I think I mentioned last week that there were some changes in my family I was not yet ready to discuss…and NO, it is not me who is pregnant!
But my sister is nearly 9 weeks along, and will be having a baby sometime in the spring.
Because she is 19 and doesn’t have a full-time job, or an income that could adequately take care of herself or a child, she was put on WIC to help meet her nutritional needs.
Now before Linds became a part of the WIC program, I didn’t really know much about it. I had seen the little red tags at the grocery store, but didn’t really pay attention to what they meant or who they helped, but yesterday Lindsay and I had our first WIC shopping experience, and I must say, I am a big fan of how its run and the idea behind it.
Lindsay was allocated “checks” or vouchers for SPECIFIC foods based on her dietary and monetary needs. On each check it is specifically written what food is allowed and what exact type. For example you cannot simply get bread, you must get WIC approved, whole grain bread, 16 ounces or one loaf. Milk must be low-fat cows milk unless otherwise clarified on paper, but I did check it out further, just out of curiosity since I personally enjoy almond milk, and you could get a milk substitute if approved by the physician.
So after reading the information on the vouchers, seeing that you are allowed your loaf of whole grain bread, you are scanning the shelves and will notices that only certain brains are considered WIC approved. But I was surprised to see that it wasn’t just store brands allocated. Brands like Arnold, Weight Watchers, and Dutch Valley were also included. In the cereal aisle, she is permitted 3 boxes per month which she has to get all at one time (because as I learned, if you do not use what is on the voucher, you forfeit that item…you cant just take the items still left on the check home for another trip). As we are walking down the cereal aisle, which completely overwhelms me on a normal basis because there are 098604975948 million choices, finding the little red sticker is like being on a scavenger hunt, BUT I was pleasantly surprised to see the awesome varieties she can chose! The most “sugary” of her options was Frosted Mini-Wheats but the rest included, Oatmeal Squares (YES, I have a love for those after HLS!) Cheerios, Crispix, Rice Krispies, Grape Nuts, Bran Flakes, Special K, etc. There were seriously a ton of options! But all were relatively healthy choices. There weren’t any Fruity Pebbles or Captain Crunch, which Lindsay informed me was because when she actually applied for the vouchers, she was required to meet with a nutritionist to evaluate her personal needs (she has low iron) and talk about foods that benefit the baby. To me, this program was sounding better and better!
She was also allowed 4 cans of beans and a carton of eggs as her “meat” groups, and the BEST, was $10 total to spend on fruits and vegetables, pretty much any way she wanted. She could get fresh, frozen or canned produce, as long as there was no added sugars. Obviously the more expensive choice was fresh but she asked if she could get bananas, a small watermelon and grapes because they were on special, and honestly, I am not going to argue with her when she is asking for such nutrient rich options. She used to bring home Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups and call them her fruit group.
Other items she was allowed were All Natural Peanut Butter, 100% Juice, and Cheese. Some of the groceries were only to be purchased on a monthly basis, like the cereal, and others were every couple weeks, like the milk.
Anything you spend over the checks is your responsibility to pay for, so when we got to the check-out and had pretty much a belt full of stuff, I was thinking we would have to pay at least $5 more than the check allowed. After the cashier rung everything up, and used our Bonus Card (you are encouraged to use these with the WIIC program so I definitely checked out the circulars to find the best deals) the overage was only 9 cents!!! I was really really impressed. She got a cart full of nutritionally balanced items that could easily translate into meals, for way less than $1.
I wish I could help Linds more financially, but with Ryan going back to school, it just wasn’t in our budget. I am thankful for the WIIC program not only because it is helping my sister pay her bills while she is in the process of looking for a more lucrative job (she is currently a cashier at Giant and works for me at the pool) but it is also teaching her budgeting skills, and way better eating habits.
Before she only consumed white bread, full-fat milk, excess sugar and soda. But obviously having to care of another life, has really made her evaluate what is important…she was asking me a ton of questions about what vitamins and nutrients she and the baby need!
I am in full support of the WIIC program, and if you ever are in the position where you need it, it really is relatively easy to follow and provides good foods for you and the baby. She has her first major doctor’s appointment this week, where we will find out an approximate due date, etc. At first we were super nervous and protective because she is young and doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but ever since we found out nearly three weeks ago she has been doing great.
Do I think the situation is ideal? No probably not. But I am proud of her for trying her best and as her sister, Ill try to support her in any way I can. After all, we all go through tough times and my family has been there for me when I needed them most; that’s what we do for those we love, but I know absolutely NOTHING about being pregnant, having a baby around, eating for two, ANYTHING, so if you have any advice you wanna throw my way, it would be MUCH appreciated!
I hope you guys have an excellent start to the weekend! I have a very fun event planned for tomorrow that I cannot wait to tell you about later! Happy Friday!!!
Has anyone shopped using WIIC? What did you think?