There are superheroes and then there are superfoods such as apples and berries. Michigan Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clients are being reminded that there are additional Cash Value Benefits (CVB) to purchase fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2022, authorizes state WIC agencies to extend the increase of the program’s vegetable and fruit benefit through the end of September.
“The WIC benefit bump is one of the most effective investments to build nutrition security for low-income families…and has resulted in more than triple the amount of fruit and vegetable purchases, a greater variety of produce redeemed by WIC families, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption for young children,” Brian Dittmeier, senior director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association said in a news release. “As WIC’s individualized nutrition counseling reinforces this benefit bump, WIC families are positioned to make healthier choices that will resonate with the next generation.”
The monthly cash value benefit for fruits and vegetables will remain at the following increased amounts through September 2022:
• $24 for children.
• $43 for pregnant and postpartum people.
• $47 for breastfeeding people.
WIC’s CVB vegetable and fruit benefit was first introduced in 2007 and is credited with improving the dietary quality of WIC participants’ nutrition and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity among WIC toddlers.
“Michigan is excited to offer this great increase in benefits to the women, infants and children that we serve,” said Christina Herring-Johnson, Michigan WIC director. “This increase in fresh fruits and vegetables will continue to promote and support healthier eating patterns and overall great nutrition.”
“Fruit provides vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and plant chemicals called phytonutrients that help to keep us healthy and protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some types of cancers. Fruit is low in kilojoules (energy) in comparison to many other foods, therefore choosing first fruit over discretionary items can help to prevent excessive weight gain,” according to the Healthy Kids Association.
At least a serving and a half of fruit is recommended daily for children under the age of 8. Two servings a day is recommended for children age 8 and up.
Examples of a serving include:
• 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
• 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
• 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
Michigan residents can learn more about what the Michigan WIC program has to offer by visiting Michigan.gov/WIC. To apply for WIC, visit Michigan.gov/MIBridges.
Macomb County residents can find health.macombgov.org/Health-Programs-FamilyHealthServices-WIC, call 586-842-0487 or email WIC@macombgov.org.