Dance uses up a lot of energy and burns a lot of calories, making what your dancers eat super important in helping them master their art.
Certain foods give dancers’ bodies the nutrients they need at specific times. These foods help them perform at high levels and can help them recover from an intense class or long rehearsal.
Prep your families with snack suggestions that will give their dancers the nutrition they need to perform their best, both in class and on stage.
Timing is everything
When a dancer eats can be just as important as what they eat. Going for long periods of time without fueling can affect energy levels and performance, as well as increase a dancer’s susceptibility to injury.
Keep the H20 coming!
Hydration is just as important as nutrition! Dancers should stay hydrated to help them push through classes and rehearsals. Remind your dancers to drink plenty of water before, during, and after dance.
Water paired with a healthy snack sets dancers up for success!
Healthy snacks under 100 calories
Dancers should keep a few snacks in their dance bag. Being prepared for afternoon classes or a long day of rehearsal is a great way to make sure they are dancing their best and taking care of their bodies at the same time.
Here is a list of snacks under 100 calories that are great for your dancers to keep in their dance bag:
- ½ plain whole wheat bagel
- 2 fig type cookies
- 20 mini-pretzels
- 1 large orange (2 Clementines)
- 1.5 slices of wheat bread
- 1 medium banana
- ½ banana with 2 tsp of peanut butter spread on it
- 1 large grapefruit
- 1 large apple
- ½ cantaloupe with large spoonful of whipped topping
- 3 small peaches
- 25 seedless grapes
- ½ cup sweetened applesauce with ¼ cup berries
- 6 oz low fat yogurt (120 cal)
- ½ cup (4oz) ice cream (110 cal)
- 4 squares of graham crackers
- 20 yogurt raisins
- 1 piece string cheese and 5 crackers
- ½ cup cottage cheese with ¼ cup fruit
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 5 dried apricots
- 1.5 cups regular microwave popcorn
- 1 cup sweet red pepper slices with 3 tbs hummus
- 1 cup baby carrots with 1.5 tbs of ranch dressing
- 0.5 cups white rice with 10 edamame and soy sauce
- 12 almonds
- 20 peanuts
- 5 Triscuits
If you would like to help your students with estimations for caloric intake, you can use the Center for Dance Nutrition website.
We compiled a list of snacks for dancers to make it easy for you to share with your dancers. Download and share!
What should dancers eat before class?
Knowing that timing is important, snacks before class should be energy rich! Dancers heading into their first class of many need to be fueled up with maximum energy.
The key to feeling ready for a few hours of dance is a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. The carbs provide energy for dancing at top levels and the protein fights off hunger.
Before class snacks should be timed anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours before class starts.
Easy snacks for before class
Dancers should never start class on an empty stomach! Here are some great snack ideas for dancers to have before class:
- Large apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 cup cooked steel-cut oats with 1 ounce shaved almonds
- Whole-grain waffle with 1 tablespoon almond butter
If there is little time between school and dance class for example, getting an energy boost from snacks such as low-fat yogurt, granola bars, peanut butter, whole wheat bread or crackers, fresh fruit, or cheese are easy options as well. Something is better than nothing!
If there is more time for a dancer to eat a meal before class, light soup or salad are good choices.
What should dancers eat after class?
Snacks after class should be rich in protein! Once dancers leave the studio, they need to start to rebuild and replenish muscle mass.
To aid in the recovery process, use a 2:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates. The protein will help rebuild the muscle tissue that became damaged while dancing and the carbs replace some of the energy used during class.
The after class snack should be timed anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour after class ends.
Simple snacks for after class
Muscle recovery is especially important for dancers who are taking classes multiple days each week. Here are some snack ideas for dancers to have after class:
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter on brown rice cake
- 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese with ½ cup whole grain cereal + 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 medium apple and 2 sticks low-fat string cheese
Educating your families on how nutrition can improve their dancer’s longevity sets everyone up for success!