Exciting changes in food options for WIC participants

Changes are based in science to fill in key nutritional gaps

Salt Lake City—The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has finalized updates to changes in the food available to participants in the Women, Infants, and Children, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program. The changes to the federal program that provides  groceries for millions of low-income mothers, babies, and young kids puts more emphasis on fruits, vegetables, seafood, and whole grains. The updates give WIC participants: 

  • More choices to make sure they get essential nutrients to support healthy growth and development.
  • More balance to address key nutritional needs and support healthy dietary patterns.
  • More flexibility and variety to meet personal and cultural food preferences and special diet needs.
  • More support for individual breastfeeding goals to help establish and sustain long-term breastfeeding.

Under the new rules, fruit and vegetable benefits will provide $26 per month for kids ages 1 through 4; $47 per month for pregnant and postpartum women; and $52 for breastfeeding women. The changes also expand access to whole grains like quinoa, wild rice, and millet, add seafood options for children, and reduce or remove monthly allowances for juice.

Utah WIC director Chris Furner says, “The changes mean Utah WIC will have more flexibility to make sure food packages meet the needs of personal and cultural food preferences. These changes give current and future participants the opportunity to eat healthier and make positive, life-long impacts on health and well-being. WIC state agencies have 2 years to implement these changes, which gives them time to work with key partners on how best to tailor the new food packages to meet the needs of participants.”

There are currently 46,328 WIC participants in Utah.