WIC is an Equal Opportunity Program. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap, write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Family Meals without the Stove

Between family road trips, power outages and the sweltering heat, summer can be a time that keeps us away from the stove and sometimes tempts us to choose meal options that are more convenient and less healthy.  Although these situations can make it difficult, it is still possible to have well balanced family meals without the stove.  The following recipes are perfect for times like this.
For breakfast...
Having a bowl of cereal with milk along with your favorite fruit is a great way to start of the day.
You can also cook hot cereals like oatmeal or cream of wheat in the microwave.
Fruit Salad:
Cut up your favorite summer fruits to eat with plain, non-fat yogurt.
Microwave Eggs: 
Crack 2 eggs into a microwave safe bowl.  Beat with a tablespoon of milk and microwave for 45 seconds.  Stir and microwave for and additional 30 to 40 seconds.  Add pepper and cheese or salsa.
Check out this recipe for microwave coffee cup scrambled eggs or this one for a microwave egg and cheese breakfast burrito (pictured right).
For lunch and dinner...
Make tuna salad sandwiches (or PB&J) on whole wheat bread and serve with raw veggies, applesauce, and a glass of milk.
Check out  these awesome apple wraps.  They are easy to make and tasty too!
Salads are another great option for a meal or as a side on a hot day. 
Make an easy summer salad by topping a bed of baby spinach with sliced strawberries, blueberries, nuts, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. 
What are your favorite meals to eat when it's too hot to stand over a stove?
Valerie Marcellus, Nutritionist Senior

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nutrition for Postpartum Healing

Ok Mommas, you had your baby and tried your best to eat healthy throughout pregnancy. Now you are living in a fog of sleepless nights and dirty diapers. But what you eat now in the postpartum stage can really make a difference in how well you recover and how much energy you have to care for yourself and your baby. There are some important nutrition factors to consider whether you delivered vaginally or had a C-Section: fiber, frequency, protein, and fluids.
The first bowel movement after delivery is gonna come whether you like it or not. If you had an episiotomy, tear, or C-section it can be particularly uncomfortable to go to the bathroom. Also, your doctor or midwife may have prescribed you pain medications which can slow everything down even more. Make it easier by eating foods that have a lot of fiber. Beans, fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help. Also talk to your doc about a stool softener before you leave the hospital.  
Eat often, at least every 3-4 hours. It is easy to forget to eat when you have a new baby but you really need good nutrition now more than ever. Think about all the hard work your body just did during pregnancy and labor. On top of all that, your body is working to make milk for your baby. All of this healing, milk making, and recovering require energy, and food is your energy. If you find that you are not eating at least 3 meals a day, eat a little something every time your baby eats as a reminder. It doesn’t have to be a lot, maybe a yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a granola bar here and there. Eating frequently also helps keep your blood sugar level which can help with your mood. When those baby blues come, being hungry can just make everything worse.
If you are nursing your body requires more protein than when you were pregnant! Protein is also necessary to heal any stitches or c-section incisions you may have. Try to get some sort of meat (or meat substitute if you are a vegetarian) at least once a day during your postpartum recovery. Eat plenty of other proteins like eggs, nuts and peanut butter, and dairy products. Eating plenty of protein will also help your body replenish your iron stores, which are often low from pregnancy and delivery.
Keep a water bottle by you and sip throughout the day. In addition to fiber, plenty of fluids will also help with constipation. If you are nursing you may find that you are especially thirsty. Make sure you have a drink by you before you sit down to breastfeed. Dehydration can also cause feelings of fatigue which we all know you do not need any more of as a new mom!

If you are pregnant and getting close to your due date, try to stock up on easy to make meals and make sure you have some groceries and snacks in the house. If anyone asks if you need anything, ask them to bring you meals after you have the baby!
The postpartum time is a time to bond with your baby and heal yourself. Accept help from everyone who offers! And remember: try to rest as much as you possibly can and don’t worry about your messy house for now. You are doing the most important thing by feeding and caring for your newborn and yourself.
- Allison Leonard, RD

Friday, May 24, 2013

A New Place to Go for Breastfeeding Support!

We are excited to announce that our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors now have a Facebook group!  The purpose of this group is to provide a place where WIC breastfeeding moms can come to ask questions, talk with other moms, and learn more about breastfeeding.  Please join this group to connect with our breastfeeding peer counselors and other WIC moms in the Rappahannock!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Apple A Day...

Do YOU eat enough fruits and vegetables?  If you're like most Virginians, probably not.  In a 2009 national survey, only 27% of adults in Virginia said that they eat fruits and vegetables more than 5 times  each day.  Although this number is gradually rising, it is still not very impressive.  Most adults need about 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables every day to stay healthy and maintain their weight.  Do you fall into that 27% of Virginians who don't eat enough fruits and veggies?  If so, here are some ways that the Rappahannock Area Health District makes it easier to get those important servings every day.

Farmers Markets

Farmer's Markets are booming in our area, and every weekend people of all ages are flocking to the many farmer's markets around town.  They have tons of local vendors selling everything you could think of, including fruits and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, and locally raised meat. 

You might be thinking, "That sounds great and all, but I just can't afford to shop at the farmer's market for my family."  Well, that may have been the case a few years ago, but now the Farmer's Market accepts SNAP EBT cards!  Not only that, but they will also match the first $10 of your SNAP purchases each week.  This means that you can use your EBT card to buy $10 worth of tokens at the market, and they will give you $20 worth of tokens to use on local fruits and vegetables!  That really makes shopping at the farmer's market just as affordable, if not more affordable, than shopping in the grocery store.  If you add in the bonus that you get local produce and a great community experience, I'd say the Farmer's Market is a great deal for SNAP users!

You can use your SNAP EBT card at the Fredericksburg, King George, and both Spotsylvania Farmer's Markets.  Click here for more details!

Food Bank Community Garden

The Fredericksburg Area Food Bank started a community garden on the lawn of their facility, along with 5 other gardens in the community.  In 2012, these gardens produced more than 1,500 pounds of healthy produced to be harvested and distributed throughout the community.  This enables everyone to have access to local fruits and vegetables, despite their rising prices.  These gardens also allow people to learn about where their food comes from, and perhaps residents will be inspired to start their own gardens at home, giving them even more opportunities to eat their 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day!

For more information, click here!

WIC Community Garden

WIC jumped on the Community Garden bandwagon when we partnered with the Food Bank and opened our WIC Community Garden.  We had 15 families sign up to participate in the garden, and they meet in different groups to learn about gardening, plant new produce, and harvest fruits and vegetables to take home.  The kids receive a gardening kit and at the end of the series, participants who attended 5 out of the 7 meetings will receive a $25 gas card.  The kids are learning so much about gardening, and seeing where the food comes from will encourage them to try different fruits and vegetables and plant them at home.

As you can see, there are many places for everyone to find fresh, local fruits and vegetables in the Fredericksburg Area, no matter what your financial status.  So the next time you are craving an apple, all you have to do is walk out your front door!