CSFP Special Edition: Food Package Updates August 2019

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commodity supplemental food program - special edition - food package updates

August 2019

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Featured Food: Brown Rice

Brown rice is an exciting new addition to the CSFP Food Package that is expected to arrive in multifood warehouses in October 2019!  This addition will provide another whole grain option in the food package.

All rice options will soon be offered in a one pound unit, enhancing the opportunity to provide this healthy option in addition to other grains.  As compared to white rice, brown rice provides more fiber, magnesium, B Vitamins, and other nutrients that are beneficial for the health of seniors. 

We encourage you to talk to your clients about this product and include it in your plans for distribution under the enhanced food package beginning November 1, 2019.

brown rice

Nutrition and the Enhanced CSFP Food Package: Focus on Grains

My Plate Grains

Last month we highlighted the nutrition benefits of the Protein Food Group and the changes made to the CSFP Food Package that will now offer more flexibility to issue different combinations of meat, poultry, fish, and plant-based protein. This month, we will review the Grains Food Group in the enhanced CSFP Food Package. This article will review the nutrition benefits of eating grains and how the enhanced CSFP Food Package better aligns with MyPlate recommendations.

MyPlate recommendations are based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to MyPlate, “Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.”

The enhanced CSFP monthly food package divides grains into two categories:

  • Cereal Category – Grits were added to this category and the package sizes for grits and oatmeal were reduced to simplify distribution and improve variety and flexibility.
  • Pasta and Rice Category – Brown rice was added to this category and the package size was reduced to increase variety and flexibility. Also, this category was renamed. It was called the “potatoes and grains category” but potatoes were moved to the vegetable category, and the category name was updated to reflect the items offered.

We encourage CSFP providers to make a variety of cereals, rice, and pasta options available for participants each month.


Here are some benefits of eating foods from the Grains Food Group:

  • Whole grains contain fiber and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Eating foods with fiber, such as whole grains, can improve digestive health by reducing constipation.
  • Eating whole grains may help with weight management.
  • Whole grains contain many nutrients including thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, which are important for metabolism.
  • Whole grains contain folate which helps the body make red blood cells. They also contain iron which is used to carry oxygen to the blood.
  • Whole grains contain magnesium which is important for building strong bones. They also contain selenium which is important for a healthy immune system.

The MyPlate website offers a lot of information.  We invite you to visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more guidance. It is important to remember that MyPlate recommendations are not written for individuals with chronic disease conditions. Those individuals should follow the advice of their medical provider or a Registered Dietitian who is familiar with their health status.  

Webinar Opportunities

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Title: Are you Ready for the CSFP Food Package Changes? 

Date: September 19, 2019 at 1:00pm ET

Description: Join us Thursday, September 19th to find out if you are ready for the CSFP Enhanced Food Package that goes into effect November 1st 2019. This webinar will cover transition updates regarding direct shipment purchase status’ and food availability from the National Warehouses including when to expect new foods and package sizes to be available for multi-food ordering. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to ask any additional questions before implementing the enhanced food package.

Click here to register!

Planning Tips for August

Provide information to your volunteers on what will be changing in your food package beginning November 1.  Consider revising posters, signs, or other documents used to help your volunteers pack CSFP Food Packages correctly. 

It is also time to begin to forecast your food package needs for the first few months of 2020.  Determine which items you will need, in what quantities, and when, so you can plan orders appropriately.  

The webinar scheduled for September 19, Are you Ready for the CSFP Food Package Changes? will help you determine when new foods will be available, so be sure to register and mark your calendar!

CSFP Sharing Gallery


The CSFP Sharing Gallery is a great place to find new resources including recipes, presentations, and nutrition education materials. This month, we are highlighting a cookbook developed by the National Commodity Supplemental Food Program Association (NCSFPA). This cookbook features dozens of recipes that use ingredients that can be found in the CSFP Food Package. Inside you will find quick and easy recipes for salads and side dishes, dips and sauces, main dishes, and desserts. Check out this resource and share some of your favorite recipes with your CSFP participants!

If you are interested in contributing content to the CSPF Sharing Gallery, please review our Sharing Gallery Criteria for submitting materials. Send your handouts, recipes, cookbooks, lessons and other resources that fit into our categories to USDAFoods@usda.gov. Please review our Recipe Criteria for submitting recipes.

How to Stay in the Know with CSFP Communications

1. Click here to review or modify your subscription preferences. 

2. Enter your email address and click "Submit."

3. Check the boxes to select your topic(s) of interest. For CSFP communications, scroll down to the Food Distribution category and click the plus sign to the left of the check box to expand the list and view all the topics. For webinars, scroll down to the Webinars category.

*CSFP Food Package Updates --> receive this special monthly e-letter with news, resources, and tips to prepare for the rollout of the enhanced CSFP Food Package in November 2019

*CSFP Nutrition Education --> receive a quarterly e-letter with updates about the latest resources added to the CSFP Sharing Gallery

*Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) --> receive our regular "Household Highlights" e-letter covering CSFP and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) every four months

*Webinars - CSFP --> receive all webinar announcements related to CSFP

4. Visit the subscriber preferences page any time you would like to review, add, or delete subscriptions. Questions? Contact USDAFoods@usda.gov.

5. Share the new subscriber link with interested colleagues and friends!

Learn more at https://www.fns.usda.gov/csfp or contact us at USDAFoods@usda.gov.

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