New York Mother Shamelessly Showcases Beautiful Recipes From WIC-Approved Ingredients
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When Sunni Rudd got pregnant last year, her relatives suggested the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children — commonly referred to as WIC.

WIC provides food assistance to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. The benefits also cover infants and some children up to the age of 5.

Rudd, a 28-year-old foodie, began sharing videos on TikTok about what she was eating in a day while expecting. 

“Shame surrounding food availability can be immobilizing.”

Now mom to a 7-month-old daughter, Rudd realized her videos were getting a positive response. The online activity encouraged her to not only keep sharing vibrant, fun food made with WIC-approved ingredients, but to also help others navigate common misconceptions about the United States Department of Agriculture program that serves nearly half of all U.S.-born infants. 

Rudd has also written a WIC cookbook and provides a free WIC shopping list.

“I found that it’s not always the most accessible program,” said Rudd, noting one of the biggest challenges is simply signing up for WIC. Once families are in, figuring out how to use it presents its own roadblocks. Rudd has previously worked through the hurdles on her own, so she can be a guiding light to pregnant and postpartum people with questions about WIC.

“Some people get intimidated by the fact that this program does feel limiting sometimes, but it’s really just to try to steer you in the right direction to make more mindfully healthy choices,” Rudd said.

@justsunni Follow for more recipes 😉 #wic #wictok #pregnancynutrition #momtok #fyp ♬ why did this blow up – obv not evann🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

While she isn’t plant-based, Rudd enjoys her share of colorful vegan meals. She also demonstrates how to make some baby food using WIC-approved ingredients, such as carrots.

Rudd has learned to transform her WIC ingredients; flour isn’t covered under her plan, but she makes oat flour from the oatmeal included. 

The Black Panther Party launched Free Breakfast for Children in 1968, many believing the initiative inspired government programs such as WIC. The party members consulted with nutritionists on healthy breakfast options for children. Though the Free Breakfast program was short-lived, it had a lasting impact. 

WIC, for example, provides healthcare referrals and information on healthy eating. 

colorful photos of vegetables
Sunni Rudd shares beautiful recipes she makes using WIC-approved ingredients, and she takes advantage of the fruits and vegetables on her plan.

Rudd has learned much about her baby’s and her own dietary needs through WIC, such as the correlation between a possible nutritional deficit and cravings. She started substituting her cravings with fruits and vegetables she receives through her WIC benefits, which is information she also shares shamelessly on her social media platforms.  

“I didn’t feel a ton of shame, just because I had to navigate some other government programs in my life before I applied for WIC,” Rudd shared. “I’d already worked through that shame there, but I see how other moms do that or they feel that. I try to create an intentional space.

“I block anybody who’s trying to be shaming or I’ll reroute the comments to where I want them so that other people feel safe coming to that space and asking hard questions that we might not want to ask because shame surrounding food availability can be immobilizing.”