The WIC Program promotes healthy habits and healthy families.
- Breastfeed your baby
- Eat more fiber
- Lower the fat
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat more whole grains
- Drink less juice and sweetened beverages
- Make family meals matter
To help participants practice these habits, WIC provides basic nutritious foods to eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as infants and children. These foods are rich in protein, iron, calcium, fiber and vitamins.
Participants exchange WIC food instruments (which list specific foods and quantities) and cash-value vouchers (for fruits and vegetables) at authorized retail grocery stores and pharmacies. In some cases, special formulas are distributed directly to the participant from the WIC local agency.
Foods for Infants (Birth-12 mo.)
The Program strongly encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. It recognizes that breastfeeding is the best method of infant feeding and nurturing. However, formula-fed infants receive the WIC contract standard milk- and soy-based iron-fortified infant formula for the first year of life. Beginning at six months of age, infants may also receive iron-fortified infant cereal, and infant fruits and vegetables. Infants who are fully breastfed also receive infant meats.
In some cases, infants may require a formula other than the WIC contract standard milk- or soy-based formulas. Before a WIC agency can issue any formula other than the contract standard milk- or soy-based formula, the participant must obtain a completed prescription from a physician or health care provide. However, please note that the only standard milk- or soy-based formulas provided by the NC WIC Program are those on the current contract; other standard brands are not provided. See the WIC Medical Documentation (PDF, 439 KB).
- Mother’s Breastmilk
- Infant Formula
- Infant Cereal
- Infant Fruits and Vegetables
- Infant Meats (for fully breastfed infants only)
Foods for Women and Children
Women and children (one to five years of age) participating in WIC receive food instruments and cash-value vouchers for a variety of healthy foods. The choices may include whole-grain cereal and bread, brown rice, whole-wheat and soft-corn tortillas; milk; cheese or tofu; eggs; peanut butter; dried or canned beans, peas or lentils; fruit or vegetable juices; and fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned). Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies receive larger quantities of foods as well as canned tuna or salmon. Special formulas or nutritional supplements are also available to women and children participants with certain medical conditions. Before a WIC agency can issue any formula or nutritional supplement, the participant must obtain a prescription from a physician or health care provider. See the WIC Medical Documentation (PDF, 439 KB).
- Whole-grain Bread , Brown Rice, Whole-wheat and Soft-corn Tortillas
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Soy-Based Beverage
- Dried or Canned Beans, Peas and Lentils
- Peanut Butter
Additional Foods For Women who Solely Breastfeed
- Larger quantities of the foods listed above
- Chunk-light Tuna or Salmon
Complete List of WIC Approved Foods
Nutrition education is a major benefit of the Program and is provided to all adults and, whenever possible, to children directly. The goals of nutrition education are:
- To teach about the relationship between nutrition, physical activity and good health.
- To improve the eating and physical activity habits as they relate to the participant’s nutritional risk.
- To promote optimal use of the WIC Program’s supplemental foods, and other nutritious foods.
- To provide nutrition education that is appropriate to an individual’s age, educational background, household situation, language, cultural and ethnic preferences, and nutritional needs.
WIC serves as an adjunct to the health care system. WIC enjoys a reciprocal relationship with the health care community, receiving referrals from private and public health care providers and providing referrals as needed for health and social services. Referrals from WIC include immunizations and substance abuse counseling and treatment. WIC encourages persons already receiving medical services to remain under their physicians' care. It also encourages individuals not receiving medical care to seek and maintain appropriate care.
Breastfeeding promotion and support is an integral part of the WIC Program. WIC strives to increase the initiation, duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding among women enrolled in the Program. All WIC agencies have trained personnel ready to assist mothers in making informed decisions about their infant feeding choice. WIC also instructs mothers in the basics of breastfeeding. Many WIC agencies have breastfeeding peer counselor support programs that provide mother-to-mother counseling. In addition, all local WIC agencies provide breastfeeding aids such as manual and electric breast pumps. WIC offers a food package for women who exclusively breastfeed their babies. This food package adds tuna or salmon in cans or pouches, as well as additional amounts of whole grains, cereal, milk, cheese, juice, peanut butter, beans, peas and lentils.