Do participants know that unsweetened frozen and canned berries can be just as beneficial as fresh berries and other fresh fruit? With the inclusion of berries, participants may want new ideas on purchasing, storing, and preparing berries. Provide these tips and recipes to help your participants add more fruit variety highlighting berries to their meals! Read on for more information or jump right to the recipes.
Also, check out the new page, What Do I Do With My CVB?, that you can share directly with participants! This shorter version includes a recipe card and is easily printable.
Well known for being sources of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and Potassium. MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables and focusing on whole fruits. Visit the Eye on Nutrition series to learn more about these and other nutrients and the WIC Meals of the Month series to find nutrient-specific recipes. Whether one or more types of berries are preferred, they are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth and avoid added sugars.
Your participants may be more motivated than ever to try different types of berries and recipes with the increased CVB amount, which has increased through September 30, 2023.
Updated CVB Benefit Amounts for FY 2023
$25 for children
$44 for pregnant and postpartum participants
$49 for fully and partially breastfeeding participants
For more information on the CVB benefits, check out SNAPSHOT-Food Packages for Women, Infants, and Children.
Tips & Ideas to Share
Choosing Fruits & Vegetables
Fresh berries are always available for purchase with the CVB but *not all forms (frozen, canned, or dried) may be available in every State, U.S. Territory, or Indian Tribal Organization due to the flexibility they have in selecting foods for their WIC food packages.
- Fresh: At the store look for produce that isn’t bruised or damaged.
- Since fresh produce can spoil, try to plan ahead and buy only what is needed.
- Some produce can last longer than others, when stored properly. Check out the FoodKeeper App for information on recommended storage times for various produce items.
- Many stores have scales to weigh produce that may help from buying too much or too little. Although, berries are usually already weighed and packaged in stores.
- Buying berries in season allows for better quality and better-tasting produce. Purchasing in season may also stretch the CVB since in-season produce may be lower in cost.
- Pre-washed and pre-cut varieties of berries are available in many stores. These can have the added convenience but usually need to be used more quickly and may cost more than their whole counterparts.
- Frozen*: Pre-cut, ready-to-use, and longer storage time are convenient benefits when buying frozen berries. Frozen berries can be just as nutrient-dense as fresh and can be thawed quickly in the microwave or easily overnight in the refrigerator or added into smoothies in place of ice or with ice.
- Canned*: Canned options are a great way to store food longer and are also a quick way to add fruit to a meal or snack. Choosing packed in 100% juice or its own juice canned fruit can help minimize sugar intake. You can find more nutrition education materials on FDA’s Added Sugars on the New Nutrition Facts Label.
- Dry*: Dried berries are also shelf stable and do not require additional preparation to enjoy. Watch out for added sugars on the nutrition facts label. They can be a nutrient-packed snack alternative or grabbed quickly when on the go, though dried fruit may be a choking risk for children under the age of 4.
Berries may be a choking hazard for young children. Find more information about Reducing the Risk of Choking in Young Children at Mealtimes (also available in Spanish).
Tips for Getting Started
- Wash: Wash produce by rinsing berries under cool running water. Use your hands or a scrub brush to help to remove any dirt or debris. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Prepare: Slicing, chopping, and pureeing can be completed ahead of time for some berries to help prepare for busy days.
- Storage: Produce like fresh berries, should be stored in the refrigerator preferably in produce drawers if available. Be sure to check the labels of pre-packed fresh produce to see if it needs to be refrigerated. To prevent food waste and enjoy ripe berries even after they are no longer in season, freeze them. Washed berries can go on a pan or flat surface and be placed in the freezer for a few hours and then transferred into a freezer-safe bag or container to be kept frozen until ready to use.
Ideas to Try
No need for a recipe to add berries to these meal and snack ideas.
- Add berries to yogurt parfaits.
- Sprinkle berries on top of cereals, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles at breakfast.
- Toss berries into salads.
- Add mashed or pureed berries for toppings or in place of syrup.
- Enjoy a bowl full of berries by themselves, including different varieties.
- Blend berries (or other fruits) into a smoothie.
- Make a fruit pizza and top it with berries.
- Toss together a fruit salsa.
Explore different cooking methods in order to prepare . They can be microwaved, steamed, dried, baked, sautéed, mashed, and more. Additional suggestions for vegetable and fruit preparation can be found on these MyPlate Print Resources.
Make veggies and fruit easy to access and available to incorporate into snacks.
- Leave washed berries, like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries in a container in the refrigerator to grab as a convenient snack or topping.
- Prepare easy snacks with fresh berries:
Banana Berry Muffins (available in Spanish)
Breakfast Parfait (available in Spanish)
Broccoli Strawberry Orzo Salad (available in Spanish)
Fruit Pizza (available in Spanish)
Fruit Yogurt Pops (available in Spanish)
Mango Berry Rotini Salad (available in Spanish)
Overnight Oatmeal with Berries (available in Spanish)
Spring Green Salad (available in Spanish)