You now have cash value vouchers, or CVVs for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables give you many of the nutrients you need to protect against diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
They taste good, are often crunchy, juicy, and are available in many bright colors.
They're also quick to prepare and easy to eat.
Vegetables are found in four main groups: They are dark green, orange, starchy and all others.
If you are buying vegetables at the farmer's market, some are available before others because they grow faster than others.
The only potatoes that may be purchased with your CVV checks are sweet potatoes and yams.
WIC does not allow white potatoes because studies show Americans eat more potatoes that are not yams or sweet potatoes than any other vegetable.
WIC has chosen to allow all other fruits and vegetables in the food packages to add more variety and nutrients to what your family eats.
Ask your WIC office to help identify fruits and vegetables you do not recognize or cannot find.
WIC also has recipes on how to prepare them.
With your CVVs you may also buy prepackaged vegetables such as bags of carrots or mixed broccoli and cauliflower.
When buying fresh vegetables, you will need to see how much each one costs by pound.
Weigh them in the produce aisle and multiply the pounds times the price to get an estimate of how much they will cost.
The scale at the checkout will probably not be exactly the same as the one in the produce aisle.
But if the total amount is more than the amount of your CVV, you can use an alternative form of payment to pay the extra few cents.
After cooking, most vegetables can be refrigerated or placed in a freezer container and stored in the freezer for future use.
Many fresh fruits are also available to WIC families.
They are bright and colorful, easy to eat, and add nutrients to any meal or snack.
Fresh fruit in the refrigerator or counter, where children can find them for snacks is a great way to increase such nutrients as Vitamin C, and other nutrients you need in your diet every day.
As with vegetables, fresh fruits may also be purchased in pre-packaged containers.
Those purchased per pound will need to be weighed in the produce aisle to determine the estimated cost.
Ask your WIC office for suggestions on how to select, prepare, and store fruits.
They also have recipes that will help you find new ways to serve fruits that are quick and make very little mess.
Any fruits that are cleaned and ready to eat may be placed in the refrigerator or frozen in freezer containers to be eaten later.
Remember, CVVs can also be used to buy frozen fruits and vegetables.
Remove only the amount you need to prepare from the package and keep the rest in the freezer until next time.
Many of the bags have re-sealable tops.
Fruits such as strawberries are frozen individually, making it easy to remove just the amount you need.
They also can be used for blended fruit drinks containing pieces from many types of fruits.