With the intense work ethic and physical fitness required of dancers, a healthy diet is vital. Not only can a healthy diet fuel your body, it gives your brain the ability to power through intricate choreography.
That said, if you’re not used to eating well, it can be hard to know where to start. Plus, when all of your days are spent rehearsing and learning new dances, how do you even find the time? Lucky for you, that’s no longer an issue. We’ve compiled some of the most important info you need to know when it comes to the dancer’s diet.
First off, hydration is key. That’s why any dancer should begin their day with a tall glass of water. Try putting one at your bedside table the night before. That way, you’ll wake up rearing and ready to go the next morning.
According to Dance America, a dancer’s diet should consist of 50 to 65 percent carbohydrates. Carbs help bring back the energy you burn while dancing throughout the day. One great source of carbohydrates is oatmeal as oats are naturally gluten-free and contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Top off your oatmeal with an assortment of carbohydrate rich berries and you’re good to go.
Lunch is the perfect chance to recharge and replenish your muscles after a sweaty morning session. To give your muscles the nutrients that they need, make sure to eat plenty of protein, without going overboard. Protein helps to maintain and restore muscle fibers that are naturally torn during workouts.
Try making a bowl with a base of healthy grains like quinoa or brown rice. Then, fill it up with lean protein such as fish or tempeh. Top it off with veggies and a homemade sauce of hummus or soy sauce, and you have yourself a super balanced meal.
Now comes that time of the day where you need a healthy pick me up, but it’s not quite time for dinner. To tied yourself over, fill up on healthy fats. Although dancers tend to shy away from fats, this vital nutrient can significantly improve your performance levels when consumed in proper amounts.
Perhaps the number one healthy and satisfying fat out there is avocado. Chop one up and drizzle it in balsamic glaze and olive oil. If avocado isn’t your style, try making your own chia seed pudding or eat a handful of nuts.
According to Dance Academy USA, dinner is when a dancer typically gets the bulk of their calories. As such, a dancer’s dinner should consist of an average of 650-750 calories. Often, a big and nutrient dense salad will do the trick. Pick a hardier base of spinach or kale and top it off with protein, dried berries, nuts, and whatever else your heart desires.
To assure that you consume the necessary amount of carbohydrates, bulk up your salad with more healthy grains like faro or barley. Or if you prefer, eat a piece of toast on the side of your meal.
While healthy eating is incredibly important for a dancer, make sure not to let thoughts of food consume you. If you or someone you know is experiencing disordered eating, consider contacting an eating disorder health line or specialist.