Hannibal Regional Blog

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


Tips for a BETTER Heart

  • Primarily focus on eating fruits & vegetables. These can be enjoyed fresh, from frozen, or canned without added sugar or salt. Aim for 3-4 servings of each per day.
  • Choose WHOLE grains (oats, quinoa, kamut, wheat berries, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, farro, teff), & whole wheat products (100% whole wheat bread & bread products, 100% whole wheat pasta).
  • Eat ½ cup cooked legumes such as beans, lentils or peas at least 3 times per week.
  • Limit red meat to less or equal to 4 oz. per week.
  • Use animal protein as a complement to the diet & incorporate plant-based protein as the main dish. Plants based protein includes legumes, tree nuts, quinoa, and seeds.
  • Eat omega-3 & protein-rich fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines at least 2 times per week.
  • Reduce added sugar by simply cutting current portions in half. Replace added sugars (syrups & granulated sugars) with a natural nonnutritive sweetener like Stevia, or Splenda to cut down on carbohydrates & calories. Replace sweetened beverages with no-calorie drinks, like water, carbonated water, unsweetened green or black tea, and/or plain coffee.
  • Enjoy 4 oz red wine in moderation or with one meal per day.
  • Rely on olive oil as a main added fat source.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils, which include palm oil and palm kernel oil.

*These recommendations may not be well suited for people with kidney disease. Consult a Registered Dietitian for further questions 573-248-5370


Healthy dinnerWhat do you have planned for dinner tonight? Meal planning is a useful tool to make grocery shopping more efficient and meals healthier. Meal planning decreases stress and improves variety. There is a long list of pros when it comes to menu planning but for most people, a major con is the lack of free time to do so. The good news: meal planning does not have to be time consuming or tedious! We do not need to make extravagant meals but rather, we can rely on quick and easy entrees like sandwiches and low-sodium canned goods. Add fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy products on the side, and you have a well-balanced meal. Here are some lunch and dinner ideas to get your meal planning started!

Lunch & Dinner:

(1) Tuna or Salmon Packet
(10) Whole Wheat Crackers = 2 Carbs
(1) Small Apple, Banana, Orange = 1 Carb

(2) Whole Wheat Bread = 2 Carbs (2-3 oz.) Deli Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Ham)
(1 slice) Cheese
(1) Small Apple, Banana, Orange = 1 Carb

(3 oz) Rotisserie Chicken
(1 cup) Cooked Brown Rice = 3 Carbs
(1 cup) Frozen Veggies (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans)

(3 oz) Rotisserie Chicken
(1) Medium Baked Potato = 2 Carbs
(1/2 cup) Corn = 1 Carb
(2 Cups) Salad (Spinach or Romaine, Cucumbers, Carrots, 2 Tbsp Dressing)

(1) Tuna or Salmon Packet
(1 Cup) Salad Kit (Dole or Taylor Farms) = 1 Carb
(10) Whole Wheat Crackers = 2 Carbs

(3 oz.) Cooked Chicken (season with garlic + onion powder)
(1 Cup) Cooked Brown Rice = 3 Carbs
(1 Cup) Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables

(1) Medium Baked Potato = 2 Carbs
(1/2 cup) Manwich = 1 Carb
(¼ Cup) Shredded Cheese
(1 Cup) Steamed Broccoli
(1 Tbsp) Plain Greek Yogurt

(1 Cup) Canned Chili = 2 Carbs
(1) Medium Baked Potato = 2 Carbs
(¼ Cup) Shredded Cheese
(1 Cup) Green Beans

(½ Cup) Cottage Cheese
(1 Cup) Fresh or Frozen Fruit = 1 Carb
(10) Whole Wheat Crackers = 2 Carbs
(1 Cup) Salad Kit (Dole or Taylor Farms) = 1 Carb

(1 Cup) Low-Sodium Soup = 1 Carb
(5) Crackers = 1 Carb
(1) Small Banana, Apple, Orange = 1 Carb
(1 Cup) Salad Kit (Dole or Taylor Farms) = 1 Carb

(3 oz) Cooked Chicken
(½ Cup) Shredded Mexican Cheese
(2) 8” Medium Tortillas = 4 Carbs
(½ Cup) Sliced Green and Red Peppers
(1/4 cup) Chunky Salsa

(1 Roll) Sandwich Thin = 2 Carbs
(¼ Cup) Pizza Sauce = ½ Carb
(½ Cup) Shredded Cheese
(1) Small Apple, Banana, Orange = 1 Carb

(1 Roll) Sandwich Thin = 2 Carbs
(2 Tbsp) Peanut Butter
(1 Tbsp) Jelly = 1 Carb
(2) Small Clementines = 1 Carb

(1 Cup) Cooked Pasta = 3 Carbs
(½ Cup) Shredded Cheddar
(1 Cup) Steamed Broccoli

Blog post provided by: Megan Kemp, RDN, LD


Magnesium rich foods Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, with the majority found in the skeleton and the rest in muscle, soft tissue and blood. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans list magnesium as an under-consumed nutrient.

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY-Chronic low levels of magnesium can negatively affect body functions that may be associated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and conditions including attention deficit disorder and migraines. Magnesium is abundant in food, and the kidneys limit urinary excretion when dietary intake is low, thus deficiency is rare but gaining more and more attention. Chronic low intakes of magnesium or conditions such as alcoholism can promote magnesium deficiency, which has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Preliminary signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, which can progress to more serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and coronary spasms.

POPULATIONS AT RISK- Older adults and individuals with gastrointestinal diseases, Type 2 diabetes, renal disorders or alcoholism are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency, since they are likely to under consume or experience reduced absorption or increased losses of magnesium. Large doses of magnesium supplements, magnesium-based antacids or laxatives can interfere with magnesium absorption (especially for people who have impaired kidney function) and can cause diarrhea, nausea and cramping.

RESEARCH- continues for magnesium therapy in risk reduction and management of heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, pregnancy complications, asthma and migraine headaches. However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association do not recommend magnesium supplementation to manage diabetes. Studies continue to discover magnesium’s benefits in health promotion and disease prevention, but more research is needed. Well-balanced eating plans provide adequate amounts of magnesium. If deficiency is confirmed, dietary supplements may be required under the care of a physician.

Blog Post Provided by:

Katie Foster, RDN, LD

NEXT WEEK: MAGNESIUM- HEALTH ROLES AND DIET


Man running-EKGDiabetes management includes diet, medicine and/or exercise. Let’s talk about the latter. Did you know exercise is beneficial in lowering blood sugar? We can have the best intentions to manage our health through diet and exercise but can fall short in reaching our goals. We have to give ourselves credit- changing habits is difficult, very difficult.

For many of us, we’ve had our eating habits and exercise regimens (or lack thereof) for decades. We can’t expect change overnight.

It is agreed by health experts that Americans need at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. That is 30 minutes per day at least five times per week.

It sounds great on paper but how do we get to this goal? Think about where you are and then think about where you want to be. Setting small attainable goals each week have been proven to be effective in reaching our “big picture” goal.

Make a list of activities you enjoy. If you enjoy exercising, you will make it a priority. If you don’t, it is easy to make excuses to skip today... this week… this month.

If you are sedentary, a goal of walking 10 minutes Monday, Wednesday, Friday this week is a great place to start. Physically writing exercise on a calendar or schedule can help making it a priority. Once you have it finished, you can cross it off your list for the day. Exercising has numerous health benefits which can help keep motivation high and for it to become habitual.

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD


Heart Healthy Food US diabetes patients have a 2-3x increased risk of heart disease. To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, remember your ABCs.

A1C <7%
Blood pressure <140/90
Cholesterol (LDL) <100 (<70 if history of heart disease)

An A1C is a blood test that correlates with a person’s average blood glucose level over a 2-3 month period.

Blood pressure measures the pressure of blood in the circulatory system, which provides information on the force and rate of the heartbeat and elasticity of the arterial walls.

LDL “bad” cholesterol is determined through a blood test. Elevated levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Know these three numbers to better understand your risk of developing heart disease. You can reduce your risk with regular physical activity and the right foods.

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 4-5 servings per day.
  2. Enjoy baked fish twice a week.
  3. Choose whole grains (more fiber). Brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas are great choices.
  4. Snack on nuts or seeds four times weekly.
  5. Eat less saturated fat. Saturated fat is found in animal products. Choose skim or 1% milk over whole milk. Pick lean meats, like chicken or red meats with round or loin in the name (pork tenderloin, sirloin).
  6. Reduce sodium intake to 1500 mg sodium daily or less. If buying canned goods, choose those with a low sodium or no-salt-added label.
  7. Cut down on sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose water, unsweetened tea, or diet drinks over fruit juices or regular sodas.
  8. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

Visit www.heart.org

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD