Dallas, Madison, Polk and Warren Counties in Iowa

Nutrition & WIC Foods


We’re here to support your child as she grows. Your child can receive benefits until her fifth birthday. We provide a variety of healthy foods and nutrition advice.

Our nutritionists can offer advice on feeding your family. Check out these guidelines on foods and beverages for your child.

Diet Tips

Parents provide, kids decide. Provide a variety of foods at each meal, but let your child decide how much of each food they would like to eat. Your child is great at listening to his body and how hungry he is. At each meal, it is okay if he chooses not to eat one food and eat 3 servings of another.

Try to keep a structured eating schedule, for example, 3 meals and 2 snacks. Limiting snacks throughout the day will mean your child will be more likely to eat his meal.

Food Guidelines

Fruits and veggies
Try to make half of your child’s plate fruits and veggies at every meal. Fruits and veggies have a lot of similar nutrients, so don’t worry if your child doesn’t get both fruits and vegetables every day.

Offer a protein food at each meal. Chicken, beef, eggs, beans, and tofu are all great options.

Whole grains are the perfect thing to round out any meal. Options include brown rice, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, and potatoes.

We recommend no more than 16-24 oz. of dairy per day. This includes milk, cheese, and yogurt.

We recommend no more than 4 oz. of juice per day. Make those 4 oz. go farther by diluting it with water!

We believe all foods fit! It is okay for your children to eat special treats. Examples of treats could be cookies, ice cream, soda, and fast food options.


Keeping your child hydrated is important but not all drink choices are equal.

Drinks to enjoy daily


  • Water should be made available to your child every day.
  • Drinking water every day is an important habit to start at an early age.
  • Water is a great way to keep your child hydrated without adding extra calories or harming teeth.



  • Children under age 2 can be offered whole milk daily.
  • Children 2 years of age and older can be offered low-fat milk (1% or skim) daily.
  • Milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
  • Children should have 16- 24 oz. of milk per day.


100% Juice

  • Juice should be limited to 4-6 oz. per day.
  • 100% juice can provide some vitamins and minerals.
  • Juice does contain sugar and can be harmful to teeth.

Drinks to ditch most of the time

Flavored milk

  • Flavored milk is higher in sugar and adds extra calories to your child’s diet.


Sports drinks

  • Using sports drinks to hydrate adds extra calories that your child does not need.



  • Soda is high in sugar and may have caffeine. Soda intake should be limited.

Try this smart method of feeding your family. It can help build healthy eating habits and lead to less stress at mealtimes.

Family Roles and Responsibilities 

With the “Parents Provide, Kids Decide” method, both parents and children have their own jobs at mealtimes. As a parent, you choose what foods to offer, when to have snacks or meals, and where your family will gather to eat. Your child decides how much food she would like to eat from her plate. 

What to eat

  • Serve a variety of foods that your family already likes to eat. Try your best to prepare the same meal for everyone. 
  • Offer new foods with old favorites. Don’t give up if your child refuses the new food. He may have to try it many times before he decides he likes it! 

When to eat 

  • Have meals and snacks around the same time every day. Sticking to a routine can help make sure your child has an appetite at mealtimes. 

Where to eat

  • Having a meal with the whole family is a great way to spend time together. Enjoy this time with your child at the table. 

How much to eat

  • Let your child choose how much she wants to eat. Keep in mind that she may not finish her entire plate. This is okay! 
  • Your child’s appetite will change from day to day. Sometimes she may not want to eat at all. Some days she may ask for several servings. Continue to provide the foods and trust that your child will eat the right amount for her body. 

You can do many things to help your family lead a healthy lifestyle, such as eating meals together and vaccinating your children.


Family Meals

You have the power to develop healthy and happy children when you eat together. Say “yes” to family meals. 

At the family table, you can: 

  • Share stories. 
  • Talk about favorite things you did as a child. 
  • Talk about what your child did today at daycare or school. 
  • Ask your child questions:
    • What made you happy today? 
    • What do you love about your family? 
    • What did you do today to show your kind heart? 
    • What is your favorite toy? Why? 
  • Learn colors, shapes, and numbers.
  • Laugh. 
  • Teach manners. 
  • Try different tastes and smells.


You don’t have to sit at the table. It can be on a blanket in your living room or outside at a park. Just sit together in the same room with no distractions. Turn off the TV, cell phones, and computer when eating together. 

Talking to your children at the family table gives you the opportunity to pass down memories and traditions! Think of the family table as a recipe for success and making your family stronger. 


Five Why’s to Immunize 

Preventing a disease is better than treating it after it occurs. Receiving vaccinations throughout our lifetime helps to prevent diseases such as smallpox, polio, chicken pox, and influenza. 

  1. Immunizations can save the lives of the people you love most. Before vaccines, infants and children often died from diseases, or the disease spread to other children, parents, and grandparents. 
  2. Vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines are one of the safest and most tested medicines. They are studied for years by scientists and doctors around the world and in the U.S. 
  3. Vaccines will not give you the disease. A vaccine is either dead or weakened and made so that you are protected FROM the disease. 
  4. Immunizations can save your family time and money. Often these diseases cause lost time from work while children or parents recover. 
  5. Immunizations protect future generations. As more people receive immunizations, many diseases become less common. Some are almost extinct worldwide. 


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