WIC Dairy Benefits - No Waste!
by Juliana from Michigan
As a family with 3 kiddos — who were at one time all under the age of 5 — my family appreciates the WIC dairy package in a very tangible way.
The gallons of milk, blocks of cheese, and tubs of yogurt make a huge difference in our healthy diet. And, they free up our budget to purchase dairy products for the family members who aren't on WIC!
The dairy items we get from WIC take up a vast part of the refrigerator. Fortunately, I know a few tricks to use up what we were given without any waste.
The first thing I do, after coming home from the grocery store, is freeze a gallon or two of milk in the deep freezer. Marking the gallons with the date helps keep track of when I froze them for future reference. Even so, I’ve been known to pull a gallon from the back bottom corner of the freezer and still find it perfectly usable. If the fat and water separates while thawing out, a good shake usually mixes it all back together. Failing that, I use this milk for pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, and other baked goodies.
Three generations of my family live under one roof and with our many different dietary needs, I need to find creative ways to incorporate dairy on a daily basis. Diabetes and high cholesterol are some health concerns we face together. While some families might be able to share the same meal at the same time, we manage to share different healthy meals at the same family table.
To start the day, Grandma enjoys oatmeal mixed with dried fruit and nuts with a healthy splash of 1% milk. Grandpa, who likes things spicy, has a bowl of grits and shredded cheese with lots of hot sauce.
Dad fries himself an egg with a slice of cheese while I sip a cafe au lait made extra decadent with a milk frother. My coffee and milk sets my "mood" for the day! We have two boys who absolutely love their WIC cereal choices and have been known to beg for an extra bowl of cereal and milk before bedtime. Their favorite lunchtime sandwich is grilled cheese on 100% whole wheat bread.
Their sister is quite famous for her yogurt fruit salads which she constantly reinvents. She dices fruit from our WIC package together with yogurt, maybe a splash of 100% juice, and some cinnamon. We never know what we are going to get---and if she happens to make too much, I freeze it and enjoy a frozen yogurt parfait with her later.
If I need to use up some remaining milk, I make a stove top rice pudding that incorporates milk and spices and is both comforting and nourishing. Simply cook rice according to the package's instructions. Then combine the cooked rice with equal parts milk adding sugar and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Some recipes call for added eggs, cream, raisins and vanilla. I’ve found my young ones just love it with simple vanilla and cinnamon.
By freezing milk for future use, incorporating 2-3 dairy servings into everyone’s daily meals, using milk in baking, and finding desserts that include dairy, I’m able to fully utilize all the dairy we are provided with each month.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Juliana. This is a reposted blog from 2020.
Juliana is a mom of three, newly minted American citizen, and in love with her Michigander husband. Her family makes their home in Caro, MI after many US Army postings. Recently, her in-laws have come to live with them creating a multigenerational home full of love and memories.
In this week's guest post, Juliana shares her ideas for encouraging healthy dairy options in her home. If you would like to learn more ways to offer your family a variety of healthy dairy foods, consider taking our free online lesson called: Build Strong Kids with Dairy Foods. You can find this lesson in the Healthy Families category at wichealth.org.