The WIC education team at the Food Bank of Delaware presented a cooking demonstration and grocery store tour for moms participating in New Directions Early Head Start Program on Friday, October 12.
According to the organization’s website, “New Directions Early Head Start is an interagency program committed to empowering and supporting low income pregnant woman, infants, toddlers, and their families. NDEHS is designed to serve women who are pregnant and families who have children between the ages of birth and 36 months. Families participating in the program must meet income and other eligibility guidelines. Servicing Delaware families since 1998, NDEHS provides both center and home-based services through partnering with various organizations.”
New Directions staff, program moms and their children gathered in a classroom in the Bear Boys and Girls Club to learn about eating healthy using foods on the WIC food package.
WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. “The primary purpose of the WIC Program is to make health and nutrition services available to eligible individuals. Under the WIC Program, authorized health professionals prescribe nutritious supplemental foods and teach nutrition education to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children to their fifth birthday.”
Food Bank of Delaware WIC Education Specialists, Alisha Beckford and Chong Yi, showed participants how to make easy sweet potato pancakes. As they demonstrated the recipe, the educators told moms about the importance of nutrients found in sweet potatoes.
“Potassium is good for blood pressure,” Alisha pointed out.
As Chong carefully flipped each pancake, the room filled with the sweet aroma of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Each participant had a chance to try the pancake, and all agreed – they were delicious!
After a quick clean up, Alisha and Chong led the group next door to Food Lion for a WIC food package grocery shopping tour.
The duo covered the main areas of the grocery store and educated moms about navigating the grocery store to get items on the WIC package.
Alisha encouraged moms to purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables and to pay attention to color. “Make sure you eat a variety of colors,” she said. “Vitamin C is good for the immune system.”
Chong advised shoppers to look for sales and purchase items that are in season. “You will get a lot more for your money,” she pointed out.
Next, the bread aisle. Chong and Alisha pointed out that only certain breads are covered through WIC. “Look for 100-percent whole-wheat bread,” Alisha said. “WIC only covers certain brands and most stores will label the items that are covered by the WIC voucher,” added Chong.
WIC also provides participants an opportunity to purchase juice. Chong and Alisha pointed out specific brands and bottle sizes covered by the voucher. Look for brands like Juicy Juice in 64 oz. containers.
“Young children should receive no more than four ounces of juice per day,” they advised. “Juice should also be diluted with water to cut down on sugar.”
Baby foods, formula and cereal are also covered under WIC.
Low-sugar cereals for adults and kids are also included on the voucher, and WIC-approved cereals cannot have more than six grams of sugar. Recipients may receive 36 ounces of cereal and can include both hot and cold varieties.
Next, Chong and WIC led the tour group to one of the inside aisles of the store. WIC packages include a jar of peanut butter and a one-pound bag of beans.
“Beans are good sources of protein and iron,” Alisha advised. “WIC packages do not include meats, so you get your main protein from peanut butter, beans and eggs.”
The last stop of the tour was the dairy department. Chong and Alisha explained that WIC recipients can receive either four gallons of milk or three gallons of milk and cheese. Cheese can be individually-wrapped or purchased in 16 ounce blocks. Cheddar, mozzarella and American cheeses are all covered. One-dozen white eggs are also included on the WIC package.
Attendees left the tour feeling enthusiastic and more informed about navigating the grocery aisles for healthy foods. Interested in learning more about WIC Education at the Food Bank of Delaware? Please click here.