There’s been a flurry of positive moves made by the government in the past few weeks involving healthy eating. The FDA will be changing the nutrition label, making calories and added sugars more noticeable to consumers. The agency is also looking to ban junk food advertising in schools.

Now, another FDA program is getting an overhaul. Last week Sam Kass, the executive director of Let’s Move!, announced that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC) will expand the types of healthy foods allowed. The program is designed for pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children to get added nutrition through healthy foods in their diets.

Here are some of the positive changes.

  • There’s a 30 percent increase in the money given for fruits and vegetables for children and now fresh fruits and vegetables, not just jarred baby food, can be purchased for older children.
  • Yogurt is now allowed as a milk substitute.
  • The types of whole grains allowed have been increased.
  • White potatoes have been eliminated from the options.
According to Food Politics’ Marion Nestle, the white potatoes were excluded because the Institute of Medicine observed “WIC mothers already buy plenty of them.” Although potato lobbyists tried to get white potatoes to stay as a WIC option, they didn’t succeed.

That’s refreshing isn’t it? Big food lobbyists didn’t succeed in getting the government to do something. I’m not anti-white potato. In fact, I love to eat potatoes. But, they aren’t vital to a mother or a child’s nutritional well being, and the purpose of WIC is for this group to be able to purchase more of the vital nutritional foods they need to give them a good start in life.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Why are white potatoes excluded from the WIC program?
Funding for many fresh fruits and vegetables increased with the new guidelines, but white potatoes have been excluded. Why?