What Food Benefits Are Available For WIC Participants?
In most WIC State agencies, WIC participants receive checks or some sort of WIC vouchers. They can then use these in participating grocery or food stores, to purchase special, predefined food, that are designed to help supplement their diets with certain nutrients that benefit all those within the WIC program. Some States issue electronic cards instead of paper checks and vouchers. The use of these electronic cards is expanding and all WIC State agencies are required to implement WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) statewide by October 1, 2020, so this will be applied throughout each state. There are some packaging or stocking tools stores use to better assist the participants in finding and choosing their WIC-approved food items.
A pamphlet will be provided to participants as they visit the WIC office, but WIC foods tend to include some form of infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried or canned beans/peas, and some canned fish. Recently added were; soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and some other whole-grain options.
WIC does promote breastfeeding as the prime source of nutrition for infants, but they do recognize some mothers who do not or cannot fully breastfeed, and so they provide iron-fortified infant formula.