Good nutrition is essential to help dancers achieve ideal body composition and ensure adequate energy to support growth and fuel training. Training may last for the majority of the day and run over several meal times, so it's important to take a variety of snacks and small meals along to the studio or rehearsal venue. If there are small breaks between classes, light snacks like cereal bars, smoothies, fruit, and low-fat yogurt are ideal. If there are larger breaks during the day, sandwiches, wraps, frittatas, rice, couscous, potato, or pasta salad might be more suitable. Protein should be included in each snack to repair and maintain muscle. Protein synthesis (i.e., muscle building) occurs by consuming as little as 15 to 25 grams of complete protein (e.g., egg, dairy or soy) after exercise. There are numerous foods that offer quality, complete protein - you can learn more about them in our upcoming post about protein quality! Including healthy fats, such as the kind found in nuts and seeds, in your snacks will promote concentration and enable quick thinking during rehearsals.
Here is an example of a one-day meal plan for a day consisting of two dance classes (1.5 hours each) and an evening rehearsal (1.5 hours):
This is a basic example. Food options are customizable according to your schedule, food preferences, and tolerances. An individual meal plan requires preparation, so don’t hesitate to bulk prep on the weekends to allow for easy meal packing during your busy week of class and rehearsal.
Check back soon for more recipe ideas from Nasira!