The Lack of Nutrition in Government Nutrition Programs

This is a subject I have been wanting to write about for while and have been thinking about even longer.

When I got pregnant, it was a total accident and wasn’t planned in the least. We hardly had any money and were having trouble making ends meet at the time and were not planning on bringing a baby into the world at the time. So, I got on WIC (Women Infants and Children).

WIC is a governmental nutrition assistance program for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have young children under the age of 5. They provide you with milk, bread, beans, veggies and fruits, peanut butter and a few other basic foods as well as formula and baby foods. They even have a farmer’s market program in the summer.

When we first started, I was so relieved to have some food in the house all the time without worrying that we would have to pick between food and bills. During my pregnancy is when I really started getting into eating real food and organic. I have always ate fairly well since I was little. My parents always had whole wheat bread, raw milk, my mother always cooked our dinners from scratch. The past few years my mom has really been taking it to the next level and really getting into organic and real foods as well. Her and my sister are really good about it and I started to follow suit.

Then I started noticed how little nutrition such programs offer.

What was I allowed to get?

We got 2.5 gallons of milk per check. Sounds good right? Not so much. I was allowed to get skim, 1% or 2%. No whole milk. And obviously no raw milk, since the government doesn’t even allow the sale of raw milk at grocery stores in my state. I was pregnant and needed nutritious foods to help the baby grow and develop.

Skim, 1% and 2% milk aren’t going to provide anyone any nutrition. If you still think they are going to provide vital nutrients and are healthier since there’s less fat, read this post by The Butter Believer.

The chemicals put into milk to remove the fat block any nutrients leftover in milk from being absorbed into your body. So the very small amount of nutrients still in the low fat milks, go in one end out the other, unable to absorb into your body.

What else?

Peanut butter.

What kind of peanut butter?

Jif. Regular Jif. Not the natural Jif. Not other brands of natural. Not organic. Just plain old Jif.

Fruits and veggies! Yum!

It specifically states in the booklet, NO Organic Fruit or veggies.

You also got cheese. You could get any cheese you wanted as long as it wasn’t individually wrapped slices. And it had to be prepackaged, not from the deli.

And for breakfast?

Cereal! Tons, and tons and TONS of cereal. I got 36 oz. of cereal per month!! All of the kinds I was allowed to get on my check were sweetened. Whole grain Cheerios, Dulce le Leche Cheerios, Life, Rice Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats…. All horrible cereals.

Even organic breakfast cereals are not ideal for a meal and most are just empty calories with no nutritional value. So why would I want processed, sugar filled (a lot of them even had high fructose corn syrup in them), GMO packed boxes of junk to pour my skim milk over??

There’s nothing good for you in that type of a breakfast.

Yet, that’s what they want you to eat.

We were only using WIC for a very brief period of time for that reason. It was filling us with unhealthy, non-nutritious, GMO filled, heavily processed foods.

These types of foods are generally what the government endorses. As a matter of fact, they’ve created a new version of the food pyramid in plate form that’s totally anti-real food/real health.

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This is their suggested plate and meal portions.

Where are the good fats? And why are there so many fruits (too much sugar)? The ‘key consumer message’ under the dairy section is, ‘Switch to low fat or fat free milk.’  (source)

There are lots of problems with this government endorsed idea of food. What else do see wrong with it? And why? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let me know in the comments!

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~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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