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Fondation Olo expands food offerings to help young families eat healthy

A bowl of tofu. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) A bowl of tofu. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

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

This expansion, according to the foundation's executive director, Élise Boyer, aims to support healthy eating habits while meeting the nutritional needs of babies, "which evolve rapidly between birth and the age of two."

"This is a very important milestone 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 to the child's second birthday.

Until now, it has offered eggs, milk, and frozen vegetables during the prenatal period.

The addition of tofu and bread was considered for their nutritional value, versatility and accessibility, a press release explains.

The purées and cereal 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 explains, was chosen because it is rich in vegetable proteins.

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

Meat purées and enriched baby cereals will hopefully combat the risk of anemia, which can increase during the first six months of life, when "the iron reserves that a baby has built up during pregnancy are at risk of being used up," said Boyer.

The Fondation Olo does not provide emergency food services; rather, it encourages healthy eating habits.

Boyer notes families can often face three major barriers when it comes to healthy eating: cost, adversity -- difficulties prioritizing food over other expenses, and knowledge.

"By knowledge, I mean culinary and parenting skills, planning and budgeting," says Boyer. "It's very broad, but it's all the baggage that makes it more or less easy to compose menus that are as nutritious as possible."

The new offerings are through a collaboration with the Quebec government and the integration of new partners including Belov, Unisoya and Boulangerie St-Méthode.

The Fondation Olo says it now wants to add fruits and vegetables to cover all the food groups.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 2, 2024. Top Stories

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