I Love Going Out to Eat!
You’re at a Mexican restaurant with some friends, and the food looks amazing. You see nachos smothered in cheese, giant bowls of chips and mounds of guacamole. You’re so hungry, but you don’t want to order anything that will weigh you down. Is it possible to find a healthy choice?
Believe it or not, there are good options at every restaurant. Whether you’re craving Mexican, Italian or Chinese cuisine, you don’t have to avoid eating out just because you think it’ll make you feel full and sluggish. DS talked to three registered dietitians for advice on how to navigate menus and find the best options. Their answers might surprise you!
Eating healthy at a Mexican restaurant isn’t as tough as it looks. Guacamole has good omega-3 fats that help fight inflammation, so don’t skip it—just don’t eat the whole bowl. “Instead of eating guacamole with chips, ask your server to put some on your main entrée plate,” suggests registered dietitian Lauren Antonucci at Nutrition Energy in NYC. Choose entrées with grilled chicken, a lean and healthy protein, and beans, a filling and energizing carbohydrate. Something with lots of veggies, like fajitas, is a great choice. But steer clear of the onions and peppers if you’re going to dance within the next couple of hours. “They’re hard to digest,” warns Antonucci.
The portions you see at most taquerias are meant for two or three people, so consider splitting something with a friend. “The size of what you order makes a big difference,” says Norae Ferrara, RD, director of the San Francisco Nutrition Clinic. Tacos are often a better choice than huge burritos, and you can substitute a side of rice for fried hard taco shells.
There’s more to Italian food than gigantic bowls of pasta with heavy cream sauces. “Lots of traditional Italian food is vegetable-based, with simple proteins,” says Kimberly Evans, RD, owner of Whole Health Nutrition in Vermont. Chicken cacciatore has little cheese and lots of tomatoes and mushrooms. Fish entrées are a good choice because the protein usually takes up most of the plate (as opposed to a giant, carb-laden “side”). Chicken piccata and eggplant parmigiana are also smart options, since they have just a little pasta on the side—unlike a big plate of fettuccine alfredo. “We tend to overeat when there’s not enough protein on the plate,” says Ferrara.
Salads seem like a safe bet, but be careful: Some are loaded with toppings you don’t need—like bacon, cheese and croutons. Consider ordering a house or garden salad to kick off your meal, and asking for the dressing on the side. Go for oil and vinegar rather than something thick and creamy. “Start with a salad so you’re not starving by the time your entrée comes,” suggests Evans. Filling up on veggies beforehand will lessen the temptation to overeat during the main course.
If you’re going out for Thai or Chinese food, look for stir-fries with lean protein and lots of vegetables. But be sure to ask how the meat is prepared. “Just because you can’t see the breading doesn’t mean it’s not fried,” says Antonucci. “If the chicken is pan- or batter-fried, choose a different option.” Some places might even substitute boneless, skinless chicken if you request it. Beware of sauces that are super-sweet and high in carbohydrates—like the sauce on General Tso’s chicken. A black bean or broth–based sauce is healthier than something made with butter and oil.
Japanese restaurants are often full of good choices. Fish or crab-based sushi, sashimi and edamame (soybeans) are good sources of protein. “Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for a dancer,” says Evans, “but vegetarian maki rolls are often just a lot of sticky rice.” If you don’t eat seafood but still crave a roll, ask the chef to make it with brown rice instead.
Diner-type restaurants are diverse and often offer breakfast 24 hours a day. “Eggs are energizing,” says Antonucci, “with a lot of vitamins in the yolk.” Even fast-food chains will have some kind of egg you can pair with a baked potato instead of home fries. A cheese, lean roast beef or ham sandwich on whole wheat bread is another good option, especially if you top it with tomatoes, cucumbers or sprouts. Or try a turkey burger and opt for a side of vegetables instead of fries. Beware: “At a diner, there’s going to be a lot of starch on the plate, like the crust on a chicken pot pie,” says Ferrara. “That’s probably the worst thing you can order.”
But what about those massive dessert trays? Go for a cup of chocolate pudding instead of a huge slice of seven-layer cake. “One scoop of sorbet is a decent choice, or berries with a bit of whipped cream,” says Antonucci. “Just make sure you’re not eating more whipped cream than berries.”
Don’t Go Hungry!
If you know you’re going out for dinner, don’t skip breakfast or eat a smaller lunch. “Some people try to save up by eating less during the day,” says Ferrara. “But that always backfires. You’ll exercise less control over your choices and probably end up overeating.”
If you’re starving, eat an apple on the way to the restaurant. The fiber will take the edge off your hunger, so you won’t feel ravenous by the time you sit down. It’s also a good idea to look at the restaurant’s menu online beforehand. Pick a healthy, nutritious dish and stick with it when it comes time to order.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.