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Buying in Bulk Can Be Healthy and Cost-Effective

Written collaboratively by Paige Pappadackis and Kaila Weihe under the direction of Jennifer Folliard and Francesca Benson.

Schools continue to provide food to children in a “grab-and-go” style due to COVID-19. Many schools are packing more than one meal for families to pick up. SDSU Extension has put together a chart of typical bulk purchased food items and how many servings can be expected in each serving. All canned items are recorded in 10-5-12 oz. (#1 Picnic Can), 20 oz. (#2 Can), 14-16 oz. (#300 Can), and 6.5-7.5 lbs. (#10 Can).1

Milk

  • Milk (1% unflavored or Fat Free Flavored or Unflavored):
    • Helpful Conversions
      • 16 cups in 1 Gallon
      • 8 cups in ½ Gallon
      • 4 cups in 1 quart

Amount of Milk Needed Per # of Children per Household for 1 Week

# of Kids
# of cups Needed/Week
Amount of Milk Needed/Week
Total # of Cups
1
5 cups
½ gallon
8 cups
2
10 cups
½ gallon + 1 quart
12 cups
3
15 cups
1 gallon
16 cups
4
20 cups
1 gallon + 1 quart
20 cups

*Numbers based on schools providing 1 meal a day.

Fruits

  • Fruits (½ cup):
    • ½ cup fruit/day x 5 days = 2.5 cups/week/child

Canned Fruit

Fruit Amount
Total # of Servings 
Per Unit (½ cup)
# of Children/5 servings/week
Applesauce #1 Can
(Picnic) 
2.62

0.52 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Applesauce #2 Can
4.28

 0.86 children.

You will need ~1-1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Applesauce #10 Can
23.8 
4.76 (~4.5-5 children).
Applesauce #300 Can
3.49

0.70 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Halves,
(w/juice)
#1 Can
(Picnic)
2.60

0.52 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Halves,
(w/juice)
#2 Can
4.25

0.85 children.

You will need ~1-1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Halves,
(w/juice)
#10 Can
23.6
4.72 (~4.5-5 children).
Peaches, Halves,
(w/juice)
#300 Can
3.46

0.69 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Slices #1 Can
(Picnic)
2.75

0.55 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Slices #2 Can
4.5

0.9 children.

You will need ~1-1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Slices #10 Can
25.0
5 children.
Peaches, Slices #300
3.67

0.73 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Diced #1 Can
(Picnic)
2.67

0.53 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Diced #2 Can
4.37

0.87 children.

You will need ~1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Peaches, Diced #10 Can
24.3
4.86 (~4.5-5 children).
Peaches, Diced #300 Can
3.56

0.71 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Diced
(w/juice)
#1 Can
(Picnic)
2.62

0.52 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Diced
(w/juice)
#2 Can
4.28

0.86 children.

You will need ~1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Diced
(w/juice)
#10 Can
23.8
4.76 (~4.5-5 children).
Pears, Diced
(w/juice)
#300 Can
3.49

0.70 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Halves
(w/juice)
#1 Can
(Picnic)
2.86

0.57 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Halves
(w/juice)
#2 Can
4.68

0.94 children.

You will need ~1-1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pears, Halves
(w/juice)
#10 Can
26.0
5.2 (~5 children).
Pears, Halves
(w/juice)
#300 Can
3.81

0.76 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Chunks (w/juice) #1 Can
(Picnic)
2.75

0.55 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Chunks (w/juice) #2 Can
4.5 

0.9 children.

You will need ~1-1 ¼ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Chunks (w/juice) #10 Can
25.0
5 children.
Pineapple, Chunks (w/juice) #300 Can
3.67

0.73 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Crushed (w/juice) #1 Can
(Picnic)
2.73

0.55 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Crushed (w/juice) #2 Can
4.46

0.89 children.

You will need ~1-1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple, Crushed (w/juice) #10 Can
24.8
4.96 (~5 children).
Pineapple, Crushed (w/juice) #300 Can
3.64

0.73 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple Slices (w/juice) #1 Can
(Picnic)
2.61

0.52 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple Slices (w/juice) #2 Can
4.28

0.85 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Pineapple Slices (w/juice) #10 Can
23.8
4.76 (~4.5-5 children).
Pineapple Slices (w/juice) #300 Can
3.49

0.70 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Fruit Cocktail
(w/juice)
#1 Can
(Picnic)
2.58

0.51 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Fruit Cocktail
(w/juice)
#2 Can
4.28

0.85 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Fruit Cocktail
(w/juice)
#10 Can
23.5
4.7 (~4.5-5 children).
Fruit Cocktail
(w/juice)
#300 Can
3.45 

0.69 children.

You will need ~1 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

 

Fresh Fruit

Fruit Amount
Total # of Servings
Per Unit (½ cup)
# of Children/5 servings/week
Oranges, Fresh. 125 ct.
1 orange = 5/8 cup
Pound
3.5

0.7 children.

You would need ~1 ½ lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Orange, Fresh, Sections Pound
1.8

0.36 children.

You would need ~3 lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Banana, Fresh, Reg 100-120 ct.
1 reg banana = ½ cup
Pound
3.5

0.7 children.

You would need ~1 ½ lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Grapes, Fresh, Seedless Pound
5.3
1.06 (~1 child).
Grapes, Fresh, With Seeds Pound
5.1
1.02 (~1 child).
Honeydew Melon,
Fresh, Cubed
Pound
2.5 

0.5 children.

You would need 2 lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Peach, Fresh Small, 84 ct.
1 peach = ½ cup
Pound
4.1

0.82 children.

You would need ~1 ¼ lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Peach, Fresh Medium, 60 ct.
1 peach = ¾ cup
Pound
2.7

0.54 children.

You would need ~2 lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Pear, Fresh Small, 150 ct.
1 pear = ½ cup
Pound
5.5
1.1 children.
Pear, Fresh Medium, 120 ct.
1 pear = ¾ cup
Pound
3.3

0.66 children.

You would need ~1 ½ lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

Strawberries, Fresh, Whole Pound
5.3
1.06 (~1 child).
Watermelon,Fresh, Cubed,
w/o rind
Pound
3.1

0.62 children.

You would need ~1 ½ lbs. to feed 1 child all week.

 

Vegetables

  • Vegetables (¾ cup):
    • 1 cup = 4 – ¼ cups
    • Each child needs ¾ cup/day x 5 days = 3 ¾ cups each week
    • 3 ¾ cups = 15 – ¼ cups

Canned Vegetables

Vegetable Amount
Total # of Servings
Per Unit (¼ cup)
# of Children/5 servings/week
Green Beans, Cut, Drained #1 Can
(Picnic)
4.98

0.33 children.

You will need ~3 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Green Beans, Cut, Drained #2 Can
8.15

0.54 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Green Beans, Cut, Drained #10 Can
45.3
3.02 children.
Green Beans, Cut, Drained #300 Can
6.65

0.44 children.

You will need ~2 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Tomato, Spaghetti Sauce,
Meatless
#1 Can
(Picnic)
5.26

0.35 children.

You will need ~3 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Tomato, Spaghetti Sauce,
Meatless
#2 Can
8.62

0.57 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Tomato, Spaghetti Sauce,
Meatless
#10 Can
47.9
3.19 children.
Tomato, Spaghetti Sauce,
Meatless
#300 Can
7.03

0.47 children.

You will need ~2-2 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Carrots, Sliced #1 Can
(Picnic)
4.09

0.27 children.

You will need ~4 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Carrots, Sliced #2 Can
6.69

0.44 children.

You will need ~3 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Carrots, Sliced #10 Can
37.2
2.48 children.
Carrots, Sliced #300 Can
5.46

0.36 children.

You will need ~2 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

Salsa #1 Can
(Picnic)
5.42

0.36 children.

You will need ~3 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Salsa #2 Can
8.87

0.59 children.

You will need ~2 cans to feed 1 child all week.

Salsa #10 Can
49.3
3.29 children.
Salsa #300 Can
7.23

0.48 children.

You will need ~2-2 ½ cans to feed 1 child all week.

* These numbers reflect the number of children fed if given the same vegetable all week. It does not take into consideration the NSLP vegetable subgroups.

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetable Amount
Total # of Servings
Per Unit (¼ cup)
# of Children/5 servings/week
Broccoli, Florets, Fresh,
trim RTU
Pound
28.8
1.92 children.
Carrots, Sticks
RTU, ½ x 4 in.
Pound
15.4
1.03 children.
Carrots, Baby,
RTU, raw
Pound
12.9
0.86 children.
Carrots, Shredded (fresh) Pound
19.9
1.33 children.
Cauliflower, Raw, Florets
1 med. = 6 c. 
Pound
12.3
0.82 children.
Celery, Raw, Sticks
RTU, ½ x 4
Pound
14.0
0.93 children.
Cucumbers, Raw, Sliced Pound
12.4
0.83 children.
Cucumbers, Raw, Diced Pound
11.1
0.74 children.
Lettuce, Iceberg Head RTU Pound
29.2
1.95 children.
Lettuce, Iceberg Shredded Pound
22.2
1.48 children.
Lettuce, Salad Mix Pound
26.4
1.76 children.
Peppers, Green/Red, Raw, Diced Pound
9.7
0.65 children.
Pickles, Sliced, Chips, Drained

Gallon:
Pound:

                  Gallon: 60.3
                  Pound: 11.1

Gallon: 4.02 children.
Pound: 0.74 children.

Pickles, Spears Gallon
42.2
2.81 children.
Tomatoes, Fresh, Cherry,
3 = ¼ cup
Pound
12.1
0.81 children.

* These numbers reflect the number of children fed if given the same vegetable all week. It does not take into consideration the NSLP vegetable subgroups.

Reference

  1.  Henneman, A. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension. How to Interpret Can Size Numbers. Accessed on April 3, 2020.

Related Terms

Nutrition