à la carte - Food Literacy

Banner image for à la carte food literacy project

à la carte is a food literacy project led by the Ottawa Public Library that brings together local partners to serve up fresh programs, activities and events to raise awareness about how we are connected to the food we eat and grow.

This month's story: Giving Back

Read a monthly digital story brought to you by à la carte to highlight what is happening in our food culture and community:

Photo of canned food in a box

Read: Giving Back

October story: Preserving the Harvest

Photo of vegetables in a basket

Read: Preserving the Harvest

September story: Who's Watching

Photo of child watching television

Read: Who's Watching

August story: Food for Thought

Elementary School Harvesting Workshop

Read: Food for Thought

Food Insecurity / l'insécurité alimentaire by sherry_library

Monthly Dietitian tips from Ottawa Public Health

Listen to your hunger cues! Snack when you are hungry and stop when you are full – this isn’t always easy as our food choices are affected by many factors. Here are some ideas to overcome mindless eating and to prepare nutritious snacks.

Do you have the skills to plan and prepare nutritious meals? “Food skills” are essential to eat well and consist of the set of skills you use to prepare safe and nutritious foods. This includes reading nutrition labels, planning and shopping for a meal, and preparing meals: chopping, dicing, slicing, stirring, mixing, cooking, and using recipes.

Missing an ingredient for a recipe? Trying to make a recipe healthier? Some ingredients may be substituted to replace your missing ingredient or to provide a healthier alternative. Try these substitutions in your next recipe.

Variety and balance is the key to eating well and feeling good! Try building a healthy meal using the Eat Well Plate.

Start your day by eating a healthy balanced breakfast! Eating breakfast everyday helps improve mental health and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  For kids, eating breakfast helps improve concentration and academic performance.

Cooking with herbs and spices makes meals taste great and is a great way to cut down on salt, sugar or fat in a recipe. Enhance the flavour of your meals by following these tips!

Keep your lettuce crisp and your apples crunchy! Storing vegetables and fruit properly keeps them fresh and tasty for longer and reduces food waste.


Water is the best and least expensive way to quench your thirst.  Choose water, milk or drinks with no added sugar most often.  Many other beverages can provide over 10 teaspoons of sugar!  Check out the facts on sugary drinks, healthier beverage options and nutritious and delicious flavoured water recipes.

Eat meals together as a family as often as you can.  Children who eat with their families tend to eat healthier foods like vegetables, fruit and whole grains and often have fewer behavioural problems. More tips for planning family meals.

Menu planning can help you eat healthy, save money and get tasty meals to the table faster. Seven steps for quick and easy menu planning.

Cooking with your kids is more than food education; it develops skills in math, science, and language.  Role modeling and cooking together also builds confidence, independence and lifelong healthy lifestyle habits.

Ottawa Public Health logo

The OPL/BPO à la carte project is designed to introduce food literacy into library programming and position the public library as a recognized community resource and partner for accessible food related information and programming. The project involves working with partners who share a common vision in the emergent field of food literacy. Key stakeholders in our initiative include: Ottawa Public Health, MarketMobile, JustFood and the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival. The main components of the project focus on outreach and programming, as well as the development of a digital storytelling app related to food and the creation of a community garden on the grounds of one of our library branches. This webpage brings together resources and information related to the project. We welcome your feedback and suggestions.
Please contact us.

The project is funded by a grant from the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund (OLCF), which is administered by the Government of Ontario.