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FOOD PACKAGES

 

Frequently Asked Questions
about the New Food Packages


When will I start getting the new WIC foods?
Your food package will change starting at your first food benefit issuance appointment after October 1, 2009.

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How are the food packages changing?
The new WIC food packages will offer more variety and more nutrients than ever before! The packages will include fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, baby food, soy milk and tofu, and reduced-fat milk for all women and children 2 up to 5 years of age.

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Why is WIC putting less cheese and milk in the food packages?
WIC wanted the new food packages to follow the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. By cutting back on milk and cheese, WIC was able to lower the fat and saturated fat in the packages, and at the same time, add new food choices with more fiber and nutrients.

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Are other states changing the food package?
Yes, all states are offering new WIC food packages. However, specific food packages and foods may vary from state to state.

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What types of fruits and vegetables can I get?
You can choose any type of single-item fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables. WIC allows organic produce, and fresh produce in bags or containers are fine, as long as they contain just a single fruit or vegetable. The WIC program does not include: herbs, spices, and all types of white potatoes (but yams and sweet potatoes are allowed). Also, WIC doesn’t include dried or canned items, salad bar items, mixed fruits, mixed vegetables, or mixed beans.

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Why can’t I get canned fruits and vegetables?Texas WIC simplified the program by not including canned fruits and vegetables. Many canned items that could be approved look very much like products that would not qualify. So to avoid confusion and make it easier, Texas WIC decided to include only fresh and frozen items.  

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Why are white potatoes not included as WIC foods?
Research shows that Americans already eat enough starchy vegetables. So to encourage participants to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, WIC decided not to approve any type of white potatoes.  Keep in mind that yams and sweet potatoes are allowed.

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Why can’t I choose packaged fruits and vegetables that are mixed, like broccoli and cauliflower or peas and carrots?
To make shopping for your WIC foods easier, Texas WIC decided to approve packaged items with only one fruit or one vegetable.

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I know herbs and spices are not included as WIC foods. Can you provide a list of those items?
The following are not available through WIC:

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Caraway
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Fenugreek
  • Horseradish
  • Lemon grass
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Vanilla bean
 
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What happens if I go over my WIC dollar limit for fruits and vegetables?
Your WIC fruit and vegetable purchase must be less than or equal to the cash value benefit on your card.  If you go over your dollar limit, you’ll have to return some of the items or pay for them separately. To stay under your limit, be sure to weigh fresh produce first to figure out the cost. Also, add up the cost of all your fruit and vegetable items - fresh and frozen - before going through the check-out lane.

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What about using coupons or store-member reward cards?
You can use coupons, but depending on the promotion and the store, the coupons may or may not decrease the amount removed from your card. Still, coupons are a great way to save money on non-WIC items. Just be sure to use coupons for things you would normally buy. Otherwise, you can end up spending extra money instead of saving money!

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Why do women and children get different juice containers and sizes?
The maximum amount of juice that WIC can give to children is different than the maximum amount WIC can give to women. So in order to provide the maximum amounts to both groups, the container sizes are different for each group. 

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Will calcium-fortified juice be allowed?
Yes, calcium-fortified juice will be allowed starting October 2009.

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Why do one-year olds get only whole milk, while women and children can only choose reduced-fat, low-fat or fat-free milk?
Children less than 2 years old are still growing very quickly and their brains are still developing, so they need the additional fat and calories from whole milk. However after age 2, experts agree that adults and kids older than 2 should cut back on fat and cholesterol. By switching from whole milk to a lower-fat milk, you get all the protein, calcium and vitamins without the extra fat.

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What if I don’t drink milk?
WIC participants can get soy milk and tofu as substitutes for milk and cheese. Children need a prescription to get these foods so that the child’s health care provider knows that the child isn’t getting dairy products. Talk to the staff at your WIC clinic if you need soy milk or tofu.

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I plan to breastfeed my baby when he’s born. I’m just wondering why the “mostly breastfeeding package” isn’t available until after the first month the baby is born?  
The first few weeks after your baby is born are extremely important for establishing a good milk supply. It’s as if the baby is “placing his order” for the amount of milk he will need to grow. If you use formula in the early weeks, your milk supply may be “set” at a lower amount than your baby needs. But if you exclusively breastfeed (give your baby only breastmilk and nothing else), you’ll set your milk supply at a high volume and you’ll have an easier time keeping your milk supply high. Since the mostly breastfeeding package includes a limited amount of formula, WIC doesn’t offer it until after the first month.

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dad and daughter making salad