What To Do With All That WIC Food

The WIC (Women, Infants, Children) food supplement program in New York is great. As a low income mother of a 9 month old, I am grateful to be saving that extra bit of money on the grocery bill.
The one challenge is that the coupons are for a certain amount of certain foods. Those foods are included on the coupons because they contain the essential nutrients that a pregnant woman, new mom and new baby need. Some of them aren’t what I would’ve typically purchased, especially in the quantities mandated, so I wasn’t sure what to do with all that food. The last thing I wanted was to have food spoil because I don’t know what to do with it.

Challenge 1: Milk Gallons upon gallons of milk. I never drank much milk. I would put it in my cereal, coffee and bake with it and that was pretty much it. Suddenly I had gallons of the stuff.

Make Your Own Yogurt: One of the coolest things to do with milk is to make yogurt. I love yogurt and one gallon of milk equals one gallon of yogurt. That’s a whole lot of yogurt!

Yogurt is made from yogurt, so you will need a small container to get started. The process is pretty easy, but is a bit time consuming. This yogurt is a bit thinner than the yogurt you will find in the grocery store and is of the fruit on the bottom consistency. I keep it plain and then add fruit and a bit of sugar to my serving.

Making your milk into yogurt expands its usability as yogurt can be added to a variety of recipes from baked goods like cake and muffin recipes to creamy pastas and as a sour cream substitute.

Smoothies: Another favorite of mine is to use up milk by making smoothies. Add milk, yogurt and some fruit in a blender and whaa-la, a yummy, smooth treat. Smoothies are great in the morning or with a grilled cheese made from your WIC bread and WIC cheese.

Make Pudding: Another great, cheap use of all that milk is to use it to make pudding. A box of pudding mix can be purchased for well under $1 and it uses about 2 cups of milk. Get creative, mix two flavors of pudding together, make a pudding pie, scoop out the inside of some muffins and add a few dollops of pudding inside.

Make Creamy Soups or Pastas: Soups and pastas are inexpensive and give you a lot of bang for your buck. Most macaroni and cheese recipes call for at least 2 cups of milk. Bechamel sauce is a creamy sauce that is a key ingredient to many pasta dishes, including lasagna.

Challenge 2: Beans Beans (we’re not talking green beans here) are a great source of protein and WIC pays for quite a few cans of them. Before WIC, my main use of beans was in chili. A couple cans of kidney beans was about all I ever used, but since using WIC I’ve greatly extended both my frequency and variety of ways to use beans. Bush Brothers amp; Company beans are covered by the WIC coupons and their website lists lots of good recipes and ideas on how to use them. In addition to soups, salads and pastas, a new favorite way for me to use beans is to make them into a form of veggie burger. Crush a few crackers, some onion amp; garlic along with 1 egg and some shredded cheese in with a can of squooshed beans (I’ve used butter and black beans). Fry the bean fritters in a thin layer of vegetable oil and you’ve got an easy, cheap, quick substitute for a meat main dish.

Challenge 3: Tuna As I was mainly breastfeeding, WIC allotted a half dozen cans of tuna (or other canned fish) to me each month. I’m not a big canned fish eater. Still, like with the other foods, I knew the tuna would be good for me and my baby so I figured out ways to make it so it would be something I would like. I’m not crazy about the typical go-to recipes: tuna salad or tuna casserole. One recipe for tuna that I did like was tuna burgers. I just leave out anything I don’t have.