Eating for Dance Class and Performance

Eating for Dance Class and Performance

If your energy is flagging by the end of class, you’re feeling more than a little jittery before a performance or you feel really wiped out the day after you’ve danced hard, you may want to take a look at what you are eating. Your diet directly affects not only your mood and health, but also your performance, attention span, and stamina. With wonderful weekend-long events such as ATS® ATTACKS (proudly sponsored by Dawn Ruckert and Dayanisma) coming up the weekend of August 9-11, 2019, eating well is especially critical for keeping your strength and focus and getting the most out of this phenomenal experience.

Here is a list of foods to include in your diet as well as ones to avoid. Follow these guidelines and you will be on the road to better dancing and better health as well!

  • Complex carbs are your friends! Pairing them with high quality protein sources will keep your body functioning at an optimal level and will help your muscles recover   quickly. Good choices include brown rice,  grilled salmon, carrot sticks, grapes, red peppers, bananas, peanut butter, whole grain crackers or pretzels, trail mix, and yogurt

  • Stay hydrated!!! Water is always best, but smoothies, Gatorade, and even applesauce are great. Your muscles will thank you as keeping up your water intake will help keep them pliable and ready to go

  • Avoid caffeine, soda, sugary food &drinks, and alcohol. (I know this is a tough one for a lot of us!) Caffeine can make you jittery and may amp up performance anxiety (which none of us needs boosted!) Soda can make you bloated, and sugary foods or drinks often lead to a crash in your energy levels 15 minutes after they’re consumed. And while having a drink to “take the edge off” may seem like a good idea, in reality, alcohol is a depressant, and both it and caffeine can make you more dehydrated

  • Avoid processed foods/fried foods/fast foods. They tend to be high in sodium and  may make you feel bloated, heavy, and lethargic. You may also want to avoid milk products and sorbitol as they can lead to increased gas and bloating

  • Eat several small meals the day of a performance. Don’t skip meals no matter how busy or nervous you are. Wise choices if you don’t feel like eating a lot include edamame, hummus, nuts, bananas, avocado toast – even a little bit of dark chocolate (which contains magnesium -great for your muscles!)

  • If you eat a sports or energy bar, avoid ones that are highly processed or loaded with sugar. Check nutrition labels and opt for ones that contain more natural ingredients and fewer fillers

  • Try to eat a dose of complex carbs and protein within 40 minutes after your performance or an especially rigorous dance class to help your muscles recover quickly and prevent soreness the next day. Be sure to include at least one food that is high in potassium (raisins, potatoes, bananas, tomato products, cooked spinach, yogurt are all good choices) as it is helpful in reducing anxiety and stress, as well as enhancing muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system

Have fun choosing foods that please your palate and drive your dance. And be sure to let us know if you have any particular tips on how you eat to be your best belly dance self!

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