Your Little Ballerina's Diet Guide
Has your dancer ever complained about feeling tired during class? Maybe your dancer has even said that they can't seem to focus while dancing.
Finding a balanced ballet diet that is healthy and fuels the body of a dancer can feel like a daunting task. It is even harder than those leaps and pirouettes, they are doing in dance class.
Eating the right foods helps ballerinas perform at their best. Here is a quick crash course on the best diet for your dancer!
It's All About Balance
Here is a good rule of thumb, a good diet for your dancer consists of three major food groups. Complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It should look something like 55% complex carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 25% fats.
Complex carbohydrates are mainly used as an energy source. You can find complex carbohydrates in foods like vegetables, whole grains, and peas. You can also find these carbohydrates in things such as potatoes and corn.
Protein is extremely important for building muscles while helping to sustain your energy. The products that will have the most protein in them are typically animal products. Products like chicken, beef, or turkey. You will also find protein in nuts and legumes.
Black beans, tofu, and hard-boiled eggs can also be a great source of lean protein.
Fat can be very good for a dancer. Some foods that contain a lot of fat and are considered healthy are avocados, cheese, eggs, nuts, and fish.
All three of these essential ingredients are considered macronutrients which are essential for building muscle mass.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that these are all guidelines and what works for other dancers in the class may not work for your dancer. Find what makes your dance feel most filled and energetic.
When To Eat What?
Now that we understand the ingredients that are going to make up our meals, let's talk about when it is going to be most beneficial to consume specific foods.
Before You Start Dancing
Performing your best during class starts long before you get to the studio. You will hear a lot of nutritionists say that a lot of dancers tend to under-eat. When you under-fuel your body, getting through class is going to be hard.
Having a hearty breakfast is what fuels the body for the day. So having a full glass of water and a substantial breakfast with a lot of protein is essential.
About three or four hours before class your dancer should be having foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, and some fat. That typically means an early dinner or a really good snack.
Hungry During Class?
If hunger strikes your dancer in the middle of class or a long day of rehearsal at the studio the goal is to have a snack packed that is quick and can also replace sodium that is being lost while sweating. Pack things like fruit-and-nut bars, cheese sticks, and pretzels.
Don't forget! Staying hydrated is the most important part of a dancer's diet. No matter if they are dancing a lot or not. Your dancer needs to stay hydrated. A lot of nutritionists recommend purchasing a one-liter water bottle and drinking 2-3 bottles a day.
When You Get Home
Dancer's muscles are constantly undergoing a lot of strain. Stretching and moving constantly. So after class, it is important to eat something that is not hard to digest, but something that will let your body rest and recuperate. Dinner should have a lot of protein in it with more fats to hold you over.
Having a pre-bed snack is normal because a dancer's body needs a lot of nutrition. Things like yogurt or hummus and veggies. Apples and peanut butter are a great snack.
Ballet Diet Plan
Right about now, you might still be feeling like you need a bit more direction about what a normal day of eating looks like for your dancer.
So here is an example of what a day full of high-quality food looks like as stated by nutritionists,
It is imperative to start your day off with a lot of water! For food, having some Greek yogurt with whole-grain toast and peanut butter, and a banana will fuel your body for the day!
If your dancer is not a big breakfast person, let them have something smaller like fruit.
For lunch, having a sandwich with protein is a great way to power up. So a chicken or turkey sandwich. Add some raw or cooked veggies on the side and your dancer will be re-energized.
Apples and peanut butter or nuts are always a great snack. Or rice and some vegetables.
If dance class is coming up directly after school, you can have dinner early to ensure your dancer is filled for the night! Say there is a few hours before class, you can eat dinner after and have a great snack beforehand.
A great option for dinner includes a turkey sandwich with apples and peanut butter. Or, consider a rice bowl with protein and vegetables in it.
Greek yogurt and berries, hummus and veggies or crackers are a nice easy snack that helps the body recuperate after a long day.
Don't forget to keep drinking water! The whole day your dancer should be getting six ounces of water for every 15 minutes of activity a day.
Another pro-tip, if your dancer is feeling sore or tight, ginger can provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Dance Your Heart Out
Everything in moderation right? Even on a ballet diet, dancers can have their pizza and treats. As long as the majority of the dancer's diet is complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to sustain them during a dance rehearsal. Oh and don't forget to hydrate!
Now if you are looking to up-level your dancer's wardrobe while you create a better diet for them, Stelle is where you can shop till you drop. Stelle's offers a community for dancers as well to help dancers achieve their dreams.
Come shop our activewear, dancewear, and all of the other dance necessities.