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Hannibal Regional Blog


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

Tailoring Your Recipes

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


Diabetes: Sugar and Carbohydrates

When it comes to diabetes, you may assume that carbohydrate containing foods are off limits or “forbidden”. When you meet with a registered dietitian for diabetic nutrition counseling, you may be surprised to learn this is not the case. We need carbohydrates! Even with a diagnosis of diabetes, carbohydrates are an important component of our diet and our body’s preferred fuel source. Most men and women need 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal.

The first step in controlling our blood sugars is knowing what foods contain carbohydrate, the macronutrient that has the biggest impact on our blood sugar. This includes foods we most often associate with carbs: your breads, pastas, rice, but also dairy foods, like milk and yogurt (they contain natural sugar, lactose) and fruit (they contain natural sugar, fructose). Finally, we have the carbohydrate foods with added sugars, such as sodas, cake, cookies, candy.

When Nutrition Fact Labels are available, keeping track of carbohydrates is much easier and less of a guessing game. In diabetes management, the focus on the label is on serving size and total carbohydrates, not sugar. This is often a source of confusion. The American Diabetes Association nutrition recommendations encourage focusing on the total amount of carbohydrate rather than the type. Carbohydrates are composed of sugars, along with starches and fibers. All affect our blood sugars in different amounts. Paying attention to total carbohydrates rather than these individual components helps us to better control blood sugar levels.

For any nutrition questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact one of our outpatient dietitians at Hannibal Regional Diabetes Center.

Megan Kemp, RDN, LD

Marie Niemeyer, RDN, LD, CDE


Print Resource:
Dunbar, S, Verdi, C: 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Nutrition. Alexandria, VA,
American Diabetes Association, 2014

Hannibal Regional Wins Quality Awards

Joint_replacement_trophyHannibal Regional recently received national recognition from both Kindred Healthcare and Healthgrades™ for superb quality in taking care of patients. 

According to Kindred Healthcare, Hannibal Regional ranks #1 in the region for inpatient rehabilitative care.  Additionally, the Hannibal Regional Inpatient Rehab team received a 2017 award for “Top 10 in Kindred” for quality. Hannibal Regional was also ranked #1 nation-wide in length-of-stay efficiency. 

“The dedication of our Inpatient Rehab team is reflected in their efforts to help patients get back to living their lives,” noted Brett Hosley, DO, Neurologist and Director of the Inpatient Rehab Unit at Hannibal Regional. “We treat the whole patient physically, emotionally and socially so that if they can, they are able to go back to doing the things they love.”

Another recent recognition came from Healthgrades™ for being in the top 10% in the nation for joint replacement out of 4,500 hospitals nationwide. Hannibal Regional has received this award three years in a row (2016-2018).  For patients, this means hospitals which received the Joint Replacement Specialty Excellence Award have had on average 57% lower risk of experiencing complications while in the hospital, compared to other hospitals during the review period. Additional recognitions from Healthgrades™ included five-star recognitions for pacemaker procedures and total knee replacements at Hannibal Regional. 

“On behalf of the orthopedic team of physicians, nurses, and staff, it’s a privilege for us to be recognized by Healthgrades™ for being in the top 10% in the nation for joint replacement,” noted Curtis Burton, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Midwest Orthopedic Specialists. “We strive for excellence, every patient, every time.”

“For 115 years, the people of our community have turned to us for quality and compassionate health care. The recognitions from Kindred and Healthgrades™ only reinforce our commitment to providing the highest quality care. I am proud of our team members for the dedication to our patients and honored we are able to share these recognitions.”  Todd Ahrens, President and CEO of Hannibal Regional.

Hannibal Regional serves residents of the tri-state area from more than ten locations and includes, Hannibal Regional Hospital, Hannibal Regional Medical Group, Complete Family Medicine and Hannibal Regional Foundation. Modern Healthcare recently recognized Hannibal Regional as one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. For more information on Hannibal Regional, visit www.hannibalregional.org.

Making the Most of Your Carbohydrates

As a dietitian, I often tell clients “anything in moderation is okay.” But what are the effects of the lack of moderation or eating “too much”? Nutritionally speaking, too much carbohydrates makes blood glucose too high, too much fat and protein contribute to weight gain and heart disease.

It’s important to note that all calories are composed of these carbohydrates, fat and protein. A balance of all is important but when an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, carbohydrates become the focus.

Diabetes management includes a consistent carbohydrate diet, exercise and/or medicine. A consistent carbohydrate diet is not equivalent to not eating carbohydrates but rather watching the portion of our carbohydrates. The recommended amount of carbohydrates at one meal is typically 45-60 grams of carbohydrate.

How can we create a balanced meal with a budget of 45-60 grams of carbohydrate? Think of a 9 inch dinner plate that is half vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ grains. It is a basic guideline to healthy eating but these guidelines can be met in a 101 different ways.   

Nutrition Facts Amount Per Portion
Total Calories 528 Calories
Protein 50 grams
Carbohydrate 56 g
Dietary Fiber 11 g
Total Sugars 11 g
Added Sugars 0 g
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g

Tomato and Garlic Stuffed Chicken with Zoodles
Serves 2

What You Need:

  • 2 (4 oz each) chicken breasts, with slit down side
  • ¼ cup garlic herb goat cheese
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienne sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash tomato and basil seasoning
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti noodles (whole wheat, Smart Taste and Dreamsfield pastas= more fiber!)
  • 1 cup pasta sauce

What You Do:

For the chicken:

  • Place 2 Tbsp goat cheese in each chicken breast.
  • Stuff 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes into each chicken breast.
  • Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1 Tbsp Mrs. Dash seasoning.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

For the zoodles:

What are zoodles? They are zucchini noodles. Spiralizing vegetables has become a popular trend in the past few years. They are a fun way to add vegetables to salads, soups, pastas, sandwiches and wraps. You can create your “zoodles” by using a spiralizer or a julienne slicer.

  • Spiralize your zucchini.
  • Cook zoodles by putting them in a microwave safe bowl and adding just enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl. Cover. (You can also saute in skillet with olive oil spray for 5 minutes, or until slightly tender.)
  • Microwave for 3-5 minutes or until slightly tender and/or translucent.
  • Drain and add to drained spaghetti noodles.
  • Toss until well mixed.
  • Add pasta sauce to noodle/zoodle mix and heat for 2-3 minutes.

And there you have it: a ¼ plate of chicken (protein), ¼ plate of pasta (grains) and ½ plate of zoodles (veggies) presented in a fun and appetizing meal! How can you make your favorite family dishes fit into these healthy eating guidelines?

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD

Spring Forward! Helping Your Kids Adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

We set our clocks forward one hour on March 11th 2018 at 2A.M. for Daylight Saving Time. This change will give us another hour of sunlight in the evening.  Most of us welcome that extra hour of sunlight, and the feeling that spring is finally here!  The downside to the change is how it can interfere with our children’s sleep schedules. After moving the clock ahead one hour, young children who had a bedtime at around 7 or 8 PM when it is dark, may now be going to bed while it is still light.  Adults can easily adjust to the new time, but it may be more difficult for children.  For children, especially if they are not getting enough sleep already, making the adjustment to Daylight Saving Time is important.

Here are things you can do to get your kids ready for the change.

Gradually get your child ready for the time change.

Before Daylight Saving Time begins, you can put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier for a few days. By the time the clock moves forward your child will already be used to the new earlier time.

If you didn’t gradually change bedtimes you can wake your child up an hour earlier on the day before Daylight Saving Time begins. Your child will be sleepier that night and you can put them to bed an hour earlier. That way there is no lost hour of sleep and you wake your child up at their usual time, according to their internal clock.

As always, your child should develop good daily habits to sleep well and maintain healthy growth and development, both physically and mentally.

Try these tips for good sleep habits every night.

  • Keep a routine bedtime and wake time: Try to put your kids to bed and get them up at the same time each day. This helps maintain their circadian rhythm or body clock.
  • Have a bedtime ritual: Try a bath, pajamas, brushing teeth and a few pages from a book or telling a story. Your child will come to expect the routine and breeze through bedtime every night.
  • Make the room comfortable: Keep the room cool, quiet and dark. If your child needs a night light choose an amber-colored light. Blue lights tend to signal the brain to wake
  • Limit electronic use. Limit computer, cell phone, and TV use at least one hour before bed. The light emitted from these screens can stimulate the brain and interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Set an example:   Set a good example as a parent and follow good sleep habits yourself. Make sleep a priority, you may find that you get better sleep and feel healthier too! 

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

Hannibal Regional Diabetes Center

March is National Nutrition Month and offers a reminder to reflect on our own health and wellness. Hannibal Regional Diabetes Center has two outpatient registered dietitians to help guide you in healthy eating and reaching your individual nutrition needs and goals.

At Hannibal Regional, Marie Niemeyer, RDN, LD, CDE and Megan Kemp, RDN, LD offer nutrition services for a variety of health conditions. They are available for one-on-one nutrition counseling, whether you are interested in weight loss, needing to follow a specific diet, or have any general nutrition questions or concerns. Despite the name, outpatient nutrition services of the Diabetes Center are not limited to only diabetes but rather include a variety of other health conditions from heart disease to gastrointestinal disorders.

Hannibal Regional Diabetes Center has a recognized diabetes program through the American Diabetes Association. The outpatient dietitians offer group diabetic education classes, one-on-one diabetes consultations and a monthly diabetic support group, scheduled the first Wednesday of each month at 3:00 p.m.

The Hannibal Regional Diabetes Center is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Interested in nutrition counseling? Talk to your primary care physician to have a referral sent to the center via fax at 573-629-3381. Once a referral has been placed, a dietitian will be in contact with you to set up the appointment as soon as possible.

Marie and Megan can also be reached by phone at 573-629-3382 or by email at marie.niemeyer@hrhonline.org or megan.kemp@hrhonline.org.

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD


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