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Nutrition and Skeletal Dysplasias: Am I eating healthy enough?

Deborah McInerney, MS, RD, CDN
Nutritionist, Kathryn O. and Alan C. Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasias

Nutrition. It's probably something you think about from time to time. You might wonder if you're eating healthy enough or whether you should lose a few pounds. Whatever the reason, it is important to know that individuals with skeletal dysplasias often struggle with weight because although they are of smaller stature, their appetites are not.

Fruit and vegetables - like 'em or hate 'em - are an integral part of a healthy diet. Along with fruit and vegetables, a healthy diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium (salt), and consists of lean protein sources (lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts), low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and limited added sugars. It is recommended to choose whole grain foods, vary your vegetables, eat fruit instead of drinking juice, make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet (whether from food and/or supplements), and finding balance between your food intake and physical activity, if physical activity is possible.

If weight loss is what you're interested in, here are some tips to assist you in the process:

  1. Cut your portions in half. This is the easiest way to cut calories without completely overhauling your current diet regimen.
  2. Drink a glass of water before you eat. This will fill you up and cause you to eat less.
  3. Have a protein-rich food every time you eat. This will give you a longer feeling of "fullness," prolonging the desire to eat again.
  4. Eat an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables. They are virtually calorie-free and will give you lots of good vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  5. Cut empty calories. This includes sugary drinks, candy, snacks, and baked goods.
  6. Limit artificially sweetened beverages. These allow you to rationalize eating more, since - in theory - you are saving calories.
  7. Think of your plate as a clock. Fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables on the 12-6 side; 6-9 should be your protein food, and 9-12, your serving of starch.

Weight loss is possible by making minor adjustments to your current regimen, one at a time. When you have mastered one and it becomes routine, move on to the next on your list. For example, say Jane drinks mostly soda and juices during the day and buys lunch every day at work. Her first step would be to cut out the soda and juices, replacing them with water throughout the day. Once she is successful in taking that step and it has become habit, her next focus would be to choose healthier lunch options, or even try and bring lunch with her to work, in an effort to avoid other higher calorie temptations.

Here at the Kathryn O. and Alan C. Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasias, nutritional needs are addressed during your visit. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.


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