The federal program that assists pregnant women, newborns, and young children with grocery bills is being changed.
On Thursday, U.S. agriculture officials proposed changes to keep the increase in payments for fresh fruits and vegetables permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More healthful grains, canned fish, and non-dairy choices are added to the revamp.
According to officials, the initiative aims to increase the variety and availability of healthy foods for families who receive help through the WIC program of the Agriculture Department.
With the amendments, payments made during the COVID-19 epidemic that increased vouchers for fruits and vegetables to $25 per month for kids aged 1 to 5 and $49 per month for nursing mothers would become permanent.
Geraldine Henchy, director of the non-profit Food Research and Action Center, praised the modifications and said that the increase in fruits and vegetables has made it particularly attractive for families to keep their children in the program for longer.
More than 6.2 million pregnant moms, mothers with young children, and babies participate in the program annually.
States and other jurisdictions handle the program at the cost of around $5 billion annually from the federal government.
For moms and kids who meet the requirements, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children issues vouchers and specifies the quantity and kinds of food they can purchase.
With the proposed WIC reforms, more people would access healthy grains and delicacies from other cultures, including quinoa, blue cornmeal, and teff, an old East African cereal plant.
The plan also mandates the availability of lactose-free milk and permits more non-dairy options, such as yogurt and cheese made from soy.
In addition to dried beans, more canned fish, such as tuna, would be offered, along with canned beans that are simple to prepare.
Additionally, the quantity of infant formula given to partially breastfed babies would change due to the strategy.
Gisselle Loya, a 4-year-old Los Angeles resident, has been encouraged to try different foods by Elizabeth Loya, 28, who raised the monthly allotment for fruits and vegetables during the pandemic to $25.
According to Loya, she tried asparagus two weeks ago and Brussels sprouts.
She favored them.
The suggested modifications are based on the national Dietary Guidelines for Americans and a 2017 National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report.
After a three-month window for public response, they will be considered.
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