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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Snacks’

5 Tips for Keeping a Dancers’ Energy Levels High

Dancers are artists, but they’re also athletes who must support their busy schedules with long-lasting energy. 

From the foods you eat to how you eat and care for your mind and body, you can develop choices that impact your energy levels. Let’s discuss five key strategies for dancers seeking high energy to get them through their day and their performances. 

Functional fuel for your diet.  

Prioritizing healthy meal balance means incorporating a source of each nutrient within your food choices, especially your snack. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are all macronutrients that are essential to a busy dancer’s diet and each provide many benefits. 

  • Carbohydrates replenish muscle and help to fuel your movement. Carbohydrates come from many foods like bread, veggies, fruits, and sweets. Be careful about the sweets you consume, while you may get a quick burst of energy, you will crash. 
  • If you’re sluggish and tired midway through class, it may be time to add more balance to your snacks. Good sources of protein and fat will help. Protein provides the minerals and nutrients vital for muscle recovery and will keep you feeling full.  
  • Feeling hungry while dancing does not help your energy levels and will leave you feeling heavy. Healthy fats will help support feeling satisfied between meals. A balanced mixed that provides protein and fat with your carbohydrates is the goal. Excellent sources of both proteins and fats include string cheese, chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, guacamole, and nut butters. 

Stay hydrated.  

Start hydrating early in the day and work to stay consistent. The first thing you should do when you wake it up is consume a large glass of water. Grab a reusable water bottle and attempt actively hydrate throughout your day.

PRO TIP: Don’t love water? Add some lemon, lime, or orange slices for flavor. This can also help with energy levels.

You can find your hydration from other sources too! While water contributes to a good portion of our fluid intake, specific foods can boost your hydration levels. Make a yummy salad or pack some snacks to munch on throug the day. Some things to include: 

  • Tomatoes 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Celery 
  • Apples 
  • Watermelon 
  • Peaches 
  • Grapes 

Focus on meal timing.  

Dancers often know what foods are best for fueling their busy day, but many need help with timing, especially when it comes to snacking. When someone eats is just as important as what they eat. Going for long periods without properly fueling can affect energy levels and performance, and can leave dancers susceptible to injury. 

Regular meals and snacks will help to keep your energy up without causing you to feel sluggish while dancing. Create a plan to scatter your meals and snacks into five or six eating times through the day.

Get quality rest.  

Research shows that when athletes and dancers aren’t getting adequate sleep, coordination and balance suffer, leading to an increased potential for injury. In addition, your immune system is weakened, increasing your chances of getting sick. In a recent study, lack of sleep was shown to adversely affect reaction time and the ability to make quick decisions.  

It can be challenging to get adequate sleep as a busy dancer. Especially when working around a rigorous training and competition schedule. Some ways dancers can improve sleep quality include:  

  • Optimizing your sleep environment – Your bedroom should be a peaceful sanctuary, especially after a long day of school and dance. Keep it uncluttered and ensure it’s dark and cool; studies show optimal sleep temperatures are between 62 and 68 degrees.  
  • Stick to a schedule – Maintaining a consistent agenda can be challenging. However, finding consistency in sleep times can lead to a better night’s sleep.  
  • Create a relaxing nighttime routine – A soothing bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare your body and mind for sleep. Some things you can do include meditation-style breathing techniques, reading, journaling, or soaking in a warm bath.  
  • Limit electronics – Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops emit blue light, interfering with our natural circadian rhythm. Avoiding screens before bed can help active dancers fall asleep faster and rest deeper.

Reevaluate your caffeine intake.

Too much caffeine can impact sleep and leave you feeling anxious and jittery. Aim for no more than two cups of coffee per day. Since caffeine is present in other foods and drinks, be mindful of caffeinated teas, sodas, and even chocolate intake.

Like warming up, proper nutrition and health management are vital to mastering your craft and keeping your energy high. Educating our dancers on how to improve their energy and longevity will set everyone up for success! Keeping our dancers mentally and physically healthy is extremely important at EDC. For more dance tips and essential class information, follow our informative blog and social media. 

A Dancer’s Ultimate Snack List Guide

Dancers are artistic athletes who use their bodies to tell a story and express their art through movement.

So, it’s crucial that they keep this essential tool in top shape by eating the right foods. Dance uses up a lot of energy and burns many calories, making what your dancers eat imperative in helping them master their art.

Certain foods give dancers’ bodies the nutrients they need at specific times. These foods help them perform at the highest levels and will help them recover from an intense class or a long day at a competition. Dancers must have the nutrition they need to perform their best, both in class and on stage. Want to make sure your dancer is snacking smart? Keep reading for the dancer’s ultimate snack list.

Hydration is key.

Hydration is just as important as healthy food choices! Dancers need to stay hydrated to help them push through classes or tough competitions and keep their muscles lubricated and bodies flexible. Dancers need to drink plenty of water before, during, and after dancing.

EDC dancer Lexi Deffinbaugh explains more, “The foods I eat are super important for a competition weekend and really for my entire dance week. I start drinking extra water two days before a competition to make sure I am really hydrated. That is a big thing for me. As for snacks and food, I eat a lot of nuts, yogurt, eggs, and fruit. Fruit is my favorite! Most of the time, I eat fruit for dessert instead of sweets. Sometimes sugar hurts my stomach, so I don’t eat a lot of it. My food makes a big difference to me. I can feel it easily if I don’t eat right, and it doesn’t feel good. So, I try hard to eat healthy foods.”

Plenty of water paired with healthy snacks will set dancers up for success!

Timing is everything.

Dancers often know what foods are healthy and best for fueling their busy day, but many struggle with timing, especially with snacks. When a dancer eats can be just as important as what they eat. Going for long periods without fueling properly can affect performance and energy levels and increase a dancer’s susceptibility to injury.

Dancers should keep a few snacks in their dance bag. Being prepared for mid-day classes or a long day of rehearsal is a great way to make sure they are dancing their best and simultaneously taking care of their bodies.

[Want to know what’s in some of the top-performing dancers’ bags? Click here!]

Before class snacks. 

Dancers should never work on an empty stomach, so if snack time falls within 30-60 minutes before dancing, then consider an easily digestible carbohydrate to maintain your physical stamina. These snacks should be lower in fiber. Pretzels and fresh fruit are examples of smaller, easily digestible carbs that won’t leave your dancer feeling sluggish. Some other examples include:

  • Dried or fresh fruit.
  • Applesauce or a fruit smoothie pack.
  • Homemade protein-packed “energy balls.”
  • Apple and peanut butter.
  • A fruit-based snack bar.

During class snacks. 

If your dancer needs a snack in the middle of a long practice, rehearsal, or competition day. Here is a list of low-calorie snacks that are great for your dancers to keep in their dance bag:

  • Mini pretzels.
  • Seedless grapes.
  • Low-fat yogurt.
  • Graham crackers.
  • String cheese.
  • A small amount of microwave popcorn.
  • Red pepper slices with some hummus.
  • Carrots with ranch for dipping.
  • Almonds or peanuts.

If there is little time between school and dance class, for example, getting an energy boost from snacks such as low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, granola bars, fresh fruit, or cheese are simple options. Something is better than nothing!

After class snacks. 

Snacks after class should be rich in protein. Once dancers leave the studio, they need to start to rebuild and replenish muscle. To aid in the recovery process, implement a quality strategy of protein to carbohydrate ratio. The protein will help rebuild the muscle tissue that was damaged while dancing and the carbs replace the energy used during class.

The after-class snack should be timed anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour after class ends. Muscle recovery is significant for dancers who are taking classes multiple days during the week. Here are some snack ideas for dancers to have after class:

  • Peanut butter on a rice cake.
  • A fruit and protein smoothie.
  • Cottage cheese with some whole-grain cereal.
  • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • An apple and a few sticks of string cheese.

[Need more tips on keeping your dancers’ body in shape? Click here!]

Just like warming up or taking lessons, proper nutrition is key to mastering your craft. Educating our dancers on how nutrition can improve their skills and longevity will set everyone up for success!

Keeping our dancers mentally and physically healthy is extremely important to us at EDC. For more dance tips and essential class information, be sure to follow our informative blog and on social media.

Photo Feature: Lexi Deffinbaugh (Dancer/Model)

With a proper balance of eating well, hydrating often, and conditioning daily, our EDC dance athletes are able to perform above and beyond!

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