University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal


Planning Healthful Meals & Snacks

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Since cheese is high in fat and cholesterol, should we serve it to adults?
Cheese is a good source of protein, calcium and riboflavin. Serve low-fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella, part-skim ricotta, reduced-fat American or Cheddar cheese, or reduced-fat cottage cheese.

2. What is the difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt?
Frozen yogurt typically has less fat and more protein than ice cream. Ice cream has 10% to 18% fat or more by weight. Because there is no standard of identity for frozen yogurt, different brands have different levels of fat, sugar and other ingredients. Frozen yogurt and low-fat ice cream are other alternatives to regular ice cream. However, frozen yogurt and low-fat ice cream are not necessarily lower in calories than regular ice cream. These frozen dairy products do not count in the Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern.

3. What is the difference between butter and margarine?
Both margarine and butter get 100% of their calories from fat. Butter is a fat made from milk. Margarine is made from vegetable oil. It is made solid by the process of hydrogenation. Both butter and margarine supply the same number of calories per serving. Margarine may be in liquid, soft, or stick. Different kinds of margarine may vary in the amount of saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats that they contain.

4. What types of desserts should we serve? How often should we serve desserts?
Only certain types of desserts are creditable in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. You can serve fruits as often as desired for dessert. Grain-based desserts such as cakes and cookies are not creditable in the CACFP as a dessert at lunch or supper. However, you may serve grain-based desserts as a component of snacks. Do not serve cookies and other baked products for snacks more than 2 times per week. Some desserts are high in sugar and fat, and should only be eaten in moderation.

5. How many calories do older adults need?
The average daily caloric need of older adults range between 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day. The number of calories needed depends on several factors, including the amount of physical activity, amount of lean body mass, and existence of any chronic health conditions that can affect calorie needs.

6. How often can we serve eggs to older adults?
To limit cholesterol intake, aim for no more than 3 whole eggs each week. This includes eggs served plain and those used in baked or cooked products. There is no limit on egg whites, because they have no cholesterol.

7. Can we serve water as the beverage at snack time?
Yes, you can and should offer water as a beverage in addition to the required 2 snack components. Older adults need to be offered water throughout the day. Other fluids such as fruit juice and milk count towards the fluid requirements.

8. Are there good and bad foods?
The nutritional quality of a diet is not defined by any single food, but rather the diet eaten over time.

9. What advice can we give older adults who request a vegetarian diet?
You should caution older adults that unless the vegetarian diet is carefully planned, essential nutrients may not be supplied in the amounts needed.

10. How many servings of the Grain group do older adults need each day?
Depending on how many calories they need, most older adults need to consume the equivalent of 5 to 8 ounces from this food group each day. In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta count as 1 ounce.

11. Can a diet high in fruits and vegetables help with vision problems?
Yes, a diet high in fruits and vegetables will increase intake of beta-carotene, which can help with vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration. Studies have shown that consuming dietary antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables (such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) can help reduce vision problems.

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Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.