The standard WIC food package includes cheese. Each participant over 1 year old is eligible to receive 1 pound of cheese per month in addition to the other dairy options of yogurt and milk. Cheese can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet, and we have a variety of flavors and types for you to choose from.
How can cheese be part of a healthy diet?
Cheese is a great source of calcium, which helps to develop strong bones. We recommend that children consume 16 ounces of dairy per day, and adults consume 24 ounces. Since many people enjoy a variety of dairy options, you do not necessarily need to eat a full 16 or 24 ounces of cheese daily. But what does an ounce of cheese look like? How do you know if you are eating the recommended amount?
Here are some portion size references for 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheese
1 string cheese stick
4 game dice stacked in a cube
1 golf ball sized scoop of shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1 slice of cheese from a package of sandwich slices
Think about how the cheese you eat balances with the other dairy products you consume throughout the day. You may have heard that cheese is a source of saturated fat, which can cause concerns with heart health. It is true that cheese does contain this, so that's why it is a good idea to add variety to your dairy and choose low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt options, since these are low in saturated fat.
Let's talk about soft cheese:
During your WIC appointment, your nutritionist may ask if you eat soft cheeses. These include feta, brie, blue cheese, and queso fresco / queso blanco. Soft cheeses can grow a bacteria called listeria, which can cause food poisoning. Pregnant people and children under 5 years old are especially susceptible to becoming sick from listeria. This is why we recommend heating these cheeses before eating them (this kills the bacteria), or avoiding them altogether.
*All of the cheese we offer on WIC is safe for you and your children to eat without heating.
WIC Cheese FAQs:
Q: What kind of cheese can I get with my WIC card?
A: You can choose from Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Munster, and American
Q: Can I get shredded cheese or string cheese?
A: Yes. These were recently added to the WIC food package. You can choose 8 or 16oz packages of string or shredded cheese. Make sure to scan the barcode of the product to make sure it is approved and available for you to buy.
Q: Can I buy cheese from the deli?
Q: How do I use blocks of cheese?
A: Slice the blocks of cheese and put them on sandwiches.
Shred the cheese for homemade macaroni and cheese.
Shred the cheese to add to salads.
Slice the cheese into long strips and use them for snacks.