10 tips: Nutritional Education Series – Making healthy food choices from dancehealthier!
- Don’t forget about Dairy– Dancers need strong bones. Depending on your intake, on occasion, eating lower fat dairy products may be wise (however, absolutely not necessary) due to dairies high saturated fat content. Low-fat dairy products contain the same amount of calcium and essential nutrients but contain less saturated fats. However, watch for added hormones, preservatives, and antibiotics, or added sugar (plain yogurt + whole banana + flax seed). Moderation is the key. Another option is to eat Greek yogurt.
- Drink lots of Water – Goal, 8 cups a day. Before, during and after dance. As a dancer we need to drink more water because we sweat more than the non-dancer.
- Foods to eat less often – Processed foods (they contain unpronounceable ingredients, and are high in sugars/sodium/and often times saturated fats). Also moderate desserts and treats. Remember, too much or too little of anything creates bad eating habits. But desserts are ok to eat in moderation! Yum!
- Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables – Why not half? Choose colors and make your plate pretty. Red, orange, dark-green, yellow. Be sure to add them in creatively.
- Mix it up with plant protein – Very key for the life of an active dancer. Variety is helpful, beneficial and yummy too. Choose beans (pinto, black, white, red beans, split peas), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggies, burgers, soy/almond dairy products), nuts, dried fruit, almond milk.
- Balance Meals – Every dancer is different, which is an ever so wonderful thing. Finding out how to balance YOUR specific plate is the first step to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember that eating healthy foods, eating in moderation (not omitting, or overeating), & eating consistently (not binging or fasting) are all healthy and ideal habits for a dancer to instill and maintain.
- Power up with protein – Protein is essential in building and repairing muscles. Choose lean, low in fat cuts of beef, chicken meat, and turkey. Limit your seafood to twice a week and also remember, quality protein sources come from plant-based foods too. Eggs count too!
- Eat healthy foods – Eating healthy foods will absolutely make you crave the healthy foods, and less of the high fat/sugar/sodium foods naturally (Whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables). It’s important for peak performance to acquire the essential macronutrients, minerals and vitamins from these foods to energize your body efficiently. Be sure to make your plates colorful.
- Energize with grains– At least half whole-grain/wheat. Examples: 100% whole grain/wheat, brown rice, and other whole grains (pastas, quinoa, cereals, crackers).
- Reach your goals – As dancers we want to be at peak performance. Treating your body with respect by giving it proper healthy foods, eating in moderation, and knowing what foods can benefit you the most is the key to your success.