Diet for Dancers
What’s the “ideal” diet for dancers?
This is a super common question and something I hear from dancers regularly. “Can you tell me exactly what to eat to reach my goals?” It’s helpful to consider this good news: there’s no one-size fits all, perfect diet for dancers.
You’re an individual. Let that information allow you the freedom to figure out the best eating plan for your unique body and needs. It doesn’t matter how your friends, or siblings, or parents eat. It matters that you find a way of eating that works for you.
When you’re eating in the best way possible for YOU, here are some things you’ll notice…
- You have high and stable energy levels.
- You’re never feeling ravenous or restricted.
- You’re not experiencing anxiety or guilt around food choices.
- You’re including protein, carbohydrates, and fat throughout the day.
- You’re not experiencing any significant fluctuations in weight.
- You don’t experience severe PMS symptoms or periods.
- No major cravings.
What works is going to change over time. You have to be adaptable and willing to evolve as your needs shift. This requires staying super tuned into your body.
General healthy eating principles dancers should consider.
Include whole foods, avoid processed foods, and eat lots of plants. Incorporating lots of whole-plant foods will boost immunity, bone health, and build muscle.
As a dancer, you’re also an athlete. Think about protein. If you’re vegan, you can get enough protein but you may need to be somewhat more intentional than your animal eating counterparts. Don’t obsess. Include diverse sources of protein to get all the amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and they play an important role in body functions.
Lysine is the most commonly missing amino acid in a vegan diet so you may require supplementation. Nutritional Yeast is a vegan food product that includes all 9 essential amino acids. If you find you’re consistently struggling to feel satisfied by your meals, you might consider incorporating some animal sources of protein.
If you’re concerned, ask your doctor to check your vitamin levels with a blood test. This is the most accurate way to determine if you’re getting what you need.
Bone density is established in your teens and early 20’s. When you’re young, anything restrictive can compromise healthy growth and peak bone mass. If you’re not adequately fueling, you’re more susceptible to injury.
Add in more healthy foods to “crowd-out” less healthy things.
There’s still room for indulgences like cookies, ice cream, and cake. Think about how you can incorporate “treats” or “indulgent foods” without getting obsessed or being too extreme. The extremes with food tend to lead to unhealthy approaches to reaching your goals.
You have to allow indulgences. When you’re restrictive, it backfires most of the time. My career and dance journey was riddled with injury and weight fluctuations. It all stemmed from an extreme view of what was ok to eat and what should be avoided. I labeled everything as good or bad and that led to major food anxiety, guilt, and even binge eating.
The best diet for dancers is health-conscious, balanced (whatever that means to you), and supports not just your dancing but your life beyond dance. Retired dancers who experience the greatest level of physical distress and weight gain after dancing are usually the ones who were in a state of deprivation while they were dancing.
Achieve your best body with a healthy, balanced, sustainable approach.
To establish a healthy diet as a dancer, consider The Dancers’ Best Body Course and Group Coaching Program.
For full program details visit this page: https://www.thewholedancer.com/best-body-program/
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Diet for Dancers was originally published in August of 2018
Diet for Dancers was updated and re-posted in August of 2021