Do participants know how to get the biggest bang out of their cash-value benefit (CVB)? With the increased CVB value, participants may want new ideas on purchasing, storing, and preparing produce. We’ve provided shopping tips, ideas, and recipes to help your participants select and add more vegetables and fruits 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!
Well known for being sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, MyPlate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables, and focusing on whole fruits and varying veggies. 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.
Your participants may be more motivated than ever to try new types of fruits and vegetables 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 fruits and vegetables 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.
- Buying fruits and vegetables 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 fruits and vegetables 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.
- Purchasing fruits and vegetables in larger quantities may cost less per pound than buying individual items. For example, a 3-pound bag of apples may cost less per pound than purchasing apples individually.
- Frozen*: Pre-cut, ready-to-heat, and longer storage time are convenient benefits when buying frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen foods can be just as nutrient-dense as fresh and can be heated quickly in the microwave, on the stove-top or added into mixed dishes.
- Canned*: Canned options are a great way to store foods longer and are also a quick way to add a vegetable or fruit to a meal or snack. Choosing low-sodium canned vegetables can help minimize sodium content. You can find more nutrition education materials on FDA’s Sodium in Your Diet.
- Dry*: Dried fruits are also shelf stable and do not require additional preparation to enjoy. 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.
Some fruits and vegetable types or varieties 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 vegetables and fruits under cool running water. Use hands or a scrub brush to help to remove any dirt or debris. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Prepare: Peeling, slicing, and chopping can be completed ahead of time for some fruits and vegetables to help prepare for busy days.
- Storage: Cool and dry places are the best place to store fresh produce like potatoes, onions, apples, and bananas. Other produce like lettuce, berries, and peppers should be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to check the labels of pre-packed fresh produce to see if it needs to be refrigerated.
Did you know food waste can be prevented by preserving fresh vegetables? Check out Freezing Vegetables - Successful Freezing to learn more about freezing vegetables.
Ideas to Try
No need for a recipe to add vegetables and fruits to these meal and snack ideas.
- Add tomato and spinach to breakfast omelets.
- Sauté bell peppers and onions into taco filling.
- Skewer pineapples and peppers onto chicken kebabs.
- Sprinkle oatmeal, yogurt, or salads with chopped apples or berries.
- Add pureed carrot or squash into pasta sauces.
- Add spinach, sliced cucumbers, and tomato to sandwiches and wraps.
- Blend fruit (or even some vegetables!) into a smoothie.
- Top pizza with veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Explore different cooking methods in order to prepare vegetables and fruit. They can be microwaved, steamed, roasted, 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 fresh fruits, like apples, oranges, or bananas out to grab as a convenient snack.
- Prepare easy snacks with fresh veggies and fruits:
- Carrots with ranch dressing
- Celery with peanut butter
- Cucumbers and carrots with hummus
- Strawberries with yogurt
- Blueberries with cottage cheese
- Mangoes sprinkled with chili powder
Colorful Quesadilla (available in Spanish)
Garden Sloppy Joes (available in Spanish)
Vegetarian Chili (available in Spanish)
Asian Mango Chicken Wraps (available in Spanish)
Fruit & Feta Salad (available in Spanish)
Fruit Pizza (available in Spanish)
Grilled Cheese with Peaches (available in Spanish)
Microwave Applesauce (available in Spanish)
Spring Green Salad (available in Spanish)