As an artistic athlete, you learn how to intertwine the body’s beauty of motion with physical strength and endurance. The body is your instrument and therefore you work to maintain its health and achieve its performance potential. A nourishing diet enhances jump height, builds endurance, improves aerobic capacity, and reduces injury risk. A well-fueled dancer is better equipped to building sustainable habits that support a positive relationship with both food and body. As a dancer however, you also remain vulnerable to the internal and external pressures of maintaining a specific physique.
About 10-12 percent of dancers weigh less than is needed for normal metabolic functioning. This is often due to an energy imbalance that results from low calorie diets and high levels of physical activity. A diet that is low in calories translates into a diet that is also low in nutrients like unsaturated fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The risks of such a plan outweigh any so-called “benefits.”
With gruesome dance training schedules, it is important to eat enough throughout the day. Nutritional needs are dependent on the individual, however, most dancers benefit from a daily menu that includes at least 3 meals and 2 snacks. When possible, opt for foods that make you feel good. Include nutrient-dense options to sustain metabolic demands while supplying energy for your dancing. When a busy schedule makes mealtimes impractical, choose convenient snacks that are balanced among all three macronutrients. Some examples include:
- 1 sliced apple paired with a generous handful of almonds
- 2 slices of whole grain bread topped with sunflower seed butter and sliced bananas
- Greek yogurt with granola and chopped nuts
- A homemade trail mix that includes salted pretzels, chocolate chips, raisins, and sliced almonds.
If you’re looking for help with creating balanced options that fuel your dancing, reach out. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are licensed professionals who will determine your specific needs as a dancer and guide you through sustainable meal planning for your demanding routine.