But fresh fruits and vegetables also can spoil easily. And sometimes busy families can’t make several return trips to the supermarket each week.
If you are a client of Monongalia County Health Department’s Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) program, you will be happy to know that as of Oct. 1—Monday—you will have more options when you are shopping for food with eWIC cards, which are similar to credit cards and include a family’s WIC credits for a month.
To help parents deal with the problem of fruits and vegetables that spoil before you get to them, the new WIC guidelines allow for the purchase of frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.
Other additions to the WIC Approved Shopping Guide include whole wheat pasta, corn tortillas, a wider variety of whole wheat tortillas and whole grain rice, as well as some new types of cereals, including Cinnamon Chex, Vanilla Chex and Blueberry Chex.
Many families also will be happy to hear that organic infant foods will now be covered by the eWIC card.
And a much-requested item—yogurt—also has been added.
The new approved foods come from the state WIC office, with a statement that says the list was updated to “better meet the nutrition needs of WIC clients, offer more varieties of food and encourage better eating habits.”
Parents, said MCHD WIC nutritionist Patty Jo Barlow, are especially excited about the yogurt. “Other states have done it and we’ve been talking about it for a long time,” she added.
And in addition to placing additional whole grains on the list, there are new approved sizes as well, Barlow pointed out. Currently, WIC clients must get the 16-ounce size of bread, but as of Monday, they can get a 20-ounce or a 24-ounce loaf. “It increases the options,” Barlow said.
Remaining on the list are other favorites such as cheese, peanut butter, eggs, dried and canned beans and cereals.
For those who are unfamiliar with WIC, its full name is Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children. WIC is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. MCHD WIC covers six counties—Monongalia, Preston, Marion, Harrison, Doddridge and Taylor.
Assistance is provided to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and babies and children up to the age of 5 who qualify. Income guidelines allow a family of four who make $46,435 or less to utilize the program; for a family of three, it’s $38,443. For each additional family member, add $7,992 to that income.
In addition to food eWIC Cards, the program has been updated in another way, with WIC Shopper App that clients can download. Using the app on their smartphones, they can scan items at the grocery store to see if it’s WIC-approved.
“Not only are the food choices expanding, but technology associated with the program is streamlining the grocery shopping experience for WIC clients,” said Anne MacBride, MCHD WIC program manager.
Clients also receive nutrition education, individualized nutrition counseling, breastfeeding counseling, nutrition assessment, health and social service referrals and immunizations.
We also offer free breastfeeding classes that can be attended by any mothers in the community, whether they are WIC clients or not. In Morgantown, those classes are the first and third Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m. and the second Wednesday at 10 a.m. In Preston County, the classes are held at 11 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month.
Even if your family doesn’t qualify or need WIC services, perhaps you know someone who could benefit. Feel free to have them call us at 304-598-5181.
Who knows, there could be some yogurt with their name on it at their local supermarket.