People often think that dancers must hardly eat anything to stay so thin and in shape. But this is very much not the case! A good dancer knows they need to eat a balanced diet with the right foods in it to give them the energy and stamina they need. So what are the most dancer-friendly foods and tips for solid eating habits?
Breakfast – oats
A favourite breakfast for a dancer is oats. That’s because they are a slow releasing energy food, so you get a longer, slower boost than you would with sugar-rich foods which give a short, sharp boost. Homemade porridge is a great dancers’ breakfast with things like honey, berries and pumpkin seeds in it. You can also make your own granola bars for a slight sugar hit but also a longer lasting result with rolled oats and things like peanut butter. Aim to eat your breakfast at least 90 minutes before starting exercise.
Snacks – nuts and seeds
Muscles need protein to remain strong and this is crucial for a dancer. Therefore, your snacks should aim to be helping this. Natural, unsalted nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and almonds are ideal for dangers and if you crave something a little sweeter, a spoonful of peanut butter is okay – just make sure it doesn’t have any hydrogenated fats in it. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds are also great for snacks.
Light meals – fruit
Dried fruits can be a great option for a dancer. While they have water removed, they give slightly more calories than fresh fruit and have a higher vitamin percentage. Favourites include dried apricots, pineapples and raisins while dried coconut adds a creamy flavour.
Smoothies can also be important for dancers as they help with hydration levels as well as other benefits. Banana-based smoothies are ideal as they contain potassium, make you feel full and give you energy. You can also add some hydration powder to your drink if you feel your electrolyte levels are a bit low. Just remember the sugar levels in fruit!
Main meal – fish
Fish contains Omega 3 good fats as well as protein and is important to build lean muscles. Oily fish like salmon top the dancer’s list while others love sushi and can add some extra carbs in the form of rice for those more active days.
Alongside the fish, you want to add some greens. Spinach is low in fat and iron to help promote healthy blood cells. These transport oxygen around the body and ensure your entire system works properly. You can also use greens in light meals or even in smoothies.
Sweet treat – chocolate
It may sound crazy, but chocolate is your friend as a dancer when eaten in moderation. You need the energy to dance and when you are feeling a little down on it, chocolate is a quick and tasty way to restore those levels. Dark chocolate is also the healthier of the different types and has a number of additional benefits. Just keep an eye on your overall calorie levels during the day.