WIC Package Continues to Provide Daily Requirement of Milk and Dairy Foods
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the Dairy Council of California:
While the recent expansion of foods available to WIC participants has garnered public attention, it is important to realize that milk and dairy foods continue to be strongly supported nutrient-rich options in this supplemental nutrition program.
Changes to the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program were mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine. Nutrient-rich milk remains a cornerstone of the new package as the only food group supplemented at the daily-requirement level for most participants. To align WIC foods with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains have been added to the original WIC food package that featured 100 percent fruit juice, milk, cheese and eggs, among other food staples.
"Milk and dairy foods are important for mothers and young children because they are nutrient-rich, providing calcium, vitamin D and potassium for healthy growth, development and lifelong health," said Mary Anne Burkman, M.P.H., R.D., Director, Program Services with Dairy Council of California. "Many of these nutrients are under consumed by children and adults alike, which is why milk remains a key part of this supplemental nutrition program."
In the new WIC food package, milk is supplemented in amounts equivalent to USDA's MyPyramid daily nutritional requirements for women and children ages 1-4, with 3 cups a day provided for women and 2 cups a day for children. In California, participants have the option of selecting nonfat (fat free, skim), 1% lowfat (light) or 2% reduced fat milks and whole milk for children ages 1-2.
The new WIC food package also expands the varieties of cheese that can be substituted for milk to include all regular, low sodium, lowfat, reduced fat or nonfat varieties of Cheddar, Colby, jack, mozzarella, blends of approved cheeses (such as Cheddar-jack) and mozzarella string cheese.
"The WIC program plays an important role in helping mothers provide nutrient-rich foods for their young children and model healthy behaviors at critical stages in development," said Burkman.
The new WIC food package offers participants a wider variety of foods they can choose in addition to the traditionally supplemented foods like milk and dairy. Participants can now enjoy healthy-food options that are fully funded by the WIC supplemental nutrition program, such as:
- Whole-grain cereal topped with lowfat milk and fruit
- Cheese and whole-grain crackers
- Quesadillas made with whole-wheat tortillas, cheese and vegetables
- Smoothies or licuados made with lowfat milk and fresh seasonal fruits
For more information on the nutrients in milk or the role of milk and dairy foods in a healthy diet, please visit http://www.dairycouncilofca.org/Milk-Dairy/ .
Through various nutrition education programs, Dairy Council of California promotes healthy choices from all the food groups and regular physical activity as the foundation for optimal health. Healthy Eating Made Easier(R).
SOURCE Dairy Council of California