Hannibal Regional Blog

rss

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


How do dinners look at your house? Do you plan your meals ahead of time or tend to go with the flow? Planning to eat healthy plays a big part in actually eating healthy. If we don’t have healthy foods in our pantry or fridge, it is easy to overlook health and turn to convenient alternatives. Sure, convenience can mean high fat, high calorie foods but it isn’t the only option.

Freezer meal cooking is a great resource for those who want to eat healthy but have a busy schedule. Freezer meal cooking is planning and preparing meals ahead of time that can be easily frozen for later use. It could simply be doubling a recipe and eating one half for dinner and freezing the other half for future use. The benefit of freezer meal cooking is that it helps find a balance in convenience and health.

Assess Your Freezer Space:
Before you start looking for appetizing freezer meal recipes, you want to look at how much space you have in your freezer. Some recipes can be frozen in freezer bags and take up little space, while others, require 8x8 and 9x13 pans and need a little more.

Creating a Freezer Meal Recipe Collection:
You can start by looking at your own recipe collection. Shortly, we will review what freezes well and what does not which will help you better assess your recipes. Taste of Home has excellent freezer meal cookbooks and several blogs offer a variety of tried and true recipes from Six Sisters’ Stuff to Once a Month Meals.

What Freezes Well:
Meat, poultry and fish all freeze well. Raw meat is preferable for long storage because it doesn't dry out or get freezer burn as fast as cooked meat. Dough/batter of cakes, pies, muffins, bagels, breads, cookies and pizza crusts can also be frozen; they also freeze well already baked. Beans and rice can be cooked in bulk to save time and frozen to be used at your convenience. Cooked scrambled eggs freeze well.

What Freezes Okay but Texture Changes:
Fruits and vegetables all soften when frozen. Potatoes and mushrooms must be cooked before freezing or they may turn black and your dish will appear less appetizing. Cooked pastas will become much softer after they are frozen and should only be cooked about ¾ of the recommended time. Milk and dairy products can be frozen but may separate after being frozen. For best quality, only freeze these items for 1-2 months.

What Does NOT Freeze Well:
Vegetables such as lettuces, celery, radishes and cucumbers have a high water content and typically turn to mush when frozen. Mayonnaise tends to separate. Sliced and block cheeses tend to crumble and are hard to use when frozen.

Freezer meal prepping and planning can be done during our free time or when we feel most motivated. Focus on adapting your recipes to be healthier. Fresh & frozen fruits and vegetables can be incorporated into main dishes or used as quick and easy side dishes. If a recipe calls for canned goods, try low-sodium or no-salt-added. Traditional products found in the grocery store freezer section often have higher sodium content than fresh foods. However, your homemade freezer meals can be made lower sodium by replacing salt in recipes with Mrs. Dash seasoning or other herbs. By always having healthier homemade freezer meals assembled in your freezer, you will have them ready to go for dinner when you get in a pinch!

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD


Healthy eating starts at the grocery store! Having a grocery list in hand can make grocery shopping faster, more efficient and even healthier! You may have heard that if you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach you are sure to leave with muffins, cookies, and ice cream. Everything can look appetizing when you are hungry! Following a grocery list can help keep you on track and your mind on choosing foods that will guide you to better health.

Produce Section:

  • Anything!

While fruits do contain carbohydrates, they are an important food group to include every day. Aiming to get 2 servings of fruits daily can help you reach the recommended amount of fiber and give you plenty of other beneficial nutrients.

Fresh Meat Department: Loin and round = lean

  • Beef: Sirloin, Flank, Round
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Lean Ground Beef, Turkey & Chicken
  • Sliced Deli Meat
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia

Dairy Department:

  • Kefir
  • Regular or Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Skim or 1% Milk
  • Eggs
  • Smart Balance margarine
  • Benecol margarine

Within the Grocery Aisles:

  • Canned Tuna
  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
  • Beef Jerky
  • PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chia or Flax Seed
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Corn Taco Shells
  • Carb Balance or Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Shredded Wheat Cereal
  • Kashi Go Lean Cereals
  • Old-Fashioned or Steal Cut Oats
  • Wheat Thins
  • Triskets
  • Popcorn
  • Rice Cakes
  • Sara Lee 45 Calorie Whole Wheat Bread
  • 100% Whole Wheat Breads
  • Sandwich Thins
  • FlatOut Wraps and Tortillas
  • Beanitos
  • Granola/Protein Bars (Nature Valley, Fiber One, Quest, Oh Yeah, Rx Bars: aim for 5 grams of fiber or 10 grams of protein in a snack bar)
  • Mrs. Dash Seasonings
  • Olive or Canola Oil Sprays
  • Sweeteners (Sucralose, Stevia)
  • Oil-Based Salad Dressings
  • Canned Fruit in 100% Juice or No Sugar Added
  • No Salt Added Canned Vegetables
  • No Salt Added Canned or Dried Beans (black, kidney, navy, pinto, garbanzo)
  • Low-Sodium Broths
  • No Salt Added Canned Tomatoes
  • 100% Fruit Juice
  • Herbal Tea
  • Sparkling Water
  • Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice
  • Unsweetened Green Tea

Frozen Aisles:

  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Steamable Vegetables
  • Superfood (lentils, couscous) Side Dishes
  • Edamame
  • Frozen Fruit
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Halo Top Ice Cream

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD


If you look at the USDA’s MyPlate, it gives general guidelines of how to eat healthy. Half of your 9” dinner plate should be fruits or vegetables, while the other half should be a combination of grains and proteins (preferably ¼ each). Korean Beef Bowls is one of my favorite diabetic friendly recipes and one that I had to tailor a bit to fit into these healthier eating guidelines.

Do you have a favorite recipe? Does it have vegetables as a side? Salad Kits and frozen mixed vegetables make quick and convenient side dishes. With little prep or extra work on your part, you can add nutritional value to your dinner. Does your recipe call for lots of pasta? Replace some of it with non-starchy veggies like spaghetti squash or zucchini. This can help encourage vegetable intake among picky eaters. Do you typically cook with a big helping of butter? Try using an olive or canola oil spray. It cuts down on quantity of fat used and also replaces the saturated (unhealthy fats) with unsaturated fats (heart healthy fats). Creating a well-balanced meal from your favorite recipes can be fun!

Korean Beef Bowls

Recipe adapted from: The Recipe Critic blog
Serves: 4

What You Need:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 16 oz frozen stir fry vegetable blend

What You Do:

  • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and garlic over medium heat until no longer pink.
  • Add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and pepper to the skillet.
  • Let simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook frozen vegetables and rice according to package directions.
  • Serve your beef mixture over hot rice and garnish with green onions. Enjoy with a side of stir fry vegetables!
Nutrition Facts Amount Per Portion
Total Calories 374 Calories
Protein 28 grams
Carbohydrate 42 grams
Dietary Fiber 5 grams
Total Fat 10 grams
Saturated Fat 4 grams

 


Back to SchoolDecades of research demonstrate the benefits of breakfast, especially for school age children. “Time” is the number one reason given for skipping breakfast, but with good planning, a healthy and delicious meal can be prepared and eaten in under 10 minutes. A high protein breakfast (about 14g for children and 21g for teenagers) promotes longer periods of fullness. This in return prevents growling stomachs and enhances alertness at school. Protein-packed breakfast ideas include eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, nuts/ nut butters, and lean meats (ham, Canadian bacon etc.).

Eggs are my go-to food for any meal. They taste great and go well with anything, are super quick and easy to prepare, inexpensive and offer a lot of nutrition. In addition to protein, eggs (the whole egg that is, yolk included!) contain two important nutrients: choline and lutein, which play a critical role in brain development and cognition. One large egg contains 147 milligrams of choline, more than half of the choline most 4-8 year old’s need. Choline is an important nutrient involved in mood and learning. Lutein plays an important role in brain function for infants and toddlers.

Streamline breakfast and make it as efficient as possible by planning. Planning is huge! Next week will include “make ahead” and last-minute breakfast ideas.

SchoolFruit Salsa is right around the corner. We all know that the first thing kids do when they walk in the door is get something to eat! Make after school snacks more fun by getting them involved. Kids who are involved with choosing and preparing their after school snack are more likely to make good healthful choices. This is a great afterschool snack that is nutritionally dense and can be prepared ahead of time for a quick and fun snack. 

All you need:
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled and diced
1 package (8 oz.) fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
10 (6- inch) whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp. cinnamon

All you do: 
1.  In a large bowl, combine kiwi, apple, raspberries, strawberries and strawberry preserves.  Cover and    chill for 15 minutes.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter spray.  Cut into wedges with pizza cutter or scissors and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets.
4. Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon sugar.  Spray again with cooking spray.
5. Bake 8-12 minutes or until crispy.  Remove from oven and cool.
6. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Serves 8

Nutrition Facts per serving: 
240 calories, 52 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g dietary fiber, 3 g fat, 4 g protein, 190 mg sodium, 18 g sugar

Daily Values: 
2% vitamin A 70% vitamin C 8% calcium 10% iron

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD 
Nutrition Services
Hannibal Regional