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6 Tips From the Kansas City Chiefs Dietitian That Make Healthy Eating Easier


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Leslie Bonci adds beans to mac and cheese sauce.
Leslie Bonci/Getty

  • NFL dietitian Leslie Bonci cooks meals for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • He has many tricks for adding nutrients to players' favorite dishes.
  • Bonci is busy, so she uses the same tips to create easy, healthy meals at home.

Is this nfl player Or children, it is extremely difficult to feed picky eaters.

And for both high-performing athletes and growing children, getting the right nutrient intake is important.

Leslie Bonesi Has been an NFL dietitian for 34 years, and has worked with kansas city chiefs Since 2015. This year's team, being particularly young, has been particularly selective, he told Business Insider.

Through the meals he creates, Bonesi aims to incorporate nutrients into dishes that still seem familiar enough that players will want to try them, and delicious enough that they will actually finish them.

And as a busy person, she uses these same tips to feed herself and her family.

Bonci shares 6 cooking hacks to add nutrients to meals below.

1. Add mixed beans to the sauce

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, but not everyone is a fan of their texture. To combat this, Bonci likes to blend them into sauces for dishes like pasta and cioppino, a fish stew that originated in San Francisco.

She also regularly adds canned white kidney beans to the sauce for mac and cheese. He said, while a bowl full of beans may not be popular among football players, a portion of mac and cheese always sounds appealing because it's familiar.

“The main thing is that you have to have a familiar taste, otherwise it won't be edible,” Bonci said. “We use a lot of beans at home too because they're so easy, and I canned – I don't make them dry, I don't have the time, but they're such a beautifully simple thing that they're easily eaten. The dishes can go.”

2. Bulk up meatballs with lentils and vegetables

If you make your own meatballs, it's easy to add more nutrients and fiber by adding in lentils or chopped vegetables, Bonci said.

“You're putting something in that increases the nutritional value,” Bonci said. “You can do half lentils and half beef, and now you've added more fiber, but you're not tasting the lentils, you're tasting the meat. This is a profitable deal for me. I made it better for you, but you're eating it because you like it.”

3. Mix foods, don't change them

Bonci encourages his athletes to vary the proportions of their meals, not replace them entirely.

She knows it's unrealistic to replace wings with salad, but maybe they could eat less wings and add some wings like Peanut Mushroom Strips instead.

“They all know vegetables are healthy,” Bonci said. “It's no surprise, but it's at that moment when you want to eat something, who are you going to go with? You're generally going to go with what you know and like.

4. Add roasted chickpeas to popcorn

Next time you make a bowl of popcorn, Bonci suggests adding some roasted chickpeas to add more protein and fiber while providing a salty crunch.

Bonci also recommends adding them to salads or your own trail mix.

You can also choose the seasoning and spices by roasting your chickpeas.

5. Add pumpkin puree to your oatmeal

Forget Thanksgiving, Bonesi cooks with canned pumpkin all year long — she especially enjoys mixing it into her oatmeal with some pumpkin pie spice.

“You can get it year-round and it's a more affordable vegetable than others,” Bonci said. “Significant nutritional value, minimal calories, and no preparation. So fast, fast, fast.”

Bonci sometimes freezes canned pumpkin in ice cube trays so she can use as much or as much as needed for each meal.

She also uses squash and pumpkin, whether canned, frozen or pre-chopped, in smoothies and sauces, she said.

6. Combine pre-prepared ingredients to create a balanced meal

Like most people, Bonesi doesn't have as much time to cook as she'd like, so she sticks to making healthy meals with convenient ingredients.

One of her favorite combos is to take a simple packaged soup, but add in a can of beans and some plain full-fat Greek yogurt to increase the protein and fiber and make it more filling.

“It's creamy and delicious,” Bonci said. “Then maybe a little oil on top or some sunflower seeds to make it pretty, but all this nutritional value without spending hours in the kitchen, I love things like that.”

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