By: Lindsey Hargett, Communications Intern
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is a supplement food program that provides healthy food for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and infants and children up to age five.
To help families make healthy decisions on a limited budget, the Food Bank’s two WIC Food Demonstration Specialists, Ciara Martin and Sarah Wood, visit WIC clinics throughout the state through the Smart Choices for WIC program.
Ciara travels to WIC clinics in New Castle County, while Sarah covers the southern part of the state, to show parents how to use all the food on their food vouchers to the fullest potential. Each demonstration includes a highlighted recipe and a smoothie.
Last month, Ciara visited the Hudson State Service Center in Newark to show WIC clinic visitors how to use excess beans by making a spicy bean dip and salsa. A smoothie recipe also accompanies each main demonstration.
As visitors wait for their appointments, they are able to watch the demonstration, sample the day’s recipe and fill out a short survey for a special giveaway. Recipe cards are also available to encourage recipients to try the dish at home.
On this particular day, a woman with two young children waited for her appointment. As the children played, the mother watched Ciara’s demonstration. When the smoothie was ready the oldest child stopped playing and ran up to the table eager to sample it. The girl exclaimed how much she enjoyed it, and the mother took the recipe and explained how she had been looking for this type of smoothie for a while now.
Last year, 169 cooking demonstrations were held at 11 state service centers. In total 1,261 individuals participated.
Every demonstration includes an introduction to MyPlate for pregnant women and new mothers information about the primary nutrients highlighted in their food voucher, recipe making and testing and a MyPlate for preschoolers, a grocery bag, and a recipe book to participants and an incentive for participation in four or more demonstrations.
To learn more about Smart Choices from the Start, please visit http://www.fbd.org/program/snap-education/smart-choices-for-wic/