Q&A With Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN
This month, we sat down with Leslie Bonci, MPH,RDN,CSSD,LDN. Leslie regularly provides Active Eating Advice to her clients which includes learning to embrace food instead of fearing it. Below, Leslie clarifies misconceptions she commonly hears, discusses how pasta fits into a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as shares a very unique pasta recipe with us!
- What are some of the most common food and nutrition misconceptions that you hear?
For those trying to lose weight and/or improve health, there seems to be a need to finger point, food bully and blame certain foods for being weight loss or health detractors:
- White foods
- Carb timing
For those trying to eat in a healthy way, there are food rules that one must stick to with foods to choose as well as those to avoid:
- Red meat
- Refined grains
- Processed foods
- Heated oils
And there is the appeal of tests without validity or scientific legitimacy that are quite appealing such as food sensitivity tests.
The concern with all of this is that the food avoidance, food blaming fosters an attitude and approach of food exclusivity rather than inclusivity which may not be affordable, available, or practical for everyone nor is there science to support the need for elimination.
- Can you share your Active Advice related to pasta and grains?
For my active clients, they need to fuel every workout and competition. Pasta and grains can act like the sacrifice fly to prevent the body from having to burn muscle to fuel activity. Pasta is an easy, inexpensive, readily available and versatile food that can be eaten as is or dressed up with a sauce, served hot or cold and available in many forms
- What foods do you recommend pairing with or in a pasta meal for a well-balanced meal?
I love the combos of protein and produce with pasta- the three Ps! Sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto and penne, or shrimp, broccoli and rotini, or Beyond meat or Boca crumbles in marinara over linguini for those who are vegan, or chicken, peas in a lightened up Alfredo using a Greek yogurt base over cappelllini
- What types of foods do you recommend for people who follow an active lifestyle?
The active body needs to think about macros: protein, carbs and fat in adequate quantities
- Micros: vitamins and minerals
- Phytos: from grains, fruit, veggies nuts, seeds
- Hydros: to optimally hydrate
- Microbes: to support a healthy gut
In addition, timing- parenthesizing vigorous bouts of exercise with food and fluid pre and post and sometimes during depending upon the duration of exercise
- Finally, can you share one of your favorite pasta recipes with us?
Food is comfort. This tasty combo of angel hair pasta, dairy and prunes makes me remember my grandmother, Nana Polly. Sweet, creamy, crunchy deliciousness. Like a fleece blanket for the tummy- cozy on up and enjoy this Pasta Polly recipe.