We’re playing Q&A with the McDaniel Nutrition Therapy team! In this post, we get to know Jenni Leslie, MS, RD, LD. Jenni is the MNT eating disorder specialist, but she’s also passionate about intuitive eating, stress management, weight management, and gut health. 

Name: Jenni Leslie, MS, RD, LD

Family: I come from a very close small family with one older sister. However, I gained a much larger family when I married my best friend, Dan this past September!

Why I Got Into the Field/Specialty : During my dietetic internship, I knew that I wanted nothing to do with clinical nutrition. I’ve always had a desire to feel close to my clients and patients and wanted to be able to watch them grow in their health journey. So, after grad school, I began working at an eating disorder treatment center in Memphis, TN. I fell in love with the population and although it’s incredibly challenging, the positive times always outweigh the negatives in my opinion.  I am now back in St. Louis working at McCallum Place for Eating Disorders and with the McDaniel team. I love learning about the psychology of eating, understanding why people do the things they do, and the science of habit formation. I also enjoy reading up on gut health, hormone and thyroid issues, and stress management.

Biggest Nutrition Challenge with Fueling My Family: Since I don’t have any littles yet, I’m fairly free to do what I please in terms of meals. I think the main challenge right now is reaching a compromise with my husband. He would eat tuna and egg noodles for every meal if we didn’t live together (No, really!). Even though his food choices aren’t the most “nutrient-dense,” he is by far the most intuitive eater I know. He is so stress-free about food and this is what I think people (including myself) need to lean towards. You could eat all the kale in the world and be incredibly unhealthy if you’re stressed out about food all the time. He’s a breath of fresh air when I’m bombarded by diet culture messages.

Best Nutrition Tip for Fueling Family/self: Simplify. I’ll often get into the “analysis paralysis” mode where I have so many meal ideas floating around in my head that I end up making pancakes and eggs for dinner 3 nights in a row because I can’t make up my mind. It helps me to have a handful of super easy go-to healthy meals that I can make without thinking about it.

It Might Surprise You to Know That I Eat: ANYTHING. I will try anything twice. But really, I love chicken nuggets with ketchup.

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: You know those multicolor chocolate-covered dried fruit bites? Apparently it’s “old people candy”? – My husband’s words. I love those. Go to Trader Joe’s and get them.

Kim Yawitz

Kim Yawitz is a specialist in sports nutrition, weight management, and family nutrition and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. Kim is MNT's expert in nutrition counseling for sports nutrition and weight management. She also our social media manager, so if you love our posts, you can thank her!