Dancing is an intensely athletic activity, and like all athletes, dancers should eat healthy, balanced diets. There are some foods, sometimes referred to as "super foods," that help boost energy throughout the day. Although many people rely on caffeine and refined sugar for energy, dancers should avoid anything that causes dehydration or that can cause a blood sugar crash later on and instead drink plenty of water and aim to have at least one super foods every day. Super foods provide real, lasting energy and will help you focus on what you love to do.
Doctors have been raving about sweet potatoes this year because they're full of vitamins C and E and also fat-free. They also have a healthy dose of beta carotene (a potent antioxidant) and iron, which helps you keep your muscles oxygenated. Plus, they taste great. To keep them low in fat, use a small amount of extra virgin olive oil when you make them.
Dairy in general has lots of calcium, which is especially important for dancers because they're using their bones and muscles so vigorously. The reason yogurt is preferable to other forms of calcium is that it has lots of live cultures that help your digestive tract stay healthy and clean, also helping you absorb nutrients more fully. It also has lots of B-12, which keeps you energized throughout your dance workout.
Another popular super food, blueberries have one of the highest nutrient contents of any fruit. With antioxidants and more vitamin C than oranges, they also have fiber, which provides lasting energy and is healthy for your digestion. Tip: Put half a cup of blueberries into your yogurt and enjoy these two super foods for breakfast or for a healthy snack before you dance.
Fish is preferable to red meat for dancers because the fat content is a healthier kind of fat: It's full of omega 3 fatty acids. Although sometimes dancers think they should avoid all fat, salmon is actually an excellent choice for athletes because it has protein, vitamin B12, iron, and the fats have actually been shown to reduce heart disease. Salmon gives you a wonderful energy boost that can last for hours, and it's a light enough meat that even if you have it half an hour before dancing, you won't feel weighed down.