Copying menus. What Centers and Center Sponsors need to know before Oct. 1st.

 

Copy. And Paste. But do it now.

Copy and paste any menus that you plan to reuse (such as cycle menus or seasonal menus) to future months now, while you still can. Those menus will be merged into the new meal pattern on Oct. 1st.

Copying and pasting from the old meal pattern to the new meal pattern will NOT be available after Oct. 1st.

Starting on Oct. 1st, it will not be possible to copy and paste menus from prior months. On Oct. 1st, center accounts will be converted to the new meal pattern. Menus made on the new meal pattern can be copied and pasted to future months.

Menus on the old meal pattern cannot be copied and pasted to the new meal pattern, after October 1st.

Review.

Review scheduled menus to make sure that they meet the new meal pattern requirements.

Make sure that…

  • Juice is planned for no more than once per day.
  • There is a vegetable at each lunch and dinner.
  • A whole grain-rich food is planned at least once per day.
  • Grain based desserts have been removed.

Mark your calendar for Oct. 1st to check for missing components by looking for lowercase letters on the Menu Calendar screen.

Some meals may lose components during the merge process (such as lunches and dinners that had 2 fruits, 1 fruit will be lost during the merge process). On Oct. 1st or after, check the Menu Calendar screen. Any scheduled menu that is missing a component will be listed with a lowercase letter (balpde). These are most likely lunches and dinners that included 2 fruits OR food items that are no longer approved (such as grain based desserts).

 

 

 

Minute Menu HX – Meal Pattern Change Webinars

The new meal pattern changes are right around the corner, and we want to make sure that all your colleagues and providers are ready to use KidKare before October 1st, 2017.

We are are offering two training webinars where you will learn how to use the new food tool in Minute Menu HX, how to switch your providers over to the new meal pattern, how to use the new sponsor preferences, and much more. Reduce the stress and register for both webinars, and become confident that your team will have a smooth meal pattern change roll-out with KidKare.

Additional help for meal pattern changes can be found at help.minutemenuhx.com.

Sponsors Take Action: Manage Your Foods
Learn how to use the new food tool! Learn how to add new foods to your food list, remove foods with a future removal date, setup food rules, and more!

New Meal Pattern Changes for Minute Menu HX and KidKare
We’ll discuss how to switch providers to the new meal pattern, the new sponsor preferences associated with the new meal pattern changes, and changes to KidKare.

To get a link to share with your colleagues click here.

As always, our support team is standing by to help. Contact us at hxsupport@minutemenu.com.

Thank you again for being a Minute Menu HX customer!

Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement

The new Fruit/Vegetable requirement splits the previous ONE component (Fruits/Vegetables) into TWO separate components. (Fruits. And Vegetables.)

But what does this mean for our providers and how can we train them the most effectively?

Let’s break it down.

What is changing for…

  • Breakfast? Nothing changes. Provider’s can still serve a fruit or a vegetable for breakfast.
  • Snack? Providers can serve a fruit with a vegetable for a reimbursable snack. This adds flexibility for the providers!
  • Lunch/Dinner? Providers must serve at least one vegetable. Two vegetables can be served. But two fruits cannot be served. At least one vegetable must be served at lunch and dinner starting on Oct. 1 2017 otherwise the meal will not be reimbursable.

Since the change has the deepest impact on lunches and dinners and could result in a disallowance if providers do not comply after Oct. 1st 2017, focus your training on serving at least one vegetable at lunch and dinner. Phrasing it like this is much easier to remember and implement. Which one of these phrases do you think is easier to understand?

  1. The vegetable/fruit component is now split into two separate components.
  2. Start serving a vegetable with lunch and dinner!

(I vote #2!) Start training providers to “serve a vegetable with lunch and dinner” now! Talk about it at home visits, post it on your company social media pages, send a broadcast message from HX to all providers, add it to your email signature for a few weeks, mention it when providers call, and get the message out to providers any way you can!

I would even encourage you to create master menus for lunch/dinner and make sure that they all include a vegetable. Watch the Master Menu training video for more information!

You can also use the food combination rules feature to help train providers on this new requirement. Set up a Food Combination rule that generates an error message when two fruits are served at lunch and dinner. (If two fruits are served, that means a vegetable was not served.) This rule should be set to provide a “warning” message (not a disallowance) since meals that meet the current meal pattern are still allowable (even in states in early implementation) until Oct. 1 2017. The error that is generated can be internal only or you can choose to make it visible to providers. To setup a Food Combination rule go to Administration > Food Combinations.

For more information on how to setup a food combination rule, please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern blog article.

Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern

Start training and preparing providers for the new meal pattern now! Whether you’re in an early implementation state or not, there is a lot of training that needs to happen to get your providers up to speed.

The USDA memos are clear that providers should NOT be disallowed for meals that meet the current/soon-to-be-old meal pattern. (Just read the Technical Assistance section of the Early Implementation memo.) So instead of just taking away foods that are not allowed under the new meal pattern (but are reimbursable until then) you can generate error messages for the providers to see, which will help you train them over the next several months and allow them to continue claiming reimbursable meals. Setting this up will only take a few minutes of your time and it will help prepare your providers for some of the changes.

For example, even though grain-based desserts will not be allowed soon (Oct. 1 2017) they are STILL ALLOWED between now and then. So rather than just removing all grain-based desserts from your food list, you can generate error messages that notify providers that they are not allowed under the new meal pattern. This allows them to continue claiming reimbursable meals but also receive technical assistance and training on the new meal pattern.

Use the Food Frequency Rules feature to setup “rules” for any foods that are not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern.

Create rules for:

  • Limiting juice to once per day
  • Limiting juice to zero times per day, week, or month for infants
  • Limiting grain-based desserts to zero times per day, week, or month
  • Limiting protein at breakfast to 3 times per week*

In Minute Menu HX go to Administration > Food Frequency Rules. Any rules created for the new meal pattern change should be set to “warn” only (not disallow) with the exception of the protein at breakfast rule. Watch the Food Frequency Rules training video for more detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

Please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video for even more information about how to prepare your providers using the tools and features already available in Minute Menu HX.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement blog article!

*Only if you are in an early implementation state that is already allowing a protein at breakfast. Contact the Minute Menu Support Team to have protein items added to the grain section of your food list, for breakfast ONLY, as a temporary work around to allow providers to start claiming those foods. Then, once the protein items have been added, create a Food Frequency Rule limiting those protein items at breakfast to 3 times per week. Since protein at breakfast is NOT part of the current meal pattern, anything over 3 should be disallowed. For this reason, set this rule to disallow (not warn).

Update Your Master Menus to Increase Vegetables and Whole Grains

Master Menus are a fantastic tool that sponsors can use with both homes and centers to give them easy-to-use meals that, when served in the right quantities, are always compliant and reimbursable.  With the new meal pattern changes coming, don’t forget to update your Master Menus to reflect the new requirement for at least 1 vegetable at lunch and dinner and 1 serving of whole grains per day.

Go ahead and update your lunch and dinner master menus now.  Make sure that each one has at least one vegetable planned.  And while you’re at it, consider making half or more of them contain a whole grain for the bread/bread alternate. You might even cut down on the number of Master Menus that contain juice, so that your sites are less likely to serve it more than once per day.  Updating and upgrading your Master Menus now means one less thing to worry about as the deadline approaches in 2017.

The same goes for Cycle Menus and EZ Menus.  Update them and have your sites serving compliant meals long before you have to worry about disallowing.

New CACFP Meal Patterns and Minute Menu Systems

It’s an exciting time in the CACFP! The new meal pattern has finally been announced.  And the good news is that it’s pretty reasonable—both in the changes it makes for better child nutrition and in the implementation timeline.

Whether you use Minute Menu HX or Minute Menu CX, we know that you have questions about how and when our software will be able to accommodate the new meal pattern.  Some of those questions we can answer and even do now. Some of those questions are going to require research, planning, and software changes to implement.

In each and every case, the software that you, your providers, and your centers use will be fully compliant before the implementation date of October 1, 2017.

And as always, we’ll be providing training videos and other materials to help make this transition as smooth as possible for your internal team and for your providers and centers.

Early Implementation

USDA released a memo on early implementation of the new meal pattern, and we are in the process of discerning which portions of the meal pattern you’ll be able to switch to early and which portions will need to wait on new software development to comply.  In the meantime, it’s important to remember that early implementation is always voluntary and meals cannot be disallowed for following the current meal pattern prior to October 1, 2017.

If your state informs your office that it will choose to opt-in to some or all of the changes that are eligible for early implementation, please pass along that communication to us as soon as you receive it.  We will be able to use that information to determine the priority for making any necessary changes to our software.

Individual Allowances for Early Implementation

Fortunately, it looks like most of the individual allowances that can be implemented early will be simple additions to your food lists once your State Agency authorizes those changes.  This includes:

  • Reimbursing infant meals when the mother breastfeeds on-site (no change required)
  • Allowing yogurt, whole eggs, and ready-to-eat cereals under the infant meal pattern (simple additions and changes to your custom food list)
  • Counting tofu and soy yogurts as a meat alternate (simple additions to your custom food list)

We are working on a plan for early implementation of the meat and meat alternate at breakfast allowance and whether that item can be made available prior to completing all of the other changes needed for the full meal pattern update.

Full Meal Pattern Update Early Implementation

We’ll be working on our plan for rolling out the full meal pattern changes, in which we hope to include some enhancements to the software that will make dealing with foods and nutrition analysis easier for you.  In the meantime, we are anticipating further guidance from USDA over the coming months on what they will be requiring from a record-keeping standpoint and a monitoring standpoint.  Until the full requirements and expectations for implementing the updated meal patterns are understood, we are in planning-only mode.  We have no doubt that USDA will supply CACFP operators and participants with detailed requirements and operational instructions in plenty of time to make these changes in the software for the effective date of October 1, 2017.  Until we see more information, however, we will not be able to announce when or if early implementation of the entire new meal pattern will be possible.