A dancer's body relies on nourishing meals and snacks to fuel movement. When fueling for performance, dancers can implement the principles of performance nutrition to optimize their food intake. The focus is not on body weight goals, health rules, or caloric goals. Instead of making food choices based on what’s “good” or “healthy”, dancers should make choices that promote not just their physical health, but also their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Food rules encompass any definitive, authoritarian ban that you or someone else (maybe even a health professional) has placed upon a specific type of food, food group, or eating behavior. Contrary to this, food freedom allows for the unconditional permission to eat all foods that we enjoy and all foods that make us feel good! Here are 3 quick tips from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for dancers to begin rebuilding your relationship with your plate:
Stick to a flexible routine. Make time for yourself to have your meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Include snacks in between! Click here to learn more about flexible eating routines.
Build a mindful eating experience: sit down, close the screens, set the table, use a plate, and serve with utensils. Click here to learn more about mindful eating for dancers.
Start tuning into the hunger scale/fullness scale. Ask yourself: are you physically hungry or are you bored and looking for a way to pass time? Remember: food might be a quick distraction, but it’s not a long-term solution. Click here to learn more about hunger and fullness.
Rachel Fine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in nutrition for dancers. Rachel’s mission is to provide certified nutrition education to dancers of all ages and levels, combining her expertise in Performance Nutrition for Dancers with a non-diet approach to eating. Because of the vulnerable nature of dancers to perfectionism, disordered eating, and eating disorders, it’s critical that dancers, dance educators, and dance parents rely on sound sources for nutrition-, weight- and lifestyle-related education. Seeking support from a credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) or Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LD or LDN) is recommended.