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.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

Cranberry Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkins aren’t just for carving a funny Jack-O-Lantern or building a scarecrow this holiday season! Pumpkins are nutritious fruits packed with vitamin A and fiber that can be used in all of your favorite fall recipes! These chocolate cranberry pumpkin muffins make for an easy grab-and-go breakfast, snack or dessert! The addition of rich dark chocolate and lightly sweetened dried cranberries gives a burst of sweet and tart flavors without adding on the calories. Canned pumpkin offers the same health benefits as fresh pumpkin, but is a little more convenient. It contributes both color and moistness to these fruit-filled muffins. You can also easily double this recipe to feed a crowd- perfect for your holiday office party!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Text Box:  1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup lightly sweetened dried cranberries, chopped (such as Craisins)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (65-85%)
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.
  1. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and next 6 ingredients (though cloves); stir well with a whisk.
  2. Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.
  4. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Apple A Day

Kelli George

Your ‘apple a day’ made fun


We have all heard that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, right?  But who really feels like eating a plain apple EVERY SINGLE DAY?  Apples are delicious, but sometimes we get tired of eating the same foods all the time.  I am always looking for new ways to switch up the way I fix my healthy fruits and vegetables to make them even more appealing. 




One of my favorite healthy snacks is a play on the typical apple and peanut butter combination.  Instead of just an apple with peanut butter spread on it, you also top the apple slices with some granola and dark chocolate chips!  (Because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more chocolate?)  Eating the whole apple with the peanut butter, granola, and chocolate chips provides nearly ½ of the recommended daily protein intake for most adults (0.8-1 gram per kilogram of body weight).  That’s almost half of your protein needs in one snack!  I personally use dry oatmeal as my granola choice, but you can always have fun with it and add some flavored granola, mixed nuts, or any other topping that appeals to you.


Not only is this snack packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but as an added bonus it is so much more filling than simply eating a plain apple.  When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, sometimes it can be easy to sacrifice taste for nutrition.  This snack is definitely an exception to that fact because it just tastes so good!


I think the most common theme here is finding snacks that are healthy yet tasty!  Here are some other great ways to switch up your apple snacking:


·         Pair an apple with your favorite cheese

·         Sprinkle some cinnamon on thin slices of apple, and bake at 225° for 45-60 minutes to make crunchy apple chips

·         Dice  your apple and mix with your other favorite fruits to make a refreshing fruit salad


Remember to experiment with different apple varieties! Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples are delightful, but have you every tried a Gala, Pink Lady, or Fuji apple? Many grocery stores stock many other varieties that change year round, so take a step outside of your apple comfort zone and try variety that is new to you!





1- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Protein. Retrieved from website:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Refreshing Water

Stay Cool This Summer with Infused Water
Post written by Abi Mitch, VCUHS Dietetic Intern
This summer, stay hydrated and choose healthier beverages to help you stay cool. While a glass of ice cold lemonade, sweet tea, juice, or soda is refreshing on a hot day, these drinks are full of sugar and packed with calories. Put some of your WIC cash value benefits to good use by making infused water with a portion of the fruits and vegetables that you purchase. You can even eat the fruits and vegetables after the water has finished infusing! By choosing infused water over sweetened beverages, you can decrease the amount of sugar and calories you consume during the day to improve your health while still having a thirst quenching beverage.
Make infused water by soaking a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and tea in water using glass jars, large pitchers, or personal sized water bottles. Make sure to remove the paper tag and string from tea bags before soaking them in water. Cut off the rind of lemons, limes, and grapefruit to reduce bitterness of the water.
Here are several flavor combinations for 32 ounces (4 cups) of infused water, feel free to mix and match fruits and other flavors as you prefer.
Mandarin, Basil, and Black Tea Infused Water
2 mandarin oranges, sliced with rind removed
4 basil leaves, torn
1 bag of black tea
Combine ingredients with water, infuse for 2-3 hours at room temperature and then remove the tea bags. Refrigerate after infusing.
Green Tea Citrus Infused Water
½ of a grapefruit, sliced with rind removed
½ of a lemon, sliced with rind removed
1 bag of green tea
Combine ingredients with water, infuse for 2-3 hours at room temperature and then remove the tea bags. Refrigerate after infusing.
Mango Mint Infused Water
2 sprigs of fresh mint (or about 8 small leaves)
½ of a mango, with the skin cut off and divided into pieces (about 6)
Combine the mint and mango with water and let the infusion sit for 3-4 hours at room temperature. Refrigerate after infusing.
Watermelon Cilantro Infused Water
4 cubes fresh watermelon
5-6 leaves cilantro
Tear the cilantro leaves in half to get the most flavor. Add purified water and chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
Cucumber Jalapeño Mint Infused Water
3″ of cucumber (English or regular), sliced
½ of a jalapeño pepper, de-seeded
1 sprig of mint leaves
To de-seed a jalapeño, cut off the pepper’s top and then cut the pepper in half. Wear a latex glove or cover your thumb with plastic wrap, and run your thumb down the length of the pepper, removing all seeds and the pith. Combine the ingredients in a container and cover with cold water. Infuse for 4-24 hours in the refrigerator. Longer infusion times will result in stronger flavors.
There are many other great fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices that can be used to infuse water:

Chamomile Tea
Hibiscus Tea


If you are short on time, add a squeeze of citrus juice or other fruit to a glass of sparkling water. You get the same flavor with none of the waiting time!


Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad

It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Looking for a nice refreshing side dish, or meal in itself? Pasta salad is the answer! Incorporate whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies, and a light vinaigrette for a yummy, nutritious dish.

Kale White Bean Pasta Salad

1 Pound Cooked Pasta

1 Bunch of Kale, rinsed and cut into bite sized pieces

10.5 Ounce Package of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Can White Beans, drained and rinsed

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

Whisk the last four ingredients together separately.

Then, toss with pasta and kale, tomatoes, and beans.

Cover, and refrigerate until it’s time to enjoy!

Or, Create your own!

Tips for the Perfect Pasta Salad:

* Whole wheat pasta has more fiber that will aid in bowel regularity and help you feel full longer!

* Beans add protein for a balanced meal.

* Add a rainbow of veggies for a variety of vitamins and minerals.

* Using olive oil instead of a mayonnaise based dressing provides heart healthy benefits.

* Use store bought fat-free Italian dressing for a quick and easy alternative to making your own vinaigrette. 

Written By: Amanda Bianco, VCUHS Dietetic Intern

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Snacking Smart


Does your stomach start rumbling between meals? Snacking is a great way to quiet your stomach and satisfy your hunger. It can also help you not overeat at your next meal. I know that when I’m starving at a mealtime, I will eat everything in sight and make less healthy choices. That’s why I eat a small snack between meals to hold me over until my next meal. While snacking can help improve your nutrition, it can also add a lot of empty calories if you aren’t careful. Try following these tips and some of my favorite snack ideas to start snacking smart!


Tips for Snacking Smart:

·        Only snack if you’re physically hungry- not out of habit!

·        Don’t eat out the food bag or package- put your food into a small bowl or on a small plate so that you know how much you’re eating.

·        Pay attention to what you’re eating by turning off the TV or computer and eating at the table- focus on your food.

·        Aim for 100-200 calories- look at the nutrition label to figure out how many calories you’re eating.

·        Eat a fruit or vegetable as part of every snack.

·        Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks in advance so that they are ready to grab and go.

·        Incorporate foods high in protein such as 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, a slice of cheese, ¼ cup of beans, a hard-boiled egg, or Greek yogurt to help keep you full for longer.


Easy Snack Ideas:

·        Celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

·        1 container of Greek yogurt with a banana or ½ cup of fresh fruit

·        1 slice of wheat bread or 6 crackers with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

·        Cheese stick with an apple

·        1 cup of lightly salted popcorn and a handful of nuts

·        ¼ cup of homemade trail mix with nuts, raisins, and dry cereal

·        Pack of oatmeal made with nonfat milk

·        1 cup of vegetables with 1 slice of cheese