The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is just one of many food-assistance programs you can use to help feed your family when your budget is tight. Commonly known as WIC, it provides healthy foods to boost nutrition for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum parents and infants and children up to age 5.
While the program offers food benefits and nutrition education to WIC participants, the program’s educational materials are a little light on what to do with your food finds once you get home.
To make the most of your WIC benefits, you need to find delicious recipes that make use of every single ingredient included in your food package. Many states offer a handful of ideas, and those recipes are undoubtedly healthful. But they’re far from inspired. These recipes for any meal of the day feature plenty of WIC-approved ingredients and are anything but boring.
Note: Every state’s WIC program features slightly different approved foods, so check your WIC publication for more information. Also note that these recipes are intended to leverage your WIC ingredients but may contain non-WIC foods.
WIC Recipes for Breakfast
Most WIC benefits include ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. And on busy mornings, whole-grain cereal with milk and a piece of fruit is a quick way to get your family the nutrition they need.
However, with some planning, you can make many of these breakfast recipes in advance and store them in the freezer for the week ahead.
1. French Toast
French toast takes advantage of many WIC-approved foods, like whole-grain bread, eggs, and milk. You can make basic French toast topped with butter, powdered sugar, and syrup. But incorporating WIC-approved fruits lets you leverage their natural sweetness to skip the extra fat and sugar.
Try one of these fruit-centric French toast recipes instead:
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Stuffed French Toast. Tart strawberries and rhubarb combine to create a magical compote filling for this stuffed French toast. Top it with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries. You’ll never miss the butter and syrup. Get the full recipe on Completely Delicious.
- Blueberry French Toast Rollups. You can’t go wrong with fresh blueberries bundled in fried egg-soaked bread and dredged in cinnamon-sugar. If you don’t find blueberries, you can make these kid-friendly French toast rollups with whatever fruit is available. Just cut it into small pieces around the size of blueberries. Get the full recipe on Damn Delicious.
- Brown Sugar Peaches-and-Cream French Toast. Peaches-and-cream is a classic breakfast combo sure to please even the pickiest eaters. The Kahlua is optional, so you won’t miss it. And skip the homemade ice cream in favor of a healthier (and cheaper) drizzle of evaporated milk. Get the full recipe on Half Baked Harvest.
You can also freeze your extra French toast between layers of wax paper and quickly reheat them during the week.
2. Hash Brown, Sausage, & Egg Casserole
Breakfast casseroles are easy to make on the weekend when you have extra time. You can freeze them or keep them in the refrigerator to eat during a busy workweek.
This Italian-spiced breakfast casserole uses inexpensive frozen hash browns and WIC foods like eggs, milk, cheese, and aromatic onions and bell peppers to make a delicious and filling meal.
It’s also easy to customize this or any breakfast casserole to accommodate seasonal foods and what you have in your pantry. For example, you can substitute bacon or leftover ground beef instead of sausage or include different vegetables and cheeses.
Get the full recipe on Spend With Pennies.
You can save even more by finding a coupon for the meat or buying it when it goes on sale at the grocery store. You can also use the Fetch Rewards app to save money on all your groceries.
3. Overnight Oatmeal
You don’t always have time to make a big pot of oatmeal in the morning. However, high-fiber and protein-loaded oatmeal makes a filling breakfast. Oatmeal also uses some common WIC foods, such as oats, milk, and fresh fruit.
You can speed up your morning routine and still enjoy this filling start to the day by preparing overnight oats. Just before you go to bed the night before, combine whole-grain rolled oats (not quick oats) with milk, a sweetener like brown sugar or honey, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl, cover, and set it in the refrigerator overnight to soften. You can also use a Mason jar to keep it portable.
In the morning, you can add toppings, including:
- Fresh or dried fruit
- Homemade granola
- Greek yogurt
- Fruit jam or jelly
- Peanut butter or almond butter
- Nuts, like almonds or walnuts
- Seeds, like sunflower, pumpkin, or chia
- Shredded coconut
- Spices, like nutmeg or apple pie spice
You can eat these creamy overnight oats cold or warmed in the microwave. There are many overnight oatmeal variations, which means you can cater to every picky eater in your house.
Get the full recipe on Feel Good Foodie.
Or find more overnight oatmeal recipe variations, including banana-nut oatmeal and carrot cake oatmeal, at Life Made Sweeter.
4. Huevos Rancheros
Huevos rancheros (literally “ranchers eggs”) is a popular breakfast dish in regions of Mexico and the American Southwest because it’s full of filling, healthy ingredients that can keep you going all day long.
Top a crispy-fried corn tortilla with canned or homemade refried beans and a quick DIY chile-tomato salsa. You can use any style egg you prefer, but the runny yolk of a sunny-side-up egg really brings all the flavors together. Then top it with your favorite WIC-approved cheese.
Get the full recipe on Muy Bueno.
If you choose to make homemade refried beans, you can easily double or triple the recipe and freeze it in individual or family meal-size portions to eat throughout the month.
Instead of using salt pork (if your recipe calls for it), substitute four to six slices of bacon or leave the meat out entirely to make the recipe more WIC-friendly (and vegan). You can replace the fat with a knob of butter or vegetable shortening (or just plain oil). A tablespoon or two should do.
If your family has trouble getting in their daily allotment of fruits and vegetables, make a creamy and delicious smoothie. Smoothies are sweet and fun to eat, and since their texture is more like a milkshake, many kids are happy to slurp them up before they head out the door.
But they’re also an efficient way to get a full meal when you’re pressed for time in the mornings since you can make breakfast in a matter of minutes.
Smoothies use many WIC-approved foods, such as milk or nondairy milk (for example, almond milk) and fresh fruits and vegetables like bananas and carrots. You can also add nutrients from Greek yogurt or oats or healthy, nutrient-rich fats from avocados or nut butters.
Because smoothie recipes are so varied and versatile, it’s easy to customize them based on what you have at home. Try some of these recipes:
- Strawberry-Banana Smoothie. This sweet and creamy smoothie features the classic combo of strawberries and bananas with a boost of extra nutrition from vitamin-powerhouse raspberries. Get the full recipe on Love & Lemons.
- Tropical Smoothie Bowl. This smoothie is bursting with tropical flavors like mango, pineapple, and banana. But you can easily substitute other tropical fruits, like tart kiwi, luscious papaya, or sweet coconut, to take advantage of what’s on sale. Get the full recipe on Good Housekeeping.
- Orange-Carrot-Ginger Smoothie. When you need a refreshing pick-me-up, make this your go-to recipe. The bright flavors of oranges pair perfectly with savory-sweet carrots and spicy ginger. Get the full recipe on She Likes Food.
- Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie. This kid-friendly recipe is a healthy way to satisfy a peanut butter craving without the fuss of making a sandwich. You can also add a scoop or two of cocoa powder to make it taste like a drinkable Reese’s cup without the added sugar. Get the full recipe on Well Plated by Erin.
Unfortunately, you do need a blender to make smoothies. If you don’t have one, check your local thrift store or consumer-to-consumer secondhand apps like OfferUp. Or ask friends and family if they have one they’re not using — everyone knows someone who bought a blender with the best of intentions only to use it once and then forget about it.
If you strike out on that front, you can purchase a stick blender, also known as an immersion blender, for around $25. If you use a stick blender, you might need to add frozen ingredients slowly because the blender is less powerful, and a stick blender won’t crush ice. If you plan to make smoothies often, it’s likely worth it to spend a little more and get a full-size blender.
6. Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet potato pancakes are high in protein and an excellent source of vitamin A. Lightly sweetened with maple syrup and warming spices, these fluffy pancakes don’t need a lot of extra high-calorie syrup to taste delicious. The recipe calls for coconut oil, but you can easily substitute butter.
Get the full recipe on Sweet Peas and Saffron.
These pancakes are wonderful to make around Thanksgiving, when sweet potatoes are on deep discount at the grocery store. Stock up on sweet potatoes when they’re on sale or use canned sweet potatoes to save time.
And pancakes freeze well, so you can make a large batch and stock them in the freezer.
7. Vegan Bean, Potato, & Veggie Hash
This frugal and healthy breakfast hash will keep you full until lunchtime, and it’s so full of flavor you won’t even miss the meat.
This hash uses many WIC-approved foods, such as hearty pinto beans and fresh vegetables like zucchini, squash, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. Crispy potatoes add texture and help make it more filling. Paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder round it out and add a kick of flavor.
Get the full recipe on Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen.
Most hash recipes take around 45 minutes to an hour to prepare, so save this recipe for a weekend when you have plenty of time.
WIC Recipes for Lunch
At lunchtime, you and your family are probably looking for a meal that’s quick and easy to make or easy to pack for lunch or school. These frugal and delicious WIC-friendly lunch recipes fit the bill here.
Quiche uses many WIC-approved foods, like eggs, milk, cheese, and fresh vegetables. You can also boost the protein with chopped ham, bacon, or sausage.
Plus, quiche is a light and quick meal, especially if you make several, freeze them, and reheat a slice for lunch or brunch at home or work.
And there are so many ways to make quiche you’re sure to find at least one you love. For example, you can try:
- Basic Easy Quiche. This quick quiche recipe uses savory ham and crisp green onions to add flavor. Topped with a gooey layer of your favorite shredded cheese, this recipe is sure to please everyone in your family. Get the full recipe on Spend With Pennies.
- Turkey and Cheddar Quiche. Turkey and cheddar quiche is the perfect recipe to make when you have leftover roast turkey from Thanksgiving or other special occasions. The creamy filling features shredded cheddar cheese and fresh scallions for bite. Get the full recipe on Food Network.
- Cheesy Bacon Quiche (Quiche Lorraine). You can’t go wrong with luscious eggs paired with a mild, creamy cheese and crispy bacon. Together, these flavors combine to create a quiche that likely won’t be around for leftovers. Gruyere cheese probably isn’t covered on WIC, so substitute Monterey Jack instead. Get the full recipe on Boulder Locavore.
Many quiche recipes call for heavy cream. If you don’t have this non-WIC-approved ingredient, substitute milk and cornstarch. For each cup of cream, make a slurry of two tablespoons of cornstarch and one cup of milk. The quiche might be slightly less creamy and rich, but it will still be delicious.
Some recipes also call for frozen pie crust, another non-WIC-approved ingredient. But pie crusts often go on sale around the holidays, so if you have some extra cash, stock up during that time and keep them in the freezer. You can also make your own pie crusts and keep them in the freezer to use throughout the year.
9. Egg Salad Sandwiches
If you’re looking for ways to make the most of your eggs, try making an egg salad sandwich.
Egg salad is nothing more than boiled, peeled, and chopped eggs paired with binders like mayonnaise and mustard and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper or livelier spices like cayenne pepper or dill. You can also add other ingredients for texture and flavor, like pickle relish, celery, or red bell peppers.
To boost the protein and change the flavor profile, substitute half the mayonnaise for Greek Yogurt.
There are many ways to make egg salad, from the traditional mustard-mayo mix to recipes capturing the flavors of a particular region. Try one of these WIC-friendly recipes.
- Traditional Egg Salad. This creamy and delicious egg salad is as simple as it gets, with just three ingredients: mashed hard-boiled eggs mixed with creamy mayo or tangy Greek yogurt and just enough mustard to enhance the flavor. For texture and zest, add diced onion, chopped celery, and diced pickles or pickle relish. Get the full recipe on Tastes Better From Scratch.
- Southwestern Egg Salad. Take your egg salad to the next level with Southwestern flavors like spicy jalapeno, fresh cilantro, and smoky spices like cumin and chili powder. Get the full recipe on The Hungry Housewife.
- Bahamian Egg Salad. The unique fresh flavors of this Bahamian egg salad would be perfect for a summer lunch. This recipe calls for thick, spicy mustard in place of regular yellow mustard, and it definitely adds some kick to the egg salad. In the Bahamas, they would typically use Bajamar brand spicy mustard, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute American Creole mustard. Get the full recipe on Just a Pinch.
Pile the egg salad on some whole-wheat bread or in a lettuce cup or pita pocket. Pair it with a side salad or some fresh fruit, and you have a delicious and healthy lunch for your family.
Falafel is a fragrant and delicious Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas, garlic, herbs, and spices. Falafel is a popular street food in the Middle East. Its flavor comes almost entirely from the herbs and spices in the recipe: cumin, coriander, and spicy cayenne along with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill. The result is a hearty, crispy, and savory vegan dish that’s easy and inexpensive to make.
To make falafel, mix cooked, mashed chickpeas with herbs and spices and form it into balls or patties to bake or fry. Then wrap them in pita bread with a drizzle of tahini or schmear of hummus.
Get the recipe on The Mediterranean Dish.
You can save money with this recipe by cooking WIC-approved dried chickpeas (rather than canned). You can also make a large batch of falafel and freeze it to have a quick, healthy lunch or dinner during the week.
11. Vegetarian Black Bean Quesadillas
These flavorful black bean quesadillas come together with several WIC-approved ingredients: crispy-grilled whole-grain tortillas stuffed with black beans, sweet frozen corn, fresh cilantro, melty cheese, and zesty red onion. Top them with sour cream or homemade salsa for even more flavor.
Get the full recipe on Budget Bytes.
12. Canned Tuna & Chickpea Salad
This light and refreshing salad uses your WIC-approved canned tuna, canned chickpeas, red onion, parsley, and lemon. The flavors are fresh and bright, and there are many ways to make this easy lunch recipe:
- Basic Tuna and Chickpea Salad. Crisp red onion and cucumbers mix with bright tomatoes and creamy feta cheese to make this protein-rich tuna and chickpea salad perfect for a summer lunch. Get the full recipe on Well Plated by Erin.
- Avocado Tuna and Chickpea Salad. This healthy take on tuna salad substitutes creamy, buttery avocado for traditional mayonnaise, which reduces calories and increases healthy fats. Get the full recipe on Cafe Delites.
- Quinoa Tuna and Chickpea Salad. Pair healthy quinoa and fresh spinach with tuna and chickpeas along with fresh tomatoes, bright herbs like cilantro and mint, and crisp celery and cucumber for a genuinely unique and filling lunch. Get the full recipe on The Spruce Eats.
You can serve this salad on whole-grain bread or eat it inside a pita or with pita chips.
13. Peanut Butter-Banana Rollups
These healthy rollups are a healthier alternative to sugar-laden peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Using bananas instead of jam lowers the amount of added sugars and boosts nutrition. But you can use any fresh fruit available at the grocery store, such as strawberries, apples, or peaches.
WIC-friendly whole-grain tortillas and peanut butter help boost the healthy grains and protein in your diet.
The recipe calls for granola, which WIC doesn’t cover in some states. However, you can easily make granola at home using WIC-approved oats along with nuts or seeds and dried fruits, which you can dry yourself in the oven. Or you can substitute crunchy Grape-Nuts or other crushed WIC-approved cereal.
Simply spread a whole-grain tortilla with peanut butter, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with your granola or cereal of choice, and then add a whole banana. Roll up the tortilla, and then it’s ready to serve. It’s easy enough for your kids to make on their own.
Get the full recipe on Ready Set Eat.
14. Black Bean Soup
Soup is an excellent dish to make with WIC ingredients because it’s inexpensive, and a few ingredients can feed a lot of people.
This black bean soup recipe takes advantage of WIC ingredients like dried black beans, aromatic onions and garlic, spicy jalapenos, and red and green bell peppers, with fresh cilantro and creamy avocado for garnish. Add a Southwestern kick with cumin and chili powder for depth, and use optional toppers like sour cream and a bright squeeze of lime for even more flavor.
Get the full instructions at Pioneer Woman.
Remember that this recipe uses dried black beans, which you must soak overnight. If you forget to put them in water the night before, you can speed up the soaking time using the stove. Add the beans to a medium pot filled with water, bring them to a boil for two minutes, and then turn off the heat. Let the beans soak for at least an hour before using them in the recipe.
WIC Recipes for Dinner
Are you scrambling to figure out what’s for dinner? These affordable meals take advantage of healthy, WIC-approved food items.
15. Veggie Burgers
Homemade veggie burgers can be just as satisfying and filling as their meat-heavy counterparts. What’s more, they’re far healthier, and you can make them for a fraction of the cost.
This veggie burger recipe relies on WIC-approved black beans as the primary ingredient, with added flavor from fragrant sauteed onion, garlic, and bell pepper. What makes these burgers shine are the spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder, along with smoky Worcestershire sauce. You also need eggs and breadcrumbs plus ketchup, mayo, or barbecue sauce to bind the ingredients.
Get the recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction.
If you don’t have the non-WIC ingredients this recipe calls for, like feta cheese, breadcrumbs, or certain spices, leave them out or substitute something else. You can also easily make your own breadcrumbs from extra bread if you have some on hand.
It’s another recipe that freezes well, so you can make a double batch to have extra on hand for the busy week ahead.
16. Vegetarian Chili
You don’t need meat to cook up a hearty and filling pot of chili.
This mild vegetarian chili uses canned black beans and pinto beans and canned tomatoes. It also has fresh cilantro and plenty of aromatic vegetables, like carrots, onion, celery, and red bell pepper, all of which are available on WIC.
You can top the chili with tangy sour cream, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese for extra flavor. A scattering of crushed tortilla chips or saltines adds texture.
Get the full instructions on Cookie + Kate.
One advantage to chili is that it freezes well. You can easily double this recipe and freeze half of it to eat later in the week. You can also make the most of your leftovers by using extra chili as a topping for hot dogs or baked potatoes for lunch.
17. Pasta Primavera
Pasta primavera lets you take advantage of colorful, inexpensive, and abundant seasonal vegetables bursting with fresh flavors.
Pasta primavera uses WIC-approved fresh vegetables like red bell pepper, red onion, carrots, squash, and zucchini. You can saute all the veggies while the pasta boils, and then season with garlic, Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. The result is a light, fresh, and healthy pasta dish your family will love.
You can also use whole-grain pasta to make the most of your WIC benefits and top the pasta with shredded Parmesan and fresh basil for added flavor.
Get the full recipe on Cooking Classy.
During the winter months, in-season vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and butternut squash would work well as substitutions. If you don’t have fresh vegetables, using some frozen options, like peas or broccoli, would be fine.
18. Hoppin’ John
While Hoppin’ John is usually served as a side dish, it’s so hearty it makes a filling meal on its own.
Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern dish traditionally eaten for good luck on New Year’s Day. But you don’t have to wait until the winter holidays to enjoy this frugal and filling dish.
At its most basic, Hoppin’ John is nothing more than black-eyed peas and rice. But don’t let its simplicity fool you into thinking this dish is bland. Adding WIC-friendly aromatics like onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery along with some salty and savory bacon or ham hock transforms this humble dish into an incredibly frugal meal you and your family can eat for several days.
Get the full recipe on Southern Living.
Some variations to Hoppin’ John also call for the addition of collard greens. Adding a healthy handful of greens boosts the nutritional content and further stretches the recipe.
19. Egg Roll in a Bowl
When you’re craving takeout Chinese food, try making egg roll in a bowl instead. This recipe has all the flavors of cheap takeout egg rolls without the unhealthy fried wrapper.
Many of the ingredients this recipe calls for, like rice, cabbage, green onions, and carrots, are WIC-approved.
You do need to purchase meat, like ground turkey or pork. But you can substitute marinated firm or extra-firm tofu if approved on your WIC program.
Sesame oil adds a deep nutty flavor. While it costs around $3 per bottle at Walmart, one bottle will likely last you a long time. Because sesame oil is so potent, you typically only need one or two teaspoons for an entire batch of food.
For even more flavor on the cheap, pick up the optional but recommended umami-sweet hoisin sauce at an Asian market for less than your regular grocery store charges.
Get the full recipe on The Seasoned Mom.
20. Stuffed Peppers
When colorful bell peppers go on sale at the grocery store or you find a great deal at your summertime farmers market, try making one of these classic stuffed peppers recipes.
Stuff the peppers with lean ground beef along with WIC-approved foods like rice, tomato sauce, and fragrant onions and garlic, then top them with cheese. You can also try different recipe variations to liven up your peppers.
- Classic American Stuffed Peppers. This stuffed pepper recipe is a favorite with many families because it tastes like a healthy version of a cheeseburger. Saute lean meat with onion and rice to create a delicious filling. When the stuffed peppers come out of the oven, quickly top them with cheese and serve. Get the full recipe on Betty Crocker.
- Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers. Chef John uses balsamic vinegar and marinara sauce to create a homey Italian-style stuffed pepper. Spicy crushed red pepper flakes add some heat, while fresh parsley mellows the flavors and brings them together. Get the full recipe on Allrecipes.
- Spicy Mexican-Style Stuffed Peppers. This recipe puts a Tex-Mex spin on stuffed peppers with canned fire-roasted tomatoes, smoky Southwestern spices, and flavorful toppings like tangy sour cream and spicy jalapenos. Get the full recipe on Well Plated by Erin.
When you’re pressed for time and need to get dinner on the table fast, try making fajitas. You can use chicken or an inexpensive steak like flank or even make them vegetarian using marinated firm or extra-firm tofu, sauteed mushrooms, or beans. Fajitas can use many WIC-approved foods, like whole-grain tortillas, fresh vegetables, and cheese.
Fajitas are also easy to prep on the weekend to cook during the week. Slice the vegetables and meat, marinating it if necessary. If the marinade has a time limit, such as three hours, be sure to drain it at that time. Then store everything in a reusable container in the refrigerator, and they’ll be ready to throw into the skillet after work.
There are many different fajita recipes you can try to liven things up and keep the dish interesting from week to week.
- Standard Steak, Chicken, or Shrimp Fajitas. This fajita recipe mixes smoky spices like chili powder, paprika, and cumin with garlic and oregano and uses lime juice to season and tenderize the meat. Get the full recipe at Downshiftology.
- One-Pan Oven-Roasted Fajitas. If you’re looking for a more hands-off recipe, try cooking the meat and vegetables in a single casserole dish in the oven. Just toss the meat and veggies in a mixture of oil and a smoky and spicy homemade fajita seasoning (recipe provided), and let it bake while you prepare the toppers. Get the recipe on Budget Bytes.
- Easy Portobello Fajitas. These vegetarian fajitas use mushrooms, which add a meaty depth of flavor to the dish. The recipe calls for portobello mushrooms, which may not be available on WIC. But you can use any type of WIC-approved mushrooms. You can also often find portobello mushrooms on discount as they near their expiration date and save your WIC dollars for the onions and peppers. Get the full recipe at The Simple Veganista.
One of the biggest benefits of making fajitas is that you can top them with many different foods, herbs, and sauces to change the flavor. And many are WIC-approved.
For example, shredded cheese, cilantro, and fresh avocado taste delicious on fajitas. But you can also prepare more dynamic toppings from other WIC foods. For instance, you can roast fresh jalapenos, make your own salsa or pico de gallo, or make black bean-and-corn salsa.
When it comes time to make your fajitas, heat your tortillas in the microwave or on a skillet and keep them warm wrapped in a tea towel or slightly damp paper towel. You can also keep your meat and veggies warm by cooking them in a cast-iron skillet and taking it straight to the table to let everyone serve themselves. Just keep the hot skillet away from curious little hands.
Mujadara is a Middle Eastern dish that takes humble ingredients like white or brown rice, lentils, and onions and elevates them to a deep and multilayered dish your family will love.
Mujadara is a perfect combination of creamy lentils, fluffy rice, and savory-sweet caramelized onions. The dish is very hearty and filling and provides a rich array of savory flavors thanks to the cumin and seven spice. If you don’t have Lebanese seven-spice, you can make your own or use garam masala, though the flavor profile will differ.
Get the full recipe on Zaatar and Zaytoun.
When you serve mujadara with hummus and a green salad, it’s a delicious and inexpensive recipe that makes the most of WIC-approved ingredients.
You can also double the amount of onion in this recipe. Caramelized onions are so unctuous your family might grab extra to top their plates. You can also complete your dish with a dollop of yogurt or sprinkle of fresh parsley for added flavor.
WIC Recipes for Sides
Try making some of these easy and delicious side dishes using WIC-approved foods.
23. Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash
Who wouldn’t like to try green mashed potatoes? You can also call this recipe “ogre mash” to make it fun for your kids.
Just mash fiber-rich broccoli, creamy cheese, and potatoes to make a tasty, inexpensive, and nutrient-rich side dish. The recipe calls for fontina cheese, but you can substitute a WIC-approved cheese like provolone, muenster, or mozzarella.
Get the full recipe on EatingWell.
24. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
If your family loves french fries, try this healthier baked option made with sweet potatoes.
You can also change the flavor significantly depending on what your family likes. Sprinkle the fries with garam masala, curry, pumpkin pie spice, Cajun seasoning, or chipotle seasoning. Or skip those and use good, old-fashioned salt and pepper.
Get the full recipe on Simply Recipes.
25. Honey-Glazed Carrots
Honey-glazed carrots is perfect recipe to make when carrots go on sale or you have a bumper crop in your garden. These carrots are quick and easy to prepare and sweet enough to appeal even to picky eaters. In addition to carrots, it uses just a handful of ingredients, including honey or maple syrup for sweetness, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper.
A little fresh thyme goes a long way to adding that extra something that makes these carrots extraordinary. But if you don’t have it, you can leave it out or substitute oregano, marjoram, parsley, or even herbes de Provence if you’ve got it.
Get the full recipe on Spend With Pennies.
26. Heirloom Tomato Salad
Save this recipe for the height of summer, when fresh tomatoes are at their peak in flavor and freshness. It features tomatoes with grassy basil and chives. Other simple ingredients, like Champagne vinegar, honey, and olive oil, enhance the tomatoes’ flavor without disguising their natural sweetness.
Get the full recipe on Good Housekeeping.
27. Oven-Roasted Vegetables
When you score a great deal on fresh vegetables at the grocery store or farmers market, try roasting them in the oven. Oven-roasting transforms fresh vegetables into crispy, caramelized bites.
This recipe uses comforting spices like rosemary, thyme, and basil to bring out the flavor of caramelized carrots, Brussels sprouts, baby red potatoes, red onion, and sweet potatoes.
Get the full recipe on Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
You can use oven-roasted vegetables as a side for dinner, and they also taste heavenly on top of pasta, in a wrap with hummus and olive oil, or on top of a salad.
Other vegetables that roast well include parsnips, peppers, beets, broccoli, whole garlic heads, kale, and cauliflower. You can use the same roasting instructions (though cook time may vary) and any herbs or spices you have on hand. Some common seasonings for roasting include salt, black pepper, thyme, garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
Adding a little citrus or apple cider vinegar also adds brightness. You can cut a lime or lemon in half and roast the halves with your veggies, then squeeze the slightly sweetened juice on at the end.
28. Arugula Salad With Parmesan, Lemon, & Olive Oil
You don’t need to buy calorie-laden salad dressings to make a great salad. This recipe uses only five ingredients: peppery arugula, nutty Parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness, olive oil, and pepper. The result is a quick, healthy, and delicious salad.
Get the full recipe on Gimme Some Oven.
If you have leftovers, you can add a boost of protein with a handful of canned chickpeas, marinated firm or extra-firm tofu, or leftover cooked chicken or steak. Toss it all into a Mason jar for lunch on the go.
29. Chopped Thai Salad
This flavorful Thai-inspired salad uses many WIC-approved ingredients: fresh cabbage, colorful bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and limes.
But what makes this salad shine is the dressing, which uses creamy peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and chili-garlic sauce.
Get the full recipe on Dinner at the Zoo.
30. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
This unique salad uses an unlikely ingredient, Brussels sprouts, as a base for a quick and healthy side. Since Brussels sprouts can be slightly bitter when raw, the recipe relies on sweet dried cranberries (you can use regular or golden raisins), a splash of citrus, chives, grated cheese, and nuts to balance the flavor and add texture.
You won’t find pecorino cheese on your list of WIC-approved foods, but you can easily substitute Parmesan. Pine nuts won’t be there, either, and they’re too pricey, anyway. You can use any other nut or seed you have on hand, such as pecans or sunflower seeds, or try roasting some canned chickpeas instead.
Brussels sprouts are a hearty green that holds up well over time, which means you can make this salad hours in advance of dinner, and it will remain crisp. But dress it at the last minute for best results.
Get the full recipe on Love & Lemons.
WIC Recipes for Snacks
Using WIC-approved ingredients, you can easily make healthy and frugal snacks your family will love.
31. Chips & Dips
WIC doesn’t cover snack foods like chips and dips. However, you can easily make healthy, homemade salty snacks at home using many WIC-approved ingredients.
If your family loves eating crunchy chips, try making these at home with your WIC-approved ingredients. They’re less expensive and healthier, and you can change the spices to make some genuinely unique snacks.
- Baked Tortilla Chips. For this simple recipe, use WIC-approved corn (or even whole-wheat) tortillas. You can also add more flavor with lime juice, chili powder, and salt. Keep a close eye on these when they’re in the oven to ensure they don’t burn. Get the full recipe on Budget Bytes.
- Homemade Potato Chips. This recipe uses just three ingredients to create crispy homemade potato chips: potatoes, olive oil, and salt. If you prefer flavored chips, you can also add other seasonings, like paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, or even a sprinkling of grated Parmesan. After making these, you won’t go back to bagged chips again. Get the full recipe on Bowl of Delicious.
- Fried Pasta Chips. These unique chips are a clever way to use up leftover whole-wheat pasta. Pasta chips are fried in a skillet with olive oil and then topped with flavorful seasonings like taco seasoning or Asian spice blends. They’re an affordable, crunchy, and healthy snack that’s sure to be a hit with your family. Get the full recipe on Mantitlement.
Dips come in various flavors and textures, and when paired with a crispy homemade chip, they make for a delicious and healthy snack.
- Guacamole. This recipe uses plenty of creamy avocado seasoned with citrusy cilantro and lime, fresh tomatoes and onion, and jalapeno peppers for bite. The result is a satisfying classic dip for tortilla or pasta chips. Get the full recipe on Downshiftology.
- Black Bean and Corn Salad. This salad starts with a complementary combo of sweet corn and savory black beans. Kick up the flavor with buttery avocado, honey, a splash of lime, and juicy tomatoes. Then add red bell pepper, cilantro, chili powder, and cumin for zing. Serve it with your homemade tortilla chips. Get the full recipe on Dinner at the Zoo.
- Hummus. Hummus is a savory Middle Eastern spread that’s perfect on sandwiches or eaten as a dip with fresh vegetables, pita bread, or your favorite homemade chips. You make hummus with cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini. Get the full recipe on Cookie + Kate. If you snag a deal on roasted red peppers, you can also try roasted red pepper hummus. Get that recipe on Downshiftology.
- Mango Salsa. This fresh, colorful, and slightly spicy salsa is a perfect summertime snack when mangos are in season. It also calls for red bell peppers (but you can use any color), fresh cilantro, spicy jalapenos, zesty red onion, and the tart juice of a whole lime to create a unique salsa for dipping tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos or fajitas. Get the full recipe on Cookie + Kate.
32. Fruit & Vegetable Dips
While they add fat and calories, fruit or vegetable dip can liven up fresh produce and convince picky little eaters to eat their veggies. Although some of the ingredients aren’t WIC-approved, these dips can help ensure you get your full serving of fruits and veggies every day.
Fruits are sweet on their own, but if you pair them with a dip, they can taste like a decadent dessert. When it comes to which fruits work best for dipping, choose firmer fruits like bananas, apples, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, or pears.
- Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. This recipe creates a creamy and delicious fruit dip out of just four ingredients: honey, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Get the full recipe on Celebrating Sweets.
- Marshmallow-Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. This recipe uses a splash of orange juice and sweet marshmallow fluff to create a unique and delightful dip. Get the full recipe on Favorite Family Recipes.
- Sour Cream-Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. Combine luscious cream cheese with tangy sour cream, a bit of sugar, and splash of lemon juice for a flavor that pairs perfectly with fruits. Get the full recipe on Lemon Tree Dwelling.
Most kids aren’t thrilled about fresh vegetables, but these delicious dips can change that.
- Tzatziki Dip. This cool Greek-inspired recipe uses yogurt and grated cucumber as a base. Add garlic for some earthy notes, then finish it off with the bright flavors of fresh dill and lemon juice. You can also enjoy it with grilled vegetables or meat. Get the full recipe on Downshiftology.
- Easy Garlic and Dill-Herb Veggie Dip. Take the classic flavors of ranch dressing and elevate them to a new level. Blend mayonnaise and sour cream with plenty of bright and grassy dried herbs, like dill, parsley, and chives. Tarragon brings a hint of licorice flavor to the mix. If you’re growing your own herbs to save money, you can use fresh by tripling the amount. Get the full recipe on The Chunky Chef.
- Skinny Dill Vegetable Dip. This recipe offers more protein and less fat by mixing the luscious mayo with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The bright flavors of dill and parsley make this healthy dip a winner. Get the full recipe on Rachel Cooks.
33. Healthy Snack Bars
If you’re trying to get your family into a healthy eating habit, make homemade snack bars instead of buying premade snack foods, which are often high in sugar or fat. These snack bars use many WIC-approved foods, like peanut butter, oats, fresh fruits, and chickpeas.
- Healthy Five-Ingredient Granola Bars. This recipe uses oats, nut butter, chewy dates, sweet maple syrup, and crunchy almonds along with any extra ingredients you want to throw in, like chocolate chips or dried fruit, to create a healthier snack your family can eat on the go. Get the full recipe on Minimalist Baker.
- Oatmeal Bars. These oatmeal bars make a filling and delicious snack thanks to wholesome oats, crunchy walnuts, and sweet-tart applesauce and dried cranberries. They’re high in fiber, which helps keep you and your kids full until dinner is on the table. You can also eat them for breakfast when you’re short on time. Get the full recipe on Feel Good Foodie.
- Peanut Butter Special K Bars. If you’re looking for a new way to use some of your WIC-approved cereal, try these decadent but healthy snack bars, which use wheat-and-rice flake cereal (like Special K) for added crunch. These bars taste more like dessert, with rich dark chocolate that pairs perfectly with vanilla, sea salt, and creamy peanut butter. Get the full recipe on Half Baked Harvest.
- Vegan Cookie Dough-Oatmeal Bars. With a name like that, how could you not want to make these chocolatey cinnamon-laced breakfast bars? These delicious and healthy bars use many WIC-approved foods, such as chickpeas, oats, and bananas. While chickpeas might sound strange in a breakfast bar, they add the thickening creaminess you’d otherwise get from flour and butter. Get the full recipe on Food Faith Fitness.
One of the benefits of using WIC is that you can start cooking nutritious meals from scratch. But if you’re not used to cooking with certain WIC-approved ingredients, like dried beans or whole grains, it can be intimidating. Fortunately, with a bit of preparation, you can quickly become familiar with new ingredients and learn how to cook with these healthy foods.
The Web is full of helpful recipes and tutorials to help you learn how to start preparing these new ingredients, including:
- How to cook dried beans
- How to cook perfect rice
- How to cook perfect lentils
- How to make crispy baked tofu
- How to cook dried chickpeas
If you want even more recipes, start by talking to the nutritionist at the WIC clinic. They should have plenty of healthy recipes that take advantage of WIC foods. There might also be some recipes offered in the WIC office or included with your shopping guide.