Produce can be expensive. Here's how one mom made the most of her budget.

How One Mom Prepares Healthy Meals With All WIC Approved Grocery Stores

Sunni was pregnant. Money was more than scarce.

So I applied for WIC – Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The program, administered by the USDA, provides supplemental food to low-income people who are pregnant or have recently had a baby, as well as children up to age five. In 2021, the program had 6.2 million participants, including 43% of all children born in the United States

Malnutrition can have serious consequences during pregnancy. A 2020 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who didn’t have easy access to food in their area were 27% more likely to give birth prematurely. Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and having a baby with a low birth weight are other risks for people who don’t get proper nutrition during pregnancy.

Marisa Rudd, New York City writer and mother of the year, quickly identified part of the problem: Foods eligible to receive them through the Women, Infants, and Children program can be limited, and knowing how to make a nutritious meal requires them to take some cooking. creativity.

When Rudd signed up in her hometown of New York, she was surprised to find that she was allowed plenty of beans, milk, cheese, and canned cereal—but only $8 worth of produce.

These ingredients did not fit into the meals that Rudd enjoyed before pregnancy. So I started creating recipes with WIC-certified ingredients. Mimi black bean soup. Vegetable enchiladas. They worked so well that she started posting them on TikTok.

“While posting it, I realized I was working on a catalog of recipes and it was helping a lot of people. So I tried to organize it in a way that was as accessible as possible.” The result is WIC cookbookavailable on its website,

Follow her on TikTok at @justsunni for more recipes and tips.

Everything and above. It’s supposed to be a complementary program, so you’re wondering in between, “How am I going to make this extension?” The Women, Babies, and Kids program does not give you any meat, except for canned tuna and salmon, which are only in the postpartum package.

For this reason, I had a very hard time finding protein options. What I’ve learned from other moms is that it’s also a huge challenge for individuals who can’t eat gluten and people who are allergic to dairy and soy.

There is a lot of protein in other foods. Our culture really focuses on meat-based protein. But you can get the same amount of protein from beans. Lots of beans, including chickpeas, were included. In addition to dark leafy vegetables and whole grains – whole-grain pasta, brown rice and whole-grain bread.

Eating seasonally is a great way to cut production costs. Now, berries and apples are in season. corn is coming. Hold strawberries until spring.

Simply reducing food waste reduces costs. Preparing your products – taking them out of bags and storing them in containers – is another quick way to make your product last.

Every morning, when I think of the day’s meals, I go straight to the produce drawer. I pull out the things that are about to go wrong, and start from there. I took out the spinach that was starting to look a little crunchy, half of the green pepper I used last night, and the onion I’m still working on.

I pull produce out of the tray at every meal, every day.

I have a free product shopping guide that you can download from Biography on TikTok or my website. I have a checklist of all the fruits and vegetables I get from the store.

You can replant your vegetables. I do a lot of it. I get clusters of chives, and as long as they have roots and onions at the bottom, you can just put them in water and they will grow. You can do the same with lettuce.

I’ve discovered a lot of alternatives because, again, not everything is covered in WIC. For example, we may not get sour cream, but we get plain yogurt. If I make a baked potato loaded with cheese, chives, and vegetables, I’ll also put a bit of plain yogurt on top of it.

I always say to apply for whatever you can. You can apply to both WIC and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and you can participate in both programs at the same time. I would also encourage you, if you are in WIC, to immediately and fully utilize these benefits.

If you buy vegetables regularly and learn to incorporate them into your diet, they become your routine. This is how we do things in our family, which now includes my daughter Robin. We start with vegetables and build everything around them.

If I had all those fruits and vegetables in my fridge, and my daughter wanted a snack…next thing you know, she’s eating more fruits and vegetables.

I always say “Practice makes it permanent”. It gets easier over time.

Try one of these WIC-approved vegan and vegetarian recipes.


1 onion cut into cubes

3 celery sticks, cut into cubes

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 vegetable broth cube

2 cans of black beans

1 cup water

Shredded cheese and avocado (optional garnish)


Add the chopped vegetables, stock cube, water, and 1/2 can of black beans to a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, making sure the stock is dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

Return the mixture to the pot and add the remaining black beans.

Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to heat up.

Pour mixture into a bowl and top with cheese and avocado, if using.

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