A dancer’s guide to nutrition: what you should consume on a daily basis

Being a dancer not only means taking care of your body physically, but also controlling and monitoring what is put into the body as well. Nutrition labels inform the public of what’s in a food item, so it is always important to assess what you are consuming. Nutritional labels often go ignored or are misread. Dance Advantage gives a step-by-step guide to reading and understanding nutritional labels as well as obtaining the correct amount of nutrients each day.

When eating healthier, the first things people tend to shy away from are carbohydrates, but not all of them are bad. Many dancers shy away from carbs, but in reality they are essential for the dancer’s body. Carbohydrates provide long term energy for dancers which is useful for long practices or performance filled days. Try whole grains or vegetables rather than bagels and cookies next time you need a quick bite. Next, dancers should only consume between 12-15 percent of protein related calories. Grabbing a quick protein bar or shake is sure to do the trick. Sugars are found in almost every type of food but they often have different names. Fructose, dextrose, glucose, and lactose are a few, but there are some natural alternatives. Items such as fresh fruits, raisins, and honey all have sugars but they are better for the body.  Another way of controlling what you eat and ensuring the right items are consumed, try packing a few healthy snacks for the day instead of going out to grab something on a break.

When assessing nutritional labels be sure to read the percentage value of what is being consumed. Most numbers are based on a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet for the day. This will help you as a dancer keep track of what you are putting into the body so that you can perform at the highest levels.

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