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Hannibal Regional Blog


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

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

Intuitive Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many individuals, especially those who follow specific diets and eating patterns. Food seems to be the focal point of holiday gatherings. Choosing what to eat and how much to eat can be overwhelming to some, and/or a completely mindless act to others. Learning how to become an intuitive eater may allow you to relax in these stressful situations, make peace with food, and overcome overeating. 

Honoring your Hunger
It is common for people to restrict themselves from eating breakfast or lunch in preparation to have a large holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day, however, this can lead to a ravenous feeling of hunger. This feeling can often lead to hunger that is out of control when the holiday meal time comes. It is important to continue to feed your body according to what you need and want during the holidays, just as you would any other day. This might include enjoying breakfast, and having a light snack as you make your holiday meal. Every BODY is different and has different nutritional needs, therefore, it is important to honor YOUR hunger and not compare what you are having with what someone else is having.

Honoring your Fullness
It is important to realize that you can stop eating when you start to feel satisfied or possibly even before. It takes 15-20 minutes for our body to send a signal to our brain that we are full. Try to “check in” and realize when your body is telling you it is satisfied throughout the meal. It is okay to take dessert for later, or pass on a side dish knowing that you can have leftovers later. Rather than feeling deprived of certain recipes/foods at your holiday meal and over consuming them until you are miserably full, ask for the recipes and know that you can enjoy them all year round or as desired. 

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and remember what the Holidays are truly about, relaxing and enjoying the family, friends, and FOOD we are thankful for.

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Bethany Porter, MBA, DTR

Poor Sleep? Talk To Your Primary Provider
We all visit our primary care provider once or twice a year for preventative and ongoing care. We start out at the scale for our weight and height. This gives our care provider a picture of our overall BMI or Body Mass Index. The BMI is a screening tool to assess for potential health problems associated with unhealthy weight, both overweight and underweight.

Another screening tool is yearly blood tests. Depending on our individual health history, blood tests vary from basic, to more specific. These tests often include Cholesterol, Blood Glucose, CBC, and Metabolic panel. These tests give the care provider an overall picture of your health and can catch potential future health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and abnormal kidney and liver function.
Your care provider may put a pulse oximeter on your finger to measure the oxygen saturation of your blood. Low oxygen saturation can signal lung function problems and heart problems.

What we sometimes don’t discuss is our sleep. Poor quality sleep can affect our overall health and in some cases poor sleep can make other health problems worse. According to the National Sleep Foundation poor sleep can lead to overwhelming sleepiness during the day, increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to drowsy driving, high blood pressure, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, increased cholesterol and higher blood glucose, cardiac arrhythmias, and depression. 

Talk to your primary care provider if you:

  • Have trouble falling asleep or maintaining sleep.
  • Awaken earlier than you wish.
  • Feel un-refreshed after sleep.
  • Buffer from excessive sleepiness during the day.
  • You should share any concerns about your sleep and also tell them about any medications and sleep tips you have already tried and for how long.
  • Write down your questions for the doctor, and bring any medicines you are taking with you to your appointment.
There may be an underlying sleep disorder, and proper diagnosis is an important first step to resolving your problems with sleep. In order to treat the problem, your doctor may refer you to the Sleep Lab for a sleep study.

Please make sleep a priority! If you think you may have a sleep disorder, take the first step to better health and make sleep a part of the conversation between you and your family doctor or health care provider.

If you have questions about sleep and sleep disorders please contact Hannibal Regional Sleep Lab at 573-248-5344.

Mary Duesterhaus, RPSGT, REEGT,CRT Clinical Coordinator Neurodiagnostics-Hannibal Regional Hospital- Sleep Services

Dietary Recommendations For Those With A History Of Cancer

Cancer FoodDietary recommendations for those with a history of cancer are essentially the same as they are for anyone seeking to optimize their health and longevity, and offer similarly profound benefits in terms of risk reduction. Given the evidence on diet and cancer incidence and recurrence, the American Institute for Cancer Research, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Cancer Society all recommend people with a history of cancer consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based fats, nuts and legumes, with limited amounts of refined grains, added sugars, red and processed meats, and alcohol.

Diets rich in plant foods have a positive impact on health and quality of life after cancer treatment, due in part to their nutrient density and fiber, which also help promote a healthy weight. Research suggests a lower risk of cancer recurrence in people who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with most dietary fat coming from nuts and olive oil, and low amounts of red and processed meats, refined grains and full-fat dairy. The impact of individual dietary factors, such as fat, fiber and meat, on recurrence of various types of cancer has been evaluated in studies with mixed or inconclusive results.

Many people with a history of breast cancer question the potential cancer-promoting effects of dairy or soy. However, evidence indicates that neither low-fat dairy nor soy is linked to increased risk of recurrence. Moderate consumption of minimally processed soy foods may even have a protective effect. Similar questions have been raised regarding the effect of phytoestrogens in soy or flax on prostate cancer recurrence. The best available evidence suggests consuming soy and flaxseed may have a protective benefit, but people with a history of prostate cancer should avoid consuming large amounts of flax oil.

Restrictive dietary regimens are often promoted to people with a history of cancer. However, there is no evidence that such approaches reduce the risk of recurrence any more than a sensible dietary pattern.

The American Cancer Society recommends working with a registered dietitian nutritionist during and after cancer treatment for individualized nutrition care. Research suggests working with an RDN is especially helpful for healthy weight management, particularly in individuals with past female reproductive cancers.

Reference: What Type of Diet is Best for People with a Previous Cancer Diagnosis,  By Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS, Food and Nutrition Magazine

Blog post provided by:

Katie Foster, RDN, LD

Nutrition Services

Hannibal Regional

The BEST Simple cucumber salad
Cucumber SaladCucumbers have seemed to be the star crop this year for gardeners. Cucumbers are 99% water which makes them an excellent low calorie snack, which is hydrating as well! 1 cup of sliced cucumbers has just 16 calories, with trace amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Personally I love cucumbers sliced and as is but there are a lot of great cucumber salad recipes out there as well. When it comes to any recipe, I like to leave it simple. My favorite for a crisp veggie salad is a vinegar/herb combination. Below is a recipe that is pretty much in my fridge all summer long!

2 large cucumbers, 1/2 peeled and diced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or one tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepping tip: I don’t like to peel cucumbers because their deep green skin is honestly the best part for you. However I have to admit, the skin can sometimes be bitter and not always tasteful. I take a carrot peeler and skin the cucumber lengthwise, leaving stripes so that every other section is peel/no peel.

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

Recipe Makeover: Blondie Bars

Blondie Bars

Cooking spray
1 can (15oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons
coarse salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, add all the ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is
smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tbsp of chocolate chips on top. Bake for
20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are brown. The batter may look
a bit undercooked.
Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt and cut into squares!!!
*Batter will be thick and super delicious, so you could actually just eat it on its own before
cooking! We like to freeze it into cookie dough bites :)

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