Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., CSSD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In her practice, Leslie works with patients who have digestive disorders and often does presentations on nutrition for digestive health.
She authored the book, “American Dietetic Association’s Guide to Better Digestion,” and has worked as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team dietitian for 18 years. Leslie also served eight years as a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and is past chair of SCAN—a dietetic practice group of the ADA. She has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, ESPN and MSNBC, and The Dr. Oz Show, among others. Currently, she appears on “The Winning Plate,” a television segment of a CBS-affiliate morning news show in Pittsburgh and surrounding markets.
Dried Plums: A tasty bite that’s a health delight
As a dietitian, I try to provide guidance on food choices, meal timing, and quantities that fit within my clients’ salary and calorie caps. Being on the go, having minimal time to shop and prep makes foods that are non-perishable of great value. And if those foods have health benefits in addition to a long shelf life and great taste, it’s a home run.
That is exactly why prunes are in my kitchen and a recommendation for my clients' shopping list. I spend a lot of time with active individuals who rely on their body to perform at an optimal level every day. In addition, I need to safeguard the health of my athletes, and protect them from products that may be banned, or cause adverse side effects. Foods that have therapeutic benefits are far more appealing and much safer. An athlete needs to have a strong and functioning core as well as supporting structure. Prunes have a role to play in helping with bowel regularity, and this is a food, not a supplement. Prunes have also been shown to have a positive effect on bone health which is very attractive to active people. Plus, they are portable and quite versatile.
Prunes can be added to oatmeal, a trail mix, rice pilaf and even a smoothie. Prune purée is a creative way to reduce the fat and sugar in a recipe resulting in less calories but great taste and texture. And because there is no preparation time or waste, they are a cost effective way to add some health to the plate every day.
Leslie Bonci, MPH,RDN,CSSD
Owner- Active Eating Advice
Spokesperson- California Dried Plum Board