Dancers spend many hours in class and rehearsals getting ready for a performance, they often overlook a very important detail on show day: a healthy food plan. Just as you would do a pre-show warm up to prepare your muscles to dance, you also need to do planned snacks and meals to ensure you have enough fuel to make it through the performance. The last thing you want to be worried about on stage is feeling hungry, bloated or over caffeinated. You can check out some of our healthy eating tips below to guarantee you have your best performance on stage.
Timing: When is the best time to eat? Many times we are so busy the day of the show rehearsing and getting ready, we barely find time to eat. The next thing you know it is 30 minutes before the show and you are starving. At this point you are likely to over eat and feel bloated and heavy while performing.
Avoid this by eating small meals every 2-3 hours through out the day. This takes planning since you will need to have said snacks with you. Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates with a little bit of protein and fat will fuel your body with what you need to sustain a full length performance. It is important to eat your last meal 2-3 hours before the show so you have time to digest. If you feel you need more energy before, you can munch on something light that won’t bother your stomach.
Hydration: Before a performance it is important to be hydrating through out the day. The stage lights and nerves can cause you to sweat more than you are accustomed to, which can cause dehydration very quickly. If you do become dehydrated it can lead to muscle cramping and dizziness.
Be careful not to gulp down too much water at one time. You don’t want it sloshing in your stomach while you are trying to dance. Take small sips through out the day as often as you can until about 45 minutes to curtain. Then just take sips when going off stage during the show.
Not Eating Before a Show: The worst thing you can do is not fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to make it through a demanding performance. Eating unsalted nuts, and water filled fruit like watermelon and grapes will help to give you energy without making you feel bloated.
Before the Show Meals:
Quinoa mixed with spinach, tomatoes, green onion and parsley
A Cup of Pasta with a light sauce and roasted vegetables
Roasted Sweet Potato with Sauteed Broccoli
Back Stage Snacks:
Cheese and Crackers
Apples with your favorite nut butter
Homemade Trail Mix with nuts and dark chocolate