Registered dietitian Carrie Verishagen is the co-ordinator of the Eat Well Saskatchewan call centre in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. (Photo: Kieran Kobitz)

USask unites: Dietitians offer health and nutrition strategies during COVID-19 pandemic

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Do you have questions about food and nutrition during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

Eat Well Saskatchewan, a free service offered through the University of Saskatchewan (USask), aims to improve access to nutrition advice from a registered dietitian. 

During the pandemic, people might have questions about shopping on a budget, feeding children, or meal planning using unfamiliar ingredients, according to Carrie Verishagen, co-ordinator of the dietician call centre in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.

“Good nutrition is always desirable and is important for overall health and wellness and the prevention and management of chronic disease,” said Verishagen, who is a registered dietitian. “A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein foods and whole grains is also important to support a strong immune system, along with other lifestyle factors such as sleep, reducing stress and remaining active.”

Eat Well Saskatchewan currently connects with people anywhere in the province via telephone, email and social media. The project’s website has a number of answers to frequently asked questions about nutrition and COVID-19, including information about eating to maintain a strong immune system or managing a chronic condition such as diabetes, during this time.

“We are here to support individuals, families and health professionals who have any nutrition related questions,” said Verishagen.

Contact Eat Well Saskatchewan by calling 1-833-966-5541 or by email: eatwell@usask.ca.

While the issue of food is a cause for concern for many, there are several reasons to have faith in the supply chain keeping us all fed, according to Dr. Richard Gray (PhD), a professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of Saskatchewan.

“There is no food security issue, especially if consumers moderate their purchases,” said Gray in an interview with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, and adds that Saskatchewan is well-placed to ride out even the most outlandish scenarios, thanks to its highly developed agriculture sector.

Read more at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

For anyone who is looking to build on their nutrition and cooking skills, Verishagen said to do the best you can, and that even with few and limited ingredients one can continue eating a diet that supports good health.

“Take advantage of time you may not have had before to plan and prepare home-cooked meals, try new recipes, experiment with new ingredients, such as legumes, and involve children in cooking, an important life skill,” said Verishagen.

“Many families are spending more time at home, which provides new opportunities to share meals together and strengthen family relationships.”

Share your stories with us: We are collecting the stories of resilience and good spirit from our USask community. Please send story ideas and photos to news@usask.ca.

As a community, it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php

For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to www.usask.ca/updates.

The University of Saskatchewan is undertaking critical research and contributing to global efforts to combat COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases. Your support of the COVID-19 Research Fund supports the increased efforts of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Donate now.

Share this story