Ever wonder what you should be eating before, during, and after a dance class? You have come to the right place! Proper nutrition can be a difficult thing to figure out, especially when you have to maintain energy for endurance during long classes or rehearsals. Foods that are high in protein will help you maintain energy and recover from a long day. Dancers are always working to improve, so choosing the right food to fuel the body is a great way to stay energized and healthy.
If you're wondering what to drink during a dance class to stay hydrated, it's simple ... water. You may have heard that drinking sports drinks during class can help a person stay hydrated, but the jury is still out on whether or not it's doing anything positive for you. The amount of sugar in sports drinks can create an eventual decrease in energy - the opposite effect of what you were seeking. The phrase "food coma" is not just a phrase - it's a real feeling! When you eat or drink foods high in refined sugar, your body will have a very short period of energy and then your energy will dwindle. Your body also requires water to process sugar, so after that Gatorade, you'll have to drink more water anyway to make up for water lost from digestion. An alternative to sugary sports drinks is coconut water (unrefined and coldpressed, never heated). Coconut water does not have protien but is known for replenishing electrolights. Drink this before and after for maxium replenishment!
Before Class: The time of day you are taking class will have an effect on what you are eating. The most important thing to be aware of is eating foods that will do good for your body. For breakfast, oatmeal is a wonderful option. Oatmeal is rich in healthy carbohydrates and will keep you fuller for longer. Your body will take longer to digest them because they are complex carbohydrates. My favorite kind of oatmeal to buy is the plain kind, not flavored with brown sugar or cinnamon. Choose the style of oats you like such as old fashioned, instant, rolled, or steel cut oats. So, you have your carbohydrate, now you need protien. Adding raw nuts is a great option, and so is peanut butter or almond butter. Also, fruit is always a good option when choosing oatmeal toppings; the possibilites are endless!
Another breakfast that I love is eggs! They're simple, yet offer so many positive benefits. Eggs are a protien-based food that pairs well with just about anything. Keeping the protien and carbohydrate mentality, you need something to go with your eggs. A whole wheat or Ezikeil bread is a great option, they deliver essential vitamins, help control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and support easier digestion becasue of the fiber. I love adding smashed avocado to my toast. Avocado has a higher fat content but it is "good fat" that supports healthy looking skin, nails, and keeps you fuller for longer.
During rehearsal or class: You are not going to want anything huge because you don't want feel too full in class. Some of our favorite snack options are as simple as veggies and hummus, a banana, raw nuts, fruit, or a protein bar. Along with your snacks make sure you are staying hydrated!
After class: If you're finished with class around dinner time, make sure to eat a nice nutritious meal for your tired muscles! Several of us at Allegro like to finish off our day with a smaller meal such as baked chicken or fish (lean protien), some brown rice (healthy carbohydrate), and vegetables.
We hope you could find this helpful, these are only suggestions to be used how you like. This blog post was written by Sam from Allegro Barrington. Sam is a dancer, foodie, and nutrition lover, who also has her own blog called gracefullysam. Happy dancing!