The WIC Nutrition Program food packages have changed in healthy ways to meet the nutrition needs of WIC mothers, infants, and children. The new food selections contain less fat and cholesterol, more fiber, and fruits and vegetables year round. The foods for breastfeeding mothers and infants are increased as well, to promote breastfeeding as the healthiest way to feed infants. Shopping tips are available to help families select the most economical foods with their WIC vouchers. All these healthy changes now allow WIC to match WIC foods with nutrition messages for healthy families!
How were the new WIC-eligible foods chosen?
The WIC food packages provide supplemental foods to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to five years of age who are at nutritional risk. In 2003, the US Department of Agriculture contracted with the Institute of Medicine to review the WIC Food Packages, to review the nutritional needs of the WIC population, and to recommend cost-neutral changes to the WIC food packages. A Committee of experts in nutrition, health, risk assessment, and economics considered nutrient intakes and dietary patterns, major diet-related health problems and risks faced by WIC's target population, the characteristics of the WIC Program, and the diversity of its participants. The food packages align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
How do the food packages support breastfeeding?
The food packages for breastfeeding infants and mothers provide incentives for continued breastfeeding. For example, the food package for fully breastfeeding women provides greater amounts of foods, including a higher dollar value for fruits and vegetables. Fully breastfeeding infants receive baby food meats in addition to greater amounts of baby food fruits and vegetables. Less infant formula is provided to partially breastfeeding infants so that they may receive the benefits of breastmilk. A minimal amount of infant formula is provided to partially breastfeeding infants in the first month after birth in order to help mothers build and maintain their milk production.
The new foods now include:
- Fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, and canned
- Whole grain cereals
- Whole grain breads
- Brown rice and oatmeal
- Soft corn and whole wheat tortillas
- Canned beans
- Canned tuna, salmon and sardines
- Soy beverages and tofu
- Baby food fruits, vegetables, and meats
Families also receive:
- Low fat and fat free milk
- Peanut butter
- Dried beans
- 100% Fruit juice
- Hot and cold cereals
- Iron fortified infant formula for non-breastfeeding infants
If you are a pregnant woman, new mother, or have a child less than 5 years old, please call the WIC Program to see if you are eligible. Call (800) 942-4321 or (603) 271-4546 today! NH WIC Approved Foods
For more information on how the US Department of Agriculture created the new WIC food packages go to: www.fns.usda.gov/wic/benefitsandservices/foodpkg.htm
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