Friday, 19 June 2015

Food tips for dancers

I had a banana, peanut butter and date sandwich for breakfast and it was rather yummy. More interestingly it sustained me for the whole morning and well into the afternoon. That made me think about dance food. I can’t think of a better day to write this post.  It's  Ramadan for Muslims around the world .The first food that is eaten to break the fast each day is that great super food the date. Feeding the body with much needed energy.

It is always important to eat well and it is particularly important for those who require physical activity and concentration. That of course includes dancers. They need to eat well to replenish all the energy that they use up. However, foods that feed our body with energy and other vital nutrients require a little bit of understanding. Making the right food choices is not always easy.

So here are some tips for you as dancers to consider:-

Try to eat little and often.  It helps to keep your fire burning. It eliminates hunger pangs. It also stops you feeling sluggish which also happens if you eat too much in one sitting. It keeps you sustained.

2 Choose foods which are filling, healthy and unprocessed. Not only will that help keep you sustained, it will also supply the nutrients that build up muscle and bone strength and keep those organs working properly. In Hindu culture it is sometimes referred to as a "cleaner diet". The body then can then process nutrients from these foods more efficiently and transport the nutrients to the parts of the body where they are needed. Such a diet helps dancers to mobilise their bodies to the fullest extent possible.   After all, your body is your temple. It enables you to undertake the rigorous training that a dancer has to undergo.

3 Try to eat foods that fit your mood.  This is a rather important part of eating for anybody. Getting In tune with your body helps you make better food choices. Mood is usually an indicator that the body needs more of one nutrient than another. I was craving for some fish the other evening. I needed protein as I had not eaten any that day. Although it’s not only fish that gives us protein my body has become used to getting its protein from fish. Protein needs replenishing every day as the body can not store it. Protein builds and repairs tissues in the body which is very much needed for dancers. By no means are they the only benefits too.

4 Cook your food healthily. Steam or grill your food or even eat it raw. Think about what you desire to eat and visualise it your plate. Colour, texture and indeed taste helps are bodies to relax when eating and fully to enjoy the experience.  In terms of pleasure savouring well cooked food is not far removed from watching a dance performance. It is like appreciating the choreography and construction of the performance together with the lighting used and costumes worn and indeed how these costumes move on the dancers as they perform their piece to bring it all together.

So why eat dates?

Firstly dates are a super food as they have many nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Dates give dancers a boost of energy  as they contain natural sugars and are easy to carry around.  They are free from cholesterol and contain very little fat. They are a good source of fibre to help maintain your digestive system and avoid bloating. They have both soluble and insoluble fibre which helps the metabolism. They are a rich source of B vitamins which boost the nervous system that controls your thoughts and movement. In particular vitamin B6 which helps the body retain protein and carbohydrates - another very good source of energy.   They also taste delicious and are very plentiful in the shops this time of the year.

So why not snack on a few in between training this summer and see how you find them. There are many varieties to choose from and they are grown in many countries.

Many consider that the best dates come from Medina in Saudi Arabia which is where the Prophet lived and also where he died. 

Finally,  the best dates are enjoyed uncooked. I know some people like date pudding but to me stewing dates is rather like deep frying truffles. My favourite is the Medjool  variety

If you want to discuss this article or food and recipes in general email me at There’s lots of other information about food and recipes in my own blog and website.

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