt is the only item in a smoothie that can credit as a meat/meat alternate.
  • Yogurt used in smoothies for CACFP programs must not exceed 23 grams of sugar per 6 ounces of yogurt.
  • Peanut butter in smoothies does not credit as meat/meat alternate, but must be considered in the dietary specifications for calories, saturated fat, and calories.

Crediting vegetables and fruits

  • Pureed vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen, or canned) contained in smoothies credit as juice.
  • Limitations apply regarding juice in that no more than ½ of the vegetables and fruits offered can be in the form or juice.  This applies in all CNP meals and snacks.
  • Vegetables from the dry beans and peas (legume) subgroup in a smoothie may credit toward the vegetable meal pattern requirement as a vegetable juice.
  • The minimum amount of vegetables and fruits that can be credited is 1/8 cup.

Crediting grains

  • Grains included in a smoothie do not credit toward the meal pattern.
  • Grains can be served with a smoothie, e.g. granola, and credited, but the granola cannot be an ingredient in the smoothie.

The attached United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) memo along with the questions and answers will give further clarification for changes concerning crediting smoothies.


If you have additional questions please contact your Area Specialist at 501-324-9502.


Attachment: SP 40-2019.


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