My WIC Experience

Part of my dietetic internship was to rotate through the City of Houston WIC program. WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is a government program for low-income population. I always thought WIC program was same as food stamps through which participants can buy whatever they want, such as sodas and chips.

BUT it’s not. WIC is supplemental program run by the government for women, infants and children under 5 years of age that provides nutritional support for healthy growth through nutrition education classes, one-on-one counseling sessions, and monetary benefits to buy healthy foods.

The guidelines are very specific to what and how much the clients can purchase with the WIC issued EBT card. Clients receive a list of specific amounts of food to purchase per month. The card does not work for groceries not “loaded” onto the benefits card. The client must visit a WIC clinic every 3 months to receive nutrition counseling and renew their benefits.

WIC clients cannot purchase:

Many processed cheese such as Velveeta, added sugar products, white rice, white potato, frozen french fries, artificial sugar products, desserts, white tortillas

Only 100% fruit juices, 100% whole grain, fresh fruits and vegetables, and natural foods are allowed to be purchased with the WIC EBT card.

I was impressed!

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