Healthy Nutrition For Dancers, Means Choosing The Right Foods
The dance world is one with high expectations for those involved and those who dream of one day being center stage. Healthy nutrition for dancers is essential and knowing what to eat to fuel our bodies is a must. A dancers body is a fine working machine; it needs fuel, which is food to keep it running and in top condition to handle the demands of a full schedule of dance classes. Going long periods without fueling our bodies can result in loss of muscle mass and an increase of body fat percentage. This can significantly impact our energy levels and performance, but also can lead to undesirable body composition that is susceptible to injury.
Many dancers with professional careers in mind feel they are under the demand to stay slim, but what they don’t realize is dancers eat a lot and burn a ton of calories. If they didn’t eat they couldn’t make it though a 3-hour ballet, let alone all of the rehearsals and hours of practice before they even hit the stage. Fueling our bodies when it needs fuel is one of the best things we can do to achieve and maintain a healthy body composition. Knowing a few of these tips to timing your meals and snacks will help you have more energy, endurance, stronger muscles, and help you achieve that lean dancer physique. Remember, it is all about WHAT you are eating. Stay away from foods that are high in sugar, as they will send you into a crash midway though class. Get calories from healthy whole foods and never skip out on your protein. Your muscles need protein to maintain them and to be able to handle the demands of a heavy dance schedule.
Here are some tips for dancer on proper nutrition that will help with a heavy dance schedule.
#1: Eat A Balanced Diet
Make sure that you are eating a diet that consists of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy [if you are not lactose]. As a dancer, it is essential that you get your protein intake. Protein is what keeps your muscles healthy, strong, and able to handle the demands of dance. Oatmeal is a great breakfast item to eat, add some fresh cut fruit like strawberries and you will have energy to get you through your morning and well into the afternoon.
#2: Drink A Lot Of Water
Forget those sports drinks they are all full of sugar that will cause you to crash in class. Water is the best thing to drink and it will keep you hydrated, focused, and also prevent you from getting sore muscles and cramps. If you get cramps often it is a sign that you are dehydrated, so reach for water!
#3: Stay Away From Sugar
Remember this rule of thumb, STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR. Sugary treats should be kept to a minimum and only consumed as a “treat” not added as a regular part of your diet. Sugar has the wrong effect on a dancer and will cause them to feel tired and lack energy. Instead reach for dried fruits and nuts for a healthy energy boosting snack. Whole foods are the best, as mentioned before! Load up on fruits and veggies and you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels and performance, we promise!
#4: Don’t Forget The Protein
Protein is a MUST for any dancer and should be added to any dancers diet and it’s easy to do. Add chicken, shrimp, or steak to a salad. For dinner opt for any kind of protein (chicken, steak, shrimp, pork, turkey, or fish) with veggies and you’re set.
#5: Plan Your Day
If you know you have school and then dance after for 3 classes back-to-back, be prepared. Make sure you eat something before and have a healthy snack to take with you to nibble on between classes. Look at your body as a car, without gas a car will not run. Your body is the same way. If you do not fuel your body with healthy food it will not perform for you the way you want it to, which can prevent you from advancing in your dancing. Food is your fuel, and it’s all about the choices. Fuel your body with whole good foods and it will perform well for you, fuel it with candy and junk food and it will run sluggish, you’ll have no energy, and you will often be tired.
It’s all in the food we eat, so make healthy choices and dance on! Here are some of our favorites! Yum! 🙂