Dance nutrition maximizes a dancer’s capabilities both in the studio and on the stage. Dancers learn how to supply calories that fuel movement, support endurance, and build strength. Dance nutrition is key to a strong, successful, and sustainable dance career.
How do you balance your plate just as well as you balance your pirouettes? Create a fuel mix! Whether it’s a meal or a snack, include the three major macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Each macronutrient has a specific role in the body.
Carbohydrates (also known as carbs) provide the necessary sugars that your body needs for energy. For an added bonus, choose complex carbs like those found in minimally processed whole foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, veggies, and fruit. Complex carbs are high in fiber, which helps to slow digestion and subsequent absorption of the sugars. This will give your body a steady flow of energy throughout longer days.
The next addition to your fuel mix is protein. While carbs provide your body with energy, protein helps to repair and rebuild torn muscles. Some of my favorite sources include Greek yogurt, Kefir, eggs, legumes, beans, ancient grains (like farro) and pseudo-cereals (like quinoa and buckwheat).
The last macronutrient needed for your fuel mix is fat. While fats often get a bad rep, they’re essential to your body! Adding fat to your meal enhances vitamin absorption, promotes hormonal functioning, and keeps you feeling satisfied. Try foods high in heart healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and wild sustainably- caught fish. These heart healthy fats will also help to lessen the natural inflammation that occurs from intense workouts and dancing.
Now that you’re ready to create a fuel mix, check out some of my favorites:
- Top your favorite unsweetened Greek yogurt with 3 tablespoons of chopped nuts (I love almonds!) and sprinkle with ground flaxseeds and chia seeds. Drizzle some honey and enjoy!
- Spread a ½ cup of mashed avocado on 2 slices of whole grain bread and top with a sliced, soft-boiled egg. Not into the egg? Sprinkle some shelled hemp seeds for a protein boost.
- Create a grain bowl using 1 cup of cooked quinoa as your base. Mix in veggies of your liking and top with grilled chicken. Dress with a simple vinaigrette (my current go-to?) Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil-based Lemon Turmeric dressing.