Maximizing Nutrition with WIC at Reasor’s

Posted on June 14th, 2019

What is WIC:

WIC stands for “Women, Infants, and Children” because this is the exact population this program serves. Participants must be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman or an infant or child under the age of 5. In addition, participants must qualify to receive benefits based on their financial need or if they are receiving other assistance benefits. Participants utilizing the program receive a variety of benefits including nutrition education, health screenings, community resources, and supplemental food assistance.

WIC Benefits:

WIC foods are routinely reviewed to ensure they are providing you and your family with the best nutrition. Most of the foods featured currently on the program are lower in fat and higher in fiber than previously, ensuring a healthy diet while still allowing some flexibility in your food choices.

When using your WIC benefits for supplemental foods you will need to shop at a participating retailer. Reasor’s is proud to serve WIC participants and be a part of the State of Oklahoma’s WIC program. To help lessen the stress of shopping we have place small signs next to each WIC approved product to make your shopping trip quicker and easier.

You should receive a list of approved products from your local WIC office based on your current status (pregnant, breastfeeding, infant, or child). While there are a lot of the same foods and beverages offered on almost all the plans there are some differences so it is important you are using the specific plan you were provided. When shopping for your WIC foods it is helpful to keep your plan on hand so you can compare sizes and brands. Just grabbing the wrong size box of cereal can change whether a product is covered under your benefits or not. If you have any issues or need help shopping for WIC approved items you can always visit Reasor’s guest services for assistance.

Shopping Healthy with WIC:

WIC’s supplemental foods have already been analyzed and chosen based on the nutritional value they provide you and your family. Your supplemental foods can be most easily categorized into four major categories: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein.

Fruits and vegetables should make up at least half of your plate at each meal. Fruits and vegetables whether they are fresh or frozen they both offer our bodies a fantastic source of nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber that are beneficial for overall health.

Fruit and vegetables are good for:

  • A strong immune system
  • Reducing your risk for chronic diseases
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Boosting your hydration

Oklahoma WIC approved fruits and vegetables can include (but vary by plans):

  • Any fresh or frozen whole or cut fruit or vegetable (no added oils, sauces, sugars, etc.)
  • Bagged or prepackaged fruit or vegetables (no added oils, sauces, sugars, etc.)
  • Bagged salads without dressings
  • 100% juice (only on select plans)

 

Whole grains still contain all three major parts of the grain. When the entire grain remains intact so does the nutrition including fiber, B vitamins, and even iron. When looking for whole grain options read the ingredient list on the nutrition label for the first ingredient. The first ingredient listed should include the word WHOLE. It can be whole wheat, whole oat, or even whole bulgur for example. Whole grains should make up about a quarter of your plate.

Whole grains are good for:

  • Healthy digestion
  • Weight management
  • Glucose control (diabetes)
  • Heart health

Oklahoma WIC approved fruits and vegetables can include (but vary by plans):

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold and hot whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Bulgur

 

Lean proteins can be thought of as building blocks for our bodies and should make up a quarter of your plate. Protein can be a great nutrition source for healthy growth, maintenance of tissues, and supplying iron to our bodies. Lean proteins contain less saturated fats and cholesterol and include foods like fish, skinless poultry, and plant-based proteins.

Lean proteins are good for:

  • Sustained energy
  • Growth (including pregnancy)
  • Muscle health
  • Iron to prevent deficiency and anemia
  • Heart health when consuming proteins high in heart-healthy fats (salmon, trout, herring, etc.)

Oklahoma WIC approved fruits and vegetables can include (but vary by plans):

  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Beans/Peas
  • Peanut Butter

Shoot for dairy at least three times a day. Dairy provides the body with calcium and vitamin D which are essential to bone health. Full-fat dairy is best for children under the age of two for brain growth. Children under the age of one should still be getting their primary nutrition source from breastmilk or infant formula.

Dairy is good for:

  • Bone health
  • Fueling after activity

Oklahoma WIC approved fruits and vegetables can include (but vary by plans):

  • Milk (low fat or fat-free primarily unless the child is under two years of age)
  • Soy milk
  • Cheese
  • Low fat and fat-free yogurts

How to Save with WIC:

Shopping budget friendly is an important factor to consider when you have a growing family.

You can combine your WIC benefits with any of the following:

You can also save by using other budget-friendly shopping tips like:

  • Buying produce when it is in season (you can even freeze it for later in the year)
  • Reducing your food waste by repurposing leftovers or properly freezing them for another meal
  • Planning your meals in advance and only shopping for what you need
  • Choosing products that give you the most bang for your nutritional buck. Choosing nutrient-dense foods that provide you with a lot of great nutrition and keep you staying full are key.
  • Preparing food yourself including the chopping and dicing of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Heather Steele, RD/LDis a registered dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and ride her bike! Heather is Reasor’s corporate dietitian and believes food should be both nourishing and fun.
The information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.  Opinions and recommendations are of her own; she is not paid to endorse any products or services.