Hannibal Regional Blog


Our blog offers content about healthcare, healthy living and the culture at Hannibal Regional.

These spicy zucchini tacos are a great way to use up garden zucchinis, and to switch things up to traditional tacos!


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans (or kidney) or 1 can, drained/rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (plus extra for sprinkling on tacos)
  • 8 small corn tortillas (6-inch size)
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese or queso fresco (optional)


  • Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add tomato paste, garlic and oregano and cook about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in broth, salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add zucchini and beans, cover and cook until zucchini is slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Remove cover and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring often until sauce has thickened and it coats the zucchini. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro.
  • To serve, place a scoop (about 1/4 cup) on top of a heated corn tortilla. Top with queso fresco, avocado or other favorite toppings and additional minced cilantro.

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

Chickpeas (or more commonly known as garbanzo beans) fall into the Mediterranean/Greek food category and offer an abundance of health benefits. They are known for their high protein and fiber content, making them a perfect item to include for a meatless dish. The beneficial vitamins and minerals in chickpeas include potassium, vitamin A, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, and several more. I love adding them to salads, soups, as part of a grain bowl, and as a spread/dip when pureed. You can also roast them, making them the perfect crunchy salty snack or as a salad topper.

Roasted Chickpeas with Salt


  • 1 15oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (may also use 1.5 cups cooked from dry)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika optional


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place chickpeas on a towel and let them dry completely. The key is getting them as dry as possible. In a small bowl, mix chickpeas with salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Then, align the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet so they can cook evenly.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. I turn mine around about halfway through and give them a little shake. 
  • Chickpeas should be golden brown and crunchy. When you remove from oven, add any additional spices you like: garlic powder & paprika is my go-to. I also like using sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and black pepper as a coating! 
  • Allow the chickpeas to cool and then enjoy as a snack or on top of salads or grain bowls.
  • Do not store in a closed container, allow the chickpeas to breathe – this will prevent them from getting mushy or soft. I usually store mine at room temperature, in a filtered container.

These Roasted Chickpeas are:

  • Protein-packed
  • Plant-based
  • Great on salads or with any grain
  • Perfect for a crunchy snack
  • Customizable (change up the seasonings!) I love simply salt, but also great with (smoked paprika), (cinnamon & sugar), (ranch seasoning), (turmeric and ginger), (“Everything but the bagel” seasoning), or other favorite combination you may have.

Chickpea Salad


  • 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill or ¼ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium-size bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
  • Serve the salad on romaine lettuce leaves or in whole-wheat pita bread pockets.

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

#1 Go Light.
Rather than having a heavy filling meal when you're outside in the heat, make fresh fruits and salads the main course. Grill meat with olive oil, or a light marinade/seasoning rub instead of adding heavy sauces.

#2 Start an Active Tradition.
Be it an annual family kickball tournament, neighborhood volleyball game, a pre-dinner hike, or a casual family walk, an annual activity will be a welcome event to any July 4th celebration. Not only will it get everyone's blood pumping (and put them in a good mood) but it will also create memories.

#3 Stay hydrated.
It is safe to say that July is hot! Have water with you at all times, and drink consistently throughout the day. Prevent your body from overheating by being mindful of the length of time spent doing physical activity. Keep plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand which are packed with vitamins, fiber, and water.

#4 Protect your skin.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. The hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure so use this as a window to apply sunscreen or light clothing. Keep an umbrella, hat, and sunglasses with you for good measure.

#5 Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
While fireworks are fun and beautiful, it's important to understand how dangerous they can be. Most towns organize a big display -- run by professionals -- go to those. No reason to ruin your day by a trip to the Emergency Department with a firework injury.

#6 Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.
Be sure you cook all of your food to the recommended temperatures to destroy any harmful bacteria. Keep things that should be refrigerated in a cooler over ice until right before serving. Once food has been served, place leftover food back into cooler if planning to keep. Keep coolers of ice underneath the serving table for convenience. If you can, leave mayonnaise-based foods off the menu. For safe cooking temps visit: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature

#7 Make sure your grill is clean.
A dirty grill can be a cesspool of germs and bacteria. After you are done grilling, do a quick cleanup of any visible debris and food. Prior to grilling, give the grill a good scrubbing and then turn up the heat and let the burner get hot before cooking. Once a year, do a deep clean to ensure your grill has a long (healthy and safe) grilling life.

#8 Bring out the lawn games.
Encourage your party guests to bring their favorite lawn games to create a more active/standing environment that is yet sociable.

#9 Choose healthy drink options.
Steer clear of sugar-laden beverages such as sweet tea, sodas, and syrupy fruit drinks. Serve a fruit-infused tea and water or carbonated water. For alcoholic beverages- choose a light beer, or a mix of club soda/100% fruit juice with your favorite hard liquor.

#10 Ditch the Sugary Dessert.
Fresh fruit is plentiful, with so many in season during the summer there is plenty to choose from. Cut up a variety of fresh fruit such as strawberries and melon into a large bowl for a fruit salad, or throw peaches, pineapple and mango on the grill to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Blog provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

Brussels sprouts have long been touted as one of the “most-hated” vegetables. However if we just assume we won’t like them or if we refuse to try new recipes, we may be missing out on a delicious nutrition powerhouse!  The cooking method of Brussels sprouts can make a big difference.  Boiling and overcooking tends to bring out a strong odor and flavor, compared to more modern recipes that utilize methods such as roasting, shredding, steaming, stir-frying, air-frying and even grilling which brings out and intensifies the natural sweetness of the Brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts add a big nutritional bang for the low calories they contribute.  They are a great source of vitamins C, K, A, B6 and folic acid as well as fiber and minerals including iron, manganese, choline, copper, potassium and phosphorus.  Try 1 or all 3 of these Brussels sprouts recipe, and you may be surprised to find that you love them!

Cooking with Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Makes 4 servings, prep time 25 minutes


  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts                     
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil                         
  • ½ Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt                                           
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 375F.   Line or coat baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Clean and cut stems and halve sprouts.
  3. Spread sprouts on baking sheet then evenly coat with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until outsides are crisp and insides are tender.

Nutritional facts per serving:  Calories 81.3, Fat 3.9g, Carbs 10.8g, Protein 3.9g, Sugar 2.5g


Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa Winter Mix

Makes 6 servings, prep time 1 hour


  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup dry quinoa  
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds 
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar     
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper


  1. Heat oven to 375F.  Grease baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil or line with parchment paper, placing sprouts on one side and the squash on the other.
  2. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove sprouts and place in large bowl.  Continue baking squash for additional 15 more minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, rinse quinoa in a small strainer.  Heat a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook quinoa for 2 minutes until lightly toasted.  Add 1 1/3 cup water and turn heat to high.  Once boiling, cover and cook for 15minutes or until quinoa is fluffy.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, vinegar, hemp seeds, salt and pepper.
  5. In the large bowl with sprouts and squash, add the quinoa, spinach, pomegranate seeds and pecans, then mix in the dressing from the small bowl.

Nutrition Facts per serving:  Calories 250, Fat 9.7g, Carbs 37g, Protein 9g, Sugar 7g


Brussels Sprouts, Kale and Almond Salad

Makes 4 servings, Prep time 20 minutes


  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 4 cups kale, shredded 
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. spicy mustard 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together shallots, mustard, juice, zest and honey.  Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while whisking the other ingredients.  Add salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Finely cut or shred the sprouts and kale into a large bowl, discarding the stems from the sprouts and kale, if desired.
  3. Toss vegetables with dressing, almonds and serve!

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories 198, Fat 8.4g, Carbs 23g, Protein 9.5g, Sugar 8.5g

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

A very popular trend currently making headlines is intermittent fasting. Many people define this differently. Generally, intermittent fasting is when an individual goes for an extended period of time without food or liquid calories. To some, this means fasting for 12-14 hours, to others it may mean an entire 24 hour day. Research on intermittent fasting is limited, but the benefits that have been shown with intermittent fasting are similar to those of any weight loss program or dietary pattern that promotes weight loss.

Intermittent fasting is not recommended for people with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), pre-diabetes or diabetes. Fasting can interfere with medications and insulin prescribed to those with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Instead, people with theses diagnoses should consult with a registered dietitian for an individualized meal plan. Individuals who are prescribed medications that are to be taken with food, should consider this when intermittent fasting. The greatest con to intermittent fasting, is that diet quality is not a focal point. Meaning that intake of fruits and vegetables, and good quality balanced food choices are often overlooked when following intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a very black and white meal pattern- you eat during a 6-8 hours window, and fast for the remaining 16-18 hour period. Some people need this structure for successful weight loss. There are no guidelines as to what to eat or how much to eat. Intermittent fasting is simply about the timing of meals. If you do not want to give up certain foods, or change current food choices, intermittent fasting may be a preferred method for weight loss. Some individuals find weight loss success with intermittent fasting due to overall reduction in calories while others do not. 

As with any diet or lifestyle change, weight loss should be achievable and maintainable while following an intermittent fasting regimen. Weight loss can have many health-promoting benefits depending on the current health of the individual. As a registered dietitian, I do not promote intermittent fasting; however, if an individual wishes to try this method of eating, I will assist them in doing so in a healthful way.

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian