Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dancers Eat

I like to read about what athletes have discovered about eating for health. We are all dancers in this life!
I believe dancers should maintain a diet, which is similar to the one of any other person. Adjustments should only be made in the amounts of food, in order to fit the extra spending of energy each dancer accomplishes.

The main rule of a balanced diet with which the majority of nutritionists agree is BALANCE.

Balance means that:

1. You eat foods in the right amounts from each one of the food groups.

2. The amounts are adequate to the specific person and her/his spending of energy.

Balance is the appropriate WHAT and HOW MUCH for you. This means that the amounts of food should always be relative to your size and to the amount of energy you spend.

The following are the five main food groups, as generally recognized, and in their respective daily proportions:

- Fruits and vegetables (30%)

- Carbohydrates: found in foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes, rice or corn (30%)

- Proteins: found in meat, fish, poultry or eggs (20%)

- Milk and dairy products: like cheese or yogurt (15%)

- Fats and sugar: butter, oils, sauces and all type of candy (5%)


Here’s a selected list of tips for the dancer diet:

-Water is a necessary complement of the balanced dancer diet. Remember that being thirsty is a sign of being dehydrated already, so you should not wait until then, but drink measured amounts regularly. Drinking water is recommended before, during and after rehearsals as well as at least one glass when you wake up.

-Think ahead and plan to bring along what you need for the long days of class, rehearsal, and performance.

-Take a good breakfast, even if you don´t feel hungry when you wake up. It doesn’t have to consist of big amounts, but you should have at least a bit of each one of the main groups of food. This will help you avoid great appetite urges, dizziness or weakness later during the day.

-Include protein in every main meal. Not only this will regulate your appetite greatly, but you will assure your iron reserves (this is very important for girls, for they have monthly losses of blood during the period).

-Don’t forget: 5 serves of fruits and vegetables daily.

- If sticking to this dancer diet is too difficult for you, implement it gradually. Trying to change feeding habits in a radical way might give you too much stress and creates the risk of getting an eating disorder syndrome.

- Give yourself a small treat from time to time. It is said that the inclusion of this practice might help to gradually assume better feeding habits.

- Portion sizes: if you think you’re keeping a balanced diet, but still feel overfeed or overweight, it might be a matter of the size of your food portions. Think of 'down-sizing' everything proportionally and gradually, until you feel you have reached a healthy state.

- If you can afford medical blood and clinical tests from time to time, invest on them. Following medical advice can always be a good guide to measure your understanding and good use of the balanced dancer diet.