Hannibal Regional Blog


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Dinner Table Struggles: Part Two

Getting kids to eat nutritious food can be a tough battle to fight! Tips from last week included: get them involved, give them a job, be consistent and make it fun! When actually serving/eating a meal, try the tips below:

  • If age appropriate - let them serve themselves! Put everything being served for dinner on the table and let them do the dishing out. You may need to help at first. Allowing children to choose their portion is a great way to start healthy eating habits, and get them “in-tune” with how much and what foods they want to eat.
  • Fill your plate similarly. If you expect your child to eat their broccoli, you have to eat yours too - sit down and eat together!
  • Give an old favorite with the new. If you want to try a new food, serve it with one of their favorite foods. For example, if they love carrots, have them put a few pieces of the new food along with it.
  • Allow them to spit it out.  This may seem crazy, but trying a new food can be very intimidating for a child. Telling them they can spit it out into a napkin if they don’t like it, eases the anxiety of trying something new.
  • Don’t give up!  A new food may have to be offered up to 20 times before it is accepted, but eventually it is accepted!

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

Dinner Table Struggles

Getting kids to eat nutritious food is a tough battle to fight! My 3 year old makes every night at the dinner table interesting and sometimes stressful. Overall he is a good eater, but it all has to be on his time. Sometimes we start meal time off with a tantrum simply because I say “it’s time to go to the table!” Meal time should not be stressful for either parent/care taker or the child. Below are some tips for a more enjoyable meal time.

  • Get them involved!  Take them to the store and ask them to pick out a fruit and/or a vegetable for dinner. Or simply ask “can you put these carrots in the cart for me”. Thank them for helping and praise them by telling them “great job” or “nice choice”.
  • Give them a job!  My 3 year old loves to wash the produce. The strainer baskets that cradle over the sink work well and I leave the water on a slow stream for him to wash; he feels very independent while I do other meal prep. He also helps fill the pot with water, add ingredients to bowls and pepper/season dishes. I have a “safe knife” for kids that he loves to use, of course with my supervision, it is a great way to teach them kitchen safety.
  • Be consistent!  House rule for my 3 year old, is that you do not have to eat supper but you always have to come to the table and pray. Telling him that he does not have to eat, allows him to make the decision on his own. Of which he always ends up eating.
  • Make it fun!  Sometimes we have a picnic lunch on the kitchen floor, and 50% of the time we are pretending to be dinosaurs or puppy dogs eating trees and bones! Kids have big imaginations, so play along. Put the food on the table and let them serve themselves/choose what and how much they want on their plate.

Next week- kid friendly tips for nutritious eating and introducing new foods.

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

Think Color

It may not be too colorful outside but there are still plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in the produce and freezer aisle (frozen fruits and vegetables are equally nutritious as they are fresh)! Plants offer an arsenal of protective, naturally occurring chemical compounds that benefit human health when eaten. One of the main types of plant compounds is anthocyanins, which are members of a group of phytochemicals called flavonoids. More than 600 structurally different anthocyanins have been found in nature. Anthocyanins are best-known for the colorful pigments orange, red, purple and blue that they give fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are admired for their potential ability to protect cells from free radical damage. Research reveals anthocyanins also may help fend off an array of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

There are five “subclasses” of flavonoids, each with unique plant compounds and beneficial effects. These are commonly consumed food sources of each type: 
Flavonols: black tea, onions, apples 
Flavan-3-ols: bananas, blueberries, peaches 
Flavones: parsley, peppers, celery 
Flavanones: oranges, lemons, tomatoes 
Anthocyanins: blueberries, strawberries, cherries

Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

What is your favorite holiday recipe?

Email me your favorite holiday recipe at katie.foster@hrhonline.org.  Over the next two weeks I will feature my top picks. Recipes do not need to be “healthy” just family favorites worth sharing!

Below is my favorite that I use to make around Christmas time but now tend to make year round! 

Sweet and Spicy Pecans (or any nut)


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 teaspoons of water (add last, see step 3)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. 
  3. Add the pecans to the sugar mixture, along with water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved into a sticky glaze. (If the mixture is still too powdery after stirring for a while, add a few more drops of water -- just don't add too much!) 
  4. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Drizzle all remaining glaze from the bowl over the nuts. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pecans are crusty on top and golden on the bottom. Immediately slide the parchment off of the hot baking sheet and allow the pecans to cool completely on the counter top. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
Note: Make sure you're using parchment paper and not wax paper. Wax paper is not nonstick.

Blog post provided by:

Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clincial Registered Dietitian
Hannibal Regional Nutrition Services

Sweet Leftover Turkey Salad


4 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup raisins
2 small apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon, juiced

Combine mayo, salt and lemon juice in medium bowl, whisk together. Add other ingredients and mix to combine. 

What is it good for? 

Turkey - Turkey (without skin) is low in fat and high in protein, a source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. 

Sunflower Seeds - One ounce of roasted kernels contains 170 calories, is a good source of protein, fiber, zinc, folate and vitamin B6, and supplies about one-third of the Daily Value for vitamin E and phosphorus. The seeds are also rich in healthful unsaturated fatty acids. The USDA counts one ounce of hulled sunflower seeds as a two ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group. Sunflower seeds contain the essential nutrient choline, important for healthy cell structure, synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and brain and memory development in the fetus.

Raisins - Raisins are high in potassium and a source of phytonutrients.

Blog post provided by: 
Katie Foster, RDN, LD