Food Resources

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The liver is a major organ involved in maintaining appropriate nutritional status. Its role includes metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat, which are essential sources of nutrition for the body. People who suffer from liver disease often experience malnutrition that impacts the severity of the disease and prognosis. Ask your care provider for a referral to a Registered Dietician or call 8-1-1 to find out how you can be connected to one in your community.

Access to Food in Alberta

This resource lists information on: where to find emergency food; lowering food costs; cooking programs; and other community food programs across Alberta (e.g. Meals-on- Wheels, food banks, soup kitchens, community gardens). This list has been compiled and created by Registered Dieticians working with Alberta Health Services. Click on your community to see the available food resources in your area.

Food Co-operatives

Food co-operatives work by purchasing fresh produce in bulk, and are run through non- profit organizations. You can apply for and access fresh produce at lower prices than retail, which can help with the higher cost of choosing fresh food options to support your health.

Food Banks

For low-income Albertans, food banks are located in most communities across the province. Food banks are cost-free to use and operate to help those struggling to make ends meet with the resources they have. Find the address, phone, and contact information for all food banks operating in Alberta

Special Diet Allowance (AISH/Income Support Recipients)

AISH and Income Support Recipients may be eligible to receive additional monthly funds to support a special diet for certain health reasons, as prescribed by your health care provider.


Depending on your circumstances/medical condition, you may need to provide verification in order for your Alberta Works or AISH worker to release Special Diet Allowance funds.

For pregnancy, confirmation from a health care professional or a verbal or written statement from the client. For breast feeding, verbal or written statement from the client that she is breast feeding and for how long. For infant formula, both a letter from a health care professional, and an estimate of the cost.

For all other special diets, confirmation letter from a registered dietician or other health care professional indicating: the type of diet required and/or medical condition, and the length of time the condition requiring the diet is expected to last if it is not permanent.

Please note: If documentation exists (e.g., a Medical Report) to show that you have a specific health condition which is likely to require a special diet, then further substantiation from a health professional is not required. If it is obvious that a health condition is permanent (e.g., diabetes) then confirmation of the length of time the special diet is needed is not required.
Nutritional Products and Supplements

The special diet allowance is intended for the purchase of food items. Many nutritional products such as Boost or Ensure, vitamins or special non-food products such as Thicken Up, are listed on the Interactive Drug Benefit List and can be provided through the Health Benefits Card for adults receiving Income Support/AISH/AAHB. Products not listed must be authorized by the Health Benefits Exception Committee.

For low-income seniors receiving Alberta Seniors Benefit, apply you can receive funding for nutritional products and supplements through Special Needs Assistance for Seniors. The amount funded is determined by a medical note.
Please note: Once a year you must provide a medical note signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or registered dietician that prescribes the number of bottles of nutritional beverages required per day and confirms the medical condition.


The information on this page was adapted (with permission) from the references below, by the Cirrhosis Care Alberta project team (physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and patient advisors).

This information is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare team. They know your medical situation best. Always follow your healthcare team’s advice.


  1. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration 
  2. Canadian Liver Foundation
  3. Alberta Health Services Food Resources
  4. Ministry of Community and Social Services Alberta
Last reviewed March 15, 2021
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