Start the New Year off with healthy habits: Let’s talk about folic acid

By Karyn Tucker, RD, LD - FCPH WIC Director

Folic Acid Awareness Week is observed from January 3-9, 2022.

Folate is an essential B vitamin that our bodies need to help build new protein cells and rid our bodies of the old ones. Folate occurs naturally in the food that we eat. Some examples include dried beans and peas, and dark green leafy vegetables. Folic Acid is the synthetic form of the b vitamin that is found in supplements and certain foods like rice, pasta, breads and certain breakfast cereals that are fortified with folic acid.

Women throughout the childbearing ages of 18-40 should include a folic acid supplement daily. If a supplement is not taken, there is a risk of having a baby with serious birth defects including spina bifida (the incomplete development of the brain and/or spinal cord), anencephaly (incomplete development of parts of the brain), and/or premature or low birthweight infants.

In the United States, approximately 1,400 pregnancies are affected yearly by neural tube defects. The long-term symptoms of spina bifida range from paralysis, learning disabilities, and bladder or bowel problems.

The CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take 400 mcg of folic acid each day. And it is strongly recommended to start supplementation before pregnancy.

The Fayette County WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program provides information on folic acid at all prenatal and postpartum appointments.

The following folate-rich recipe should be served with 100% vitamin C juice or a serving of citrus fruit.


Fiesta Breakfast Quesadilla (2 servings)


– 1 cup spinach

– 1⁄4 onion (small, diced)

– 2 mushrooms (sliced, your favorite kind)

– 1 clove garlic (small, minced or 1/2 tsp already minced garlic or garlic powder)

– 2 eggs (beaten)

– 2 tbsp cheese (your favorite kind, shredded)

– 4 tortillas (whole wheat or corn tortillas)

– 1⁄2 avocado (thinly sliced)

– cooking spray (enough to coat the pan)


1. Coat the bottom of the pan with cooking spray or a thin layer of oil and add the diced onion, minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, and spinach.

2. Cook on medium-low heat until the spinach is wilted and the onions and mushrooms are softened, stirring occasionally.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, shred the cheese and set aside; in a separate bowl, beat or whisk the eggs until mixed well.

4. Add the eggs to the pan and begin pulling the cooked outer edges in towards the center of the eggs. Cook for about 3 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

5. On a separate plate, set out 2 whole wheat or corn tortillas. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the tortillas. (Your child can help with this step to get them excited about cooking and trying new foods! Make sure all helpers wash their hands before helping in the kitchen.)

6. Divide the scrambled eggs/veggie mixture between the two tortillas, and top with the rest of the cheese and the sliced avocado. Close the quesadilla with the last 2 tortillas and put them in the pan to crisp each side, or enjoy them as-is!

*Fresh, frozen or canned veggies can all work! If fresh, make sure to wash thoroughly with water. If frozen, make sure to thaw. If canned, drain to remove the extra liquid.

*This recipe is courtesy of the USDA WIC Works Resources. WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC helps income-eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants, and children up to five years of age who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition. Please call the WIC office at (740) 333-3552 for information on folic acid or if you feel that you are eligible for WIC services.

By Karyn Tucker, RD, LD

FCPH WIC Director