As the big day approaches, dancer nutrition choices are very important. You need to make sure performers’ bodies are getting the right nutrition, so that they are healthy before, during, and after practice, and build muscle to come back better and stronger for the next rehearsal. On the day of recital, don’t make big changes to your eating habits! In this article we’ll talk about some best practices for dancer nutrition, especially in the 24 hours before a recital.
Eating For Performance Day: The Night Before
Staples of great dancer nutrition: lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, veggies, and PLENTY of water.
Several professional ballerinas were interviewed by Coveteur magazine, and they offered some of their favorite choices for meals and ingredients packed full of nutrients:
“Dance nutrition experts mostly agree that the best approach to performance day nutrition is eating small meals throughout the day, starting with a substantial breakfast to get your body and mind fueled and ready to go.”
They recommend a few breakfast choices like:
Oatmeal with fruit
Plain greek yogurt
Whole grain toast with peanut butter*
As far as small meals throughout the day go, it’s up to the individual dancer as to what foods they like and what kinds of foods can keep them feeling full.
Hardboiled egg or string cheese with 5-10 whole grain or rice crackers
Pre-made bar or oatrolls (see article for recipe) with fruit, dates, nuts and/or whole grains.*
(You can make a large batch of these and freeze them, then just put frozen oatrolls in his/her dance bag in the morning so by the afternoon they are thawed and yummy.)
Gluten-free or dairy free snack requirements?
Rice cakes with nut butter and a piece of fruit
Popcorn, pumpkin seeds, GF pretzels, and dried fruit trail mix
Coconut water, dark chocolate almond milk or coconut milk
*Author’s note: In past articles, readers have mentioned their concern about bringing nuts due to possible peanut or tree nut allergies among the dancers. Please be sure to consider those with nut allergies when deciding what to bring to the studio or to a performance, and remember that some severe allergies can be triggered by contact with very small amounts of the allergen.
There is no denying the chilly, winter weather! It is imperative that we teach our students how to stay warm as a dancer: by dressing smartly and warmly during the cold, extreme weather conditions.
One of my great friends, Nuala DeGeorge offered the following, great tips for how to stay warm to her students at Stage Door School of Dance in East Patchogue, New York. Please pass them on to your students, so that we can all have a happy and healthy winter dance season.
How to Wear Dance Clothes When it Is Freezing Outside
Dance class in freezing weather presents its challenges. One of those challenges is wearing proper dance attire while still keeping your body warm enough to avoid injury. Take the time to warm up. When coming in from the cold, your muscles are contracted to assist in keeping your body warm, and they need to be loosened slowly before beginning to dance. In cold weather, Layering your apparel is essential for dancers.
Things You’ll Need
Leotard, Tights, Pants, Leg warmers,
Sweater, Socks, Dance shoes.
Getting Dressed …
Start with the basic dance outfit, which is a leotard and tights.
Put a long-sleeve dance sweater or Sweatshirt on over your leotard to keep your upper body warm. If you do not have a dance sweater, any form-fitting top or sweater that allows you to use your full range of motion will do.
To keep your bottom half warm, put on a pair of leg warmers or dance pants. Pull your leg warmers all the way up so that they cover the majority of your leg.
Footwear will depend on the type of dance class you are taking. If it is a class that does not require shoes for the warm up, wear socks for the beginning of the class and take them off to avoid sliding when the dancing begins.
Tips & Warnings
Do not allow your body to overheat. Once you are moving and start to warm up, shed your outer layer. You may find that by the end of the class you are down to your leotard and tights and still sweating; however, bundle up again before going back outside in the cold.
Besides being very easy and convenient to prepare, healthy smoothie recipes also provide your body with lots of nutrients and keep you feeling full. Because of the large number of ingredients that you can use, you can easily find lots of different healthy smoothie recipes online. The main ingredients that are commonly used are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and a liquid of your choice.
This particular smoothie, which we’ve called “En Pointe,” can be drunk at any time of the day, and would be an ideal snack to have an hour or so before your dance session.
1/2 cup of frozen berries: you can either freeze the berries yourself or buy them ready frozen in store. Common berries to use are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries.
Berries are one of the best sources of vitamin C that there is. This vitamin not only helps keep your immune system in shape and helps your body absorb iron from the food that you eat, it is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that reduce free radical damage in our bodies, thereby preventing multiple different diseases.
Studies have shown that berries keep you mentally sharp, improve heart health, and assist in weight management. Even if they didn’t come with all these benefits, they just taste great!
1/4 cup of frozen mango: like berries, mangoes are high in vitamin C. They also provide your body with vitamin A, which is needed in order to maintain the health of your eyes, skin and hair.
Despite being extremely tasty, a quarter cup of mango only contains 28 calories! This is because it is made up of more than 80% water. The natural sugars that it contains will keep your feeling energized and alert.
1/2 medium banana: this fruit has got to be the most commonly used ingredient in smoothies, which is why we included it in this recipe as well. Bananas help to make smoothies nice and thick, much like a milkshake.
They also come with a number of health benefits. Bananas contain many important nutrients such as vitamin B6, copper, manganese and dietary fiber. They are often considered as being the perfect food for athletes because of their easily digested carbohydrates and mineral content. Some studies have also shown that eating bananas could help reduce muscle cramps & soreness. This is great news for dancers!
1 cup of spinach: greens are important and should be a large part of your diet. However at the same time, they aren’t always the most exciting of foods and eating them can just be plain boring.
Adding greens into smoothies is the perfect way to disguise their taste whilst at the same time making sure you are meeting your daily requirement. Look at the color of this smoothie – would you even be able to tell that there’s a whole cup of greens in it?
Spinach provides your body with a multitude of vitamins & minerals, including vitamin K and iron. In place of spinach you can use kale, Swiss chard or collard greens.
1 tablespoon of chia seeds: these black & white seeds are incredibly small, and one would wonder if they are even worth eating at all. Well, they certainly are! They provide your body with protein, dietary fiber, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
When chia seeds are introduced into liquid, they swell up and form a gel like consistency. This helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
If you don’t have chia seeds at hand, you can also use flax, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
1 cup of coconut water: and finally, you need to add in a liquid ingredient so that you can actually drink the smoothie! There are a wide range of options to choose from, including ordinary milk, nut milks, fruit juices and even plain old water.
Coconut water makes for a wonderful smoothie ingredient. Firstly, it contains natural sugars and a distinct taste which helps to enhance the flavor of the beverage. Secondly, it is a good source of electrolytes, in particular potassium and magnesium, both of which keep your heart healthy. Finally, it is super hydrating!
Super Simple Directions
To prepare this smoothie, add the coconut water to a blender followed by the rest of the ingredients. Blend well, until everything is nice and smooth. Then simply pour into a glass and enjoy! Thanks to healthsomeness.com for this awesome recipe.
Let us know how your smoothie turns out! Be sure to tag @tututix on Instagram or Twitter, or feel free to post your creation to the TutuTix Facebook page!