What dancers eat…dancers are athletes and they need food to perform
There are two ways that a dancer might approach their diet: the positive, and the negative. I’d like to think that the negative approach, the one based on denial, in which ethereal beings in net tulle shouldn’t and don’t need calories, is on its way out. We’ve heard the story lots of times so let’s not tell it here.
The positive approach is so much more fun. Dancers are atheletes and their bodies need fuel. When you eat, you’re powering your machine: you’re doing good! No complexes, no hang-ups, no guilt. It’s a win-win thing: you enjoy, and your body thanks you for it.
All you need is the know-how to fuel it right. And we all know good nutrition, right? Er, no. We think we do. That’s why there’s a whole diet industry out there to play on our ignorance and nutritional failings.
Thankfully there are also kindly nutritionists, who train for nearly as many years as a vet to get to grips with the science of what our bodies need to work at their optimum. One such specialist, who qualified after dancing professionally herself, gives us some of her Top Tips:
Actively cultivate that positive relationship with food
You might have to work at it at first to get rid of your food-equals-guilt mindset, but the payback is tremendous. Don’t see your food as calories on the plate. It helps to…
Know the jobs the various nutrients do and then you know exactly how you’re helping your body. Read our lowdown on carbs, fats and proteins here.
Dancers should aim for 60% of their calories to come from carbohydrates, 12–15% from protein, and 20–30% from fat.
You need to eat more than you think (you probably are anyway)
You’ll be surprised! Find out exactly how much and how often here.
Adding an aerobic type of exercise to the dancers normal routine once or twice a week will increase overall cardiovascular fitness including strength, power, and metabolism.
Stay hydrated. If you don’t like plain water, add a splash of citrus or juice. Avoid caffeine type drinks as these will dehydrate you. If you can, sip water in class and rehearsal. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Snack healthily on fresh fruit and veg, rice cakes, plain low fat yogurt (not fat-free), unsalted nuts/seeds, raisins, dried apricots, breadsticks, whole grain rolls. Enjoy!