Hannibal Regional Blog

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


Fruit and Oat Muffins

Fruit and Oat Muffins 

This recipe is a staple in our home. We often bake something at least once a week, muffins being the most popular. It is a quick grab and go breakfast, or snack. These are super versatile as you can use whatever fruit you have on hand, or a combination of fruit. It is a great way to use produce that has seen better days. Change it up by adding dark chocolate chips, dried fruit and/or chopped nuts, seeds etc. These whole grain muffins are high in fiber and contain 2 tablespoons of fruit per muffin. They also freeze nicely!

2.5 cups any fruit puree 
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup yogurt
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350F.
Puree fruit until smooth. Cream butter, yogurt and brown sugar using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer. Add eggs and pureed fruit. Mix well.
Stir in salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix well to combine. Add oats and flour. Continue mixing until just combined.
Prepare 24 muffin tins with liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill muffin pans 3/4 full of batter and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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


Whole Grain Cut Out Cookies

Whole Grain Cut Out Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day! What a great excuse to make fun heart-shaped sugar cookies. Making cookies at home allows for more wholesome ingredients, and is a great way to make memories with loved ones.  This recipe is a favorite of mine, especially because of the little hands that help make it. These cookies are made with hearty oats and whole wheat pastry flour. They are so good, they don’t even need frosting! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. butter 
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. oats, chopped fine in blender
  • 2-1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour OR whole wheat white flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together and then add the egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  2. Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder and beat until the dough comes together.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease (or line with parchment paper) 2 baking sheets.
  5. Remove one dough ball at a time, roll out about 1/4″ thick, cut into shapes and place on cookie sheets close together, because they don’t spread. Re-roll as needed to use up the dough.
  6. Bake the first sheet while rolling the dough for the second sheet. Bake the cookies about 8-9 minutes for thicker cookies (if you’ve rolled them thinner, they only need to bake 6-8 minutes). Set a timer! 
  7. Remove the cookies to a rack to cool before decorating.

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


Beyond Weight Loss

The power of food is infinite. I love when people ask me for nutrition advice, because talking about nutrition is truly my passion. I believe that what we put in our body is the force behind everything that takes place within our body. Nutrition is a challenging topic, with continuously changing research, media hype, poorly written nutrition claims and more confusion than the average person can keep up with. It is easy to get lost in the world of nutrition. “What not to eat?” “What diet to follow?” “When and how to eat?” However, what most people lose sight of is the power that food has to offer, the good that food does for our body and that food can actually improve our mental and physical well-being. As you can imagine, the number one reason that people ask me for nutrition advice, is because they have a goal in mind. That shared goal, is often weight loss. Rather than weight loss being the driver for our food choices, let’s make food choices for a reason OTHER than weight loss.  Eating healthy has far more benefits than decreasing the number on the scale, or going down a pant size. Filling up on the right foods have been shown to provide feel-better benefits and improving overall well-being. Benefits of a healthy diet range from improved heart and brain health, to a higher chance of being successful at work!  Below are ten reasons to eat healthy - other than weight loss.

It makes you happy
Fast food and pastries that are high in trans fat and sugar can throw off your brain’s levels of mood-regulating chemicals to spur symptoms of depression. Research consistently shows that health-promoting nutrients—such as omega 3's from fatty fish, and vitamin D in dairy - can boost your mood and combat depression.

It Makes You Smarter
Research from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging shows that eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats from fried and processed foods reduces your cognitive abilities. Meanwhile, high intakes of omega 3's from foods like fish, walnuts, and avocados improves brain function.

Improves your activity level
Food is fuel. Every one of your dietary decisions throughout the day impacts your exercise performance, as well as your productivity at work and other life decisions you make throughout the day. Consistently getting the hydration, and vitamins/minerals from nutrient dense foods you need, keeps your body primed and ready to work its best. 

It Scores You Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep will not only help you make good food choices, but good food choices also help you sleep more soundly through the night.

It Slashes Stress
Food choices have a huge influence on the level of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine as well as your levels of stress-inducing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Foods high in antioxidants such as dark chocolate, and deeply colored fruits and vegetables help reduce stress related hormones.

Healthy Skin
Staying hydrated, choosing foods with omega-3 fats, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help the body fight dry skin in the winter. Fish is the best source of omega-3 fats, but plant foods such as flax, chia and hemp seeds and walnuts also are good sources

Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is linked to everything from stress and brain fog to heart disease and cancer. According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat whole grains over refined ones cut their levels of C-reactive protein—a key indicator of inflammation—by 38 percent.

Boost Immunity
Consuming yogurt and other fermented foods containing probiotics, along with complex carbs (whole grains) can strengthen your immune system to reduce your likelihood of infections. (Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology)

Heart Health
Women are more likely to die from heart disease than from anything else. Luckily, all weight loss aside, eating right can help cut your risk. For instance, one New England Journal of Medicine study found that people who eat about a handful of nuts every day were 29 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

It Prevents Osteoporosis
Strong diet = strong bones. Apart from getting adequate dairy, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends consuming fish, fruits, and veggies. It also states that getting your sodium intake into a healthy range (a.k.a. nixing processed foods) can help ward off osteoporosis.

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

 


All Types of Olive Oil Benefit Heart Health

Research shows that all types of olive oil – from extra virgin to extra light tasting – can reduce the risk of heart disease. That's because all types are equal in heart-healthy fatty acids. This is good news for people who want the heart benefits of olive oil but prefer a milder flavor or lower price. Try this loaded Mediterranean humus drizzled with olive oil for a snack, meal or party pleaser.

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cups original hummus
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup green or orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup black olives sliced
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped

Instructions

  1. Spread hummus over plate or serving dish
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika
  3. Top with red bell pepper, olives, pine nuts, feta cheese and cilantro
  4. Serve with whole wheat crackers, pitas, chips or veggies

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


The Mediterranean Diet

A cross-cultural prospective study that began in 1958 lasted for 50 years, studying 7 countries having varied traditional eating patterns and lifestyles. The term “Mediterranean diet” was derived from the foods and lifestyle enjoyed by the people living in proximity to the Mediterranean Sea during the late 1940’’s, 50s and 60s. This population had surprisingly low rates of heart disease and long lifespans compared to most other populations. This diet, was locally sourced, and comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seafood, olive oil, some poultry and some dairy, occasionally red meat and red wine in moderation. Daily walking and physical activity was a way of life.

My top recommendations overall healthy eating habits:

  • Pack on the produce: veggies and fruit should be the main focus at meals and snacks.
  • Prioritize good-for-you fats: plant-based oils such as olive oil and other monounsaturated fats such as tree nuts.
  • Eat more seafood: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) served at least once a week.
  • Choose 100% whole grains: farro, buckwheat, bulgur, wheat, brown rice and oats, or products made with 100% whole wheat flour or grains.
  • Enjoy conscious indulgences: dark chocolate, dried fruits, sweets, and baked goods in moderation.
  • Think quality over quantity: limit/eliminate added sugar, refined grains, processed meats, and other high processed foods.
  • Provide enrichment — of multiple varieties: cooking with herbs and spices, enjoying favorite restaurants, and trying new flavors.

What makes this "diet" so great is that it’s a lifestyle, not a traditional weight-loss plan that has you counting calories or measuring portions. It's all about enjoying meals with friends and loved ones, savoring each flavor, indulging yet being mindful, and making time for plenty of physical activity. Fill up on tons of veggies, fruit, 100% whole grains, pulses (beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils); choose lean protein like seafood, eggs, and small portions of meat; and savor sweets in smaller amounts.

*Please note these recommendations are for the average adult, certain health conditions/diseases are inconclusive to these recommendations.

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