Fondation Olo expands its food offering in Quebec

By Jean-Benoit Legault, The Canadian Press

Families supported by the Fondation Olo can now receive vouchers redeemable for baby cereals and purées, tofu and bread.

The new offer, according to the foundation’s executive director, Élise Boyer, aims to help families eat healthier while meeting babies’ nutritional needs, which “change rapidly between birth and the age of two.”

“This is a very important step in the history of the foundation,” said Boyer.

The Fondation Olo helps families during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from the beginning of pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.

For several years, they have been providing them with eggs, milk and frozen vegetables during the prenatal period.

The tofu and bread have been chosen for their nutritional value, versatility, and accessibility, according to a press release.

The purées and cereals will enable parents to monitor and meet their baby’s evolving needs “at a key moment in their development,” it added.

“These are not the same foods as those offered during pregnancy,” said Boyer. “These are foods that have been chosen after an extremely rigorous process.”

Tofu, she added, was chosen because it is rich in vegetable proteins.

The bread will be from the Saint-Méthode bakery, which offers several whole-grain products.

The meat purées and enriched baby cereals are aimed at combating the risk of anaemia, which can increase during the first six months of life, when “the iron reserves that the baby has built up during pregnancy are at risk of being used up,” explained Boyer.

The Fondation Olo does not provide emergency food services but are there to support and help people acquire healthy eating habits.

Boyer said that families come up against three major barriers when it comes to healthy eating: cost, which doesn’t need to be explained; adversity, which means that not everyone can prioritize food over other expenses; and knowledge.

“By knowledge, I mean knowledge, culinary and parenting skills, planning, budgeting and optimisation skills,” said Boyer. “It’s a very broad concept, but it’s all the knowledge that makes it easier or harder (for some people) to put together menus that are as nutritious as possible.”

This new offering has been made possible with the collaboration of the Quebec government and the addition of new partners Belov, Unisoya and Boulangerie St-Méthode.

The Fondation Olo is planning to add fruit and vegetables to cover all the food groups.

This report by La Presse Canadienne was translated by CityNews.

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