As students go back to school and summer comes to a close, there are two things that tend to cause anxiety as we settle back into a fall routine: packing lunches and planning weeknight dinners.
Is plant-based eating healthy? What about carbs; those are bad right? Is more fat better or worse, and what type? Is coconut sugar better than cane sugar? Does fruit have too much sugar? What’s the deal with gluten? What about sea salt vs. table salt?
Is your head spinning?
With conflicting reports, studies and “expert” opinions, there can be a lot of confusion. Things become even more complicated when we add allergies, other restrictions, and our desire to eat well and prevent chronic disease into the mix.
The great news is that UBC employees enrolled in Extended Health benefits get free (or low cost) access to the experts in food and nutrition: registered dietitians (RDs). Dietitians are trained health professionals who studied nutrition for a minimum of five years and know exactly what’s up in the nutrition world. UBC has the only training program for dietitians in BC and sees about 36 graduates a year.
Dietitians can help:
- Ensure you are meeting your nutrition goals
- Slow the progress or prevent many chronic diseases that are closely linked to nutrition, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- Find simple, healthy and delicious recipes that fit within any allergies or restrictions, and ensure you aren’t at risk for nutrient deficiencies
- Improve your gut health
- Improve sports performance
- Clear up any confusion and bust nutrition myths
- Clarify the nutritional implications of different life stages, such as pregnancy or aging
- Deal with infant feeding issues and questions
- Improve your relationship with food
- Identify and work through barriers that prevent you from eating well
- And more!
Benefits Coverage, Support and Community Resources
Use your Extended Health benefits:
- Employees enrolled in Sun Life Extended Health benefits are covered for 80% of the cost of RD services, up to a maximum of $600 per calendar year. Note that this $600 is shared with other paramedical practitioners, including acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, speech therapists, and others.
- Check your available balance on the Sun Life website or mobile app.
Access your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP):
- EFAP provides much more than counselling services. If you are enrolled in the EFAP, talk to an RD over the telephone. All EFAP services are confidential. Visit workhealthlife.com for more information or call Morneau Shepell at 1-844-880-9137. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization when accessing workhealthlife.com.)
Explore these community resources:
- Looking for a dietitian in your area? Use the Dietitians of Canada’s Find a Dietitian
- Call 8-1-1 toll-free to contact a HealthLinkBC dietitian or you can email them your questions. Available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., HealthLinkBC dietitians have advanced training in a variety of topics, such as allergies, infant feeding, cancer and more. This program is provincially funded.
Did you know…
……that Food + Nutrition is one of the six priority areas in the new UBC Wellbeing Strategic Framework? Dietitians across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses contributed to this important work that supports UBC’s vision for “a nutritionally sound campus” that “promotes health and wellbeing for all members of the UBC community.”
Related Benefits FYI articles:
Melissa Baker, Workplace Wellbeing Strategist for HR, is an alum of the UBC dietetics program and came back to UBC as a staff member in 2016. Melissa is passionate about embedding health and wellbeing into the everyday operations of the university and loves staying up-to-date in the crazy world of food and nutrition.