🍎 5 tips - Making Nutrition Easy as a Busy Dancer

Feb 2 / Melissa Lineburg
Hi, friends! This is The Dance Scientist, here to introduce my first guest blog writer on The Dance Science blog. Enjoy!

We’ve all fallen into a meal prep trap before, am I right? Setting aside a successful 2-3 weeks of solid meal planning and prepping before the season fully gets into its hectic swing. Then the dishes start to pile up after long days and suddenly you’re here and there, running from warm-up class to rehearsal after rehearsal until the whole process culminates in a heart + soul-filling series of performances.
When there’s no time to prep meals + snacks, what’s the best way to make nutritionally supportive choices that eMpower your dancing during the season, ESPECIALLY when it’s the time of year that doesn’t lend itself to meal plan + prep? Trust me, it’s possible and might just take a few minutes each night or morning - depending on your preference!Keep reading for my top 5 tips to make balanced nutrition easy for you, a busy dancer!

1️⃣ Enjoy all of the foods that you eatIt might seem like a silly suggestion, but I’ve found it most helpful for me! Eating foods that I love, whether they’re home packed or grabbed on-the-go, ensures that I stay fueled and ready for whatever class, rehearsals, and surprise performances thrown my way. Focusing on foods you enjoy will reduce the temptation to skip or under-fuel when you have a few moments of downtime - even if it’s munching on your favorite snack while running between studios.

2️⃣ Busy days mean on-the-go is bestWhether this means you’ve been able to pack food for your day or you find yourself at the coffee shop or bodega grabbing something quick, choose foods that won’t have you racing to the bathroom or feeling overly full or bloated. These sensations (overly full and bloated) are simply sensations that we all experience and are super normal! The key here is to reduce these symptoms when you know there’s a full day of dancing ahead to keep you dancing, moving, and feeling your best.

3️⃣ Eat the rainbowI equate eating the rainbow to ensuring that dancers are obtaining a balance of micronutrients in their diet. As visual people, what better way to keep an eye on this than with the nutritious color that fills our day!?This doesn’t mean that every single meal + snack must include every single color of the rainbow! This is simply a metric many dancers have found helpful to track their micronutrient intake over the course of a few days. For me, I find that some days are yellow days, filled with foods high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and more; other days might be more on the white food side filled with Vitamin K, fiber, folate, and more. Having days like these is totally ok, they happen, and I like the challenge of figuring out how to get more colors into my days, especially when I tend to trend toward one or two colors.

4️⃣ Balance the big threeI’m certain we’re all familiar with macronutrients - carbohydrates, protein, and fat. And, similar to eating the rainbow, balancing our intake of the macros is just as important. In simplified terms:Carbohydrates are our body’s main energy source. We can obtain carbohydrates from pretty much all foods from fruits + veggies to breads + granola)! Finding balance in simple, complex, and fiber-rich forms of carbohydrates will keep us energized and best support digestive health.Protein best supports our muscles (growth, development, and repair), hormones, and immune system health. Find balance between animal- and plant-based sources of protein, and whether you’re a vegetarian or not, utilize other sources like quinoa, soy, nuts, and more!Fat helps us access many micronutrients, keeps our cell walls fluid, and helps mitigate inflammation. Balance can be found in saturated (beef, poultry, fish, butter, coconut oil, etc.) + unsaturated fat sources (olive oil, avocado, almonds, seeds, etc.).There’s more to food than being simply categorized into one of the three above, AND that’s a great starting place for us to find balance amidst your busy dance schedule.

5️⃣ Hydration is more than just waterThere’s a lot of debate going on surrounding water: how much do we need? How much is too much? For busy, on-the-go dancers, ensure that you have a water bottle that you drink and refill a few times a day. It’s common knowledge that our body is 80% water, so it’s important to replenish any fluids lost through sweating, breathing, moving around, and general daily activities. Water is a key transporter of nutrients throughout our body as well. You also don’t have to rely on only plain water. Jazz it up with berries, citrus fruits, or cucumbers for extra color + nutrients!For balance, keep an eye on how much you're sweating and how sore your muscles feel at the end of the day. This can be a sign that incorporating electrolytes into your day may be beneficial. Electrolytes are minerals your body needs that have a positive or negative charge. These nutrients help to maintain water balance in the body and maintain your body's pH for optimal homeostasis. Days that include super sweaty dancing will likely benefit from having a sports drink, like Gatorade, or a homemade electrolyte beverage to maximize your overnight recovery.And there you have it! My 5 tips for making nutrition easy for busy dancers! Curious about more specific food + nutrition habit recommendations to eMpower performance + enhance athletic abilities?

 ➡️ Have you checked out my Eating for Sustainability Guide? These are my general recommendations for dancers and performance athletes and a great starting point for your normal/regular routines. For individual recommendations, you’ll want to request your free strategy session and begin your one-on-one coaching journey.

References

Batmanghelidj F. Your body’s many cries for water. Global Health Solutions, Inc.: USA; 2008.
Clark N. Nancy Clark’s sports nutrition guidebook. 6th Ed. Sports Nutrition Services, LLC: Newton, MA; 2020.Scioscia M. Eat right, dance right. Cinch Nutrition, LLC: New York, NY; 2018.Sims S. Roar. Rodale, Inc.: New York, NY; 2016.

Meet the Guest
Writer 

Melissa Lineburg

I'm a Nutrition Educator & Wellness Coach based in and serving dancers + performance athletes in the Washington, DC and the DMV region. My lifestyle-focused method has successfully helped clients achieve personal results and enhance athletic ability, eMpowering performance in class, rehearsals, and on-stage. As professional dancer myself, I have gained nutritional balance and improved my own relationship with food through many years of practice and a Masters of Science in Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. I bring this depth of personal and academic experience to a variety of clients, particularly performance athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I'm a professional ballet dancer in the DMV holding an MS in Human Nutrition and pursuing a Certified Nutrition Specialist certification.

I earned a BFA in Dance with a Business Administration minor from Radford University and am dedicated to supporting the arts and artists, specifically dance, through my work on- and off-stage. I am co-founder, managing director, and company artist with Ballet Embody, and I freelance for multiple companies in the DC-area. Off-stage, I hold arts administration roles in dance, am a certified yoga teacher, and support clients on their wellness journeys via my coaching practice at eMpower performance. I strive to support all dancers, both in- and outside of the studio, and I believe that dancers must be valued and elevated for their talent and excellence.
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Learn more about her & Her Services:

  • Email Her: [email protected]
  • Instagram: @empower_performance
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eMpowerwellnessco
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