Hannibal Regional Blog


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


These green beauties provide nearly 20 essential vitamins and nutrients and are a good source of fiber and folate, potassium, vitamin E and B vitamins.

Diets low in saturated fat, yet adequate in heart healthy fats such as those found in avocados, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

To eat, slice lengthwise, around the center seed and twist apart. Grab a spoon and scoop out, eat as is, spread on toast, chopped in salad, as guacamole or in other recipes such as the one below.

Avocado Tuna Salad

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red onion (minced)
  • 6 ounces can solid white tuna (in water)
  • 1 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 small plum tomato (chopped)


  1. In a bowl, whisk lime juice and red wine vinegar. Add the minced red onion and let sit for about 5 minutes while prepping other ingredients.
  2. Drain and discard the water from the can of tuna fish. Add to bowl with the red wine vinegar mixture.
  3. Add in the mashed avocado, chopped plum tomatoes. Fold ingredients together to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with whole grain crackers or over a green salad.

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

Adding Plant Based Protein to Your Diet

Protein, fat, and fiber are the three nutrients that stay in your stomach the longest, contributing to your satiety level. Protein at each meal helps to stabilize blood glucose levels and prevents the breakdown of lean body mass. Although protein recommendations are actually exceeded by the average person, consumption of plant based proteins are low. Plant based proteins such as nuts and legumes can be easily packed for a satisfying snack, and beans or grains can make for an inexpensive protein rich meal.  Below is a brief list of plant based protein foods to incorporate into your diet!

Food Amount Protein (g)
Almonds 1/2 C 15
Beans, cooked 1 C 16
Broccoli 1 C 3
Cashews 1/2 C 10
Chia seeds 2 Tbsp 6
Corn 1 C 4.5
Edamame, cooked 1 C 19
Hemp seeds 3 Tbsp 10
Hummus 1/4 C 5
Lentils, cooked 1C 18
Peanut butter, chunky 2 Tbsp 8
Peas 1 cup 8
Peanuts 1/2 C 19
Pistachios 1/2 C 12
Quinoa, cooked 1 C 14-18
Soybeans, cooked 1/2 C 11
Soynuts 1/2 C 22
Sunflower seeds 1/2 C 13
Tofu, firm 1/2 C 10
Walnuts 1/2 C 15
Wheat berries, cooked 1 C 12
Wheat germ or flaxseed 2 Tbsp 4

C=cup, fl oz=fluid ounce, oz=ounce, Tbsp=tablespoon

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

A New Meaning to Spring Cleaning

After a long winter, we often revive our home with a good spring cleaning. So why not do the same with our eating habits? We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but yet most of us fall short of the recommended 5-9 servings per day. The simplicity of the produce section is something that no other section of the store has. Every item comes "as is", and is in its whole form. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce risk for heart disease including heart attack and stroke, as well as protect against certain types of cancers. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, which helps maintain proper bowel function, reduce blood cholesterol levels and much more. They are packed with many essential nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. The impact of fruit and vegetable consumption on our health is pretty remarkable.  Improving our eating habits can be hard, but if you currently don’t eat many fruits and vegetables, start by adding just 1 serving of a fruit and 1 serving of a vegetable to each day (1 orange with lunch, 1/2 cup sugar snap peas for a snack; ). Gradually increase the number of servings you eat per day to at least 2 fruits and 3 vegetables (or even up to 4 fruits and 5 vegetables). Spring clean your diet by choosing more from the produce section. 

What counts as a serving?

  • 1 medium piece of fruit= baseball size
  • ½ cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit
  • ¼ cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup 100% fruit juice
  • 1 cup leafy greens or raw veggies
  • ½ cup fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
  • ½ cup 100% vegetable juice

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

Powerful Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients can be defined as nutrients that have been scientifically proven to provide health benefits. "Phyto" in Greek means plants, and phytonutrients fall into their own category because they are not related to fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, or minerals.

Here are five steps to get more phytonutrients into your diet:

  1. Know your phytonutrient sources. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and teas. At the grocery store, explore different plant foods you have never tried and start to play with new foods and recipes.
  2. Aim for three to four servings of whole plant foods at every meal. A typical serving is about ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw greens, a medium piece of fruit, or cup of berries or melon.
  3. Eat the rainbow. Green, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple and white. Consume at least two different colors every day, and vary these colors from day to day.
  4. Vary your choices. There are thousands of phytonutrients. Try to incorporate a new food every week to get the most diversity of phytonutrients.
  5. Get creative. Try cauliflower rice in place of white rice, squash noodles in place of pasta noodles, chickpea- or lentil-based pastas instead of wheat-based pastas. You can also find foods in a variety of colors, including multi-colored carrots or potatoes; red or golden beets; and purple, brown or black rice.

Tip- Smoothies are a great way to incorporate a variety of bright, colorful foods.

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