Nutrition and Dietary Service

A registered dietitian nutritionist oversees your child’s diet, which is based on an assessment done prior to or during admission to St. Mary’s and any new orders from physicians. Our staff members prepare and deliver all meals, snacks and gastrostomy tube feedings. Plates, spoons and cups that are tailored to each child’s specific needs are sent out at meal times as well.

Many children with disabilities have nontraditional diets. For example, they may be fed through a gastrostomy tube or through diets that have different textures. Food can be chopped or pureed and beverages can be thickened to make them easier for the child to swallow. We also have children who have very specialized dietary requirements. For example, they may have significant food allergies or food intolerances. We treat the children with special diets and formulas.

The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, moderate-protein diet that is used to treat seizures. It eliminates sweets such as candy, cookies and desserts and restricts other carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, potatoes, rice, cereal and pasta. St. Mary’s Home is the only inpatient facility in Hampton Roads that will initiate a ketogenic diet. Several children have come to St. Mary’s for short-term care specifically to begin a ketogenic diet and stabilize on the diet before going home. All had marked decreases in seizures.


St. Mary’s is developing and maintaining a plan for implementation of a wellness policy. This policy will be based on guidelines by the “Healthy Schools Program” from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Annual policy progress reports will be created and made available in July of each year and a triennial assessment of the policy will also be completed.

For a copy of the policy, click here.

Download a copy of the 2017 Wellness Policy Progress Report here.


The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.