Health & Body

A Day in Diet of...

Fueling dancers’ ever-moving bodies can be an artform in and of itself. We had three professional dancers journal everything they ate on a given day, to see how they navigate the complex world of nutrition while juggling classes and rehearsals. Then we asked Rachel Fine, registered dietitian for The School at Steps in NYC and founder of To the Pointe Nutrition, to weigh in on their choices. What she says might surprise you!

Emily Schoen

Keigwin + Company

Keigwin + Company's Emily Schoen (photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Emily Schoen)

8:30 am, breakfast (before

10 am–12 pm ballet class):

•    1 Thomas’ cinnamon-raisin English muffin

•    2–3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter, salted

•    homemade cold-brew coffee with a splash of half-and-half

“If I don’t eat the right breakfast, I crash in class. This combo gives me a balance of fat and protein to keep me satiated, and carbohydrates for an energy kick. Plus, Thomas’ English muffins are easy to find on tour!”

12 pm, snack:

•    1 apple

1 pm, lunch (eaten throughout the afternoon Keigwin + Company rehearsal):

•    a serving of honey and harissa farro salad with parsnips, carrots and feta cheese (recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

•    1 hard-boiled egg

“I like to munch on this grain salad throughout rehearsal. It’s fresh and light, so it doesn’t make me too sleepy.”

5 pm, snack:

•    1 dark-chocolate almond-coconut Clif Mojo Trail Mix Bar

8 pm, dinner:

•    1 piece of homemade garlic bread

•    1 serving of spaghetti with 1/2 cup of homemade marinara sauce

•    arugula salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

•    1/2 scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream

“I’ve let go of the notion that certain foods are ‘bad,’ and just focus on eating reasonable portions of real food. A small scoop of full-fat ice cream leaves me much more satisfied than the low-fat stuff.”

FINE SAYS: I’m glad to see Emily choosing whole-food sources for her recipes. When using premade items, you should reach for those that are minimally processed. How can you tell? Look at the ingredient list on the box and see how many you recognize—and can pronounce.

To start her day, Emily makes a great choice with almond butter. It has anti-

inflammatory omega-3s, vitamin E to protect her cells, magnesium to facilitate muscle contraction and iron to oxygenate her tissues. Farro, which Emily eats throughout rehearsal, is a nutrient-packed grain, with protein, fiber and even some iron and calcium. Eating little bits of it over time will help provide a steady supply of the sugar she needs for energy—and it'll keep her from feeling too bloated.

While nutrition bars are a great grab-and-go source of fuel, many of the products

advertised as “nutrition” or “energy bars” are really just glorified candy bars, with added sugars. I’d suggest that Emily opt for a brand with more fiber and fewer processed ingredients, like Lärabars or KIND bars. And at dinner, I’d tell Emily to toss in some lean protein, like shrimp or grilled chicken breast, to help rebuild tired muscles.

Dominic “D-trix” Sandoval

Quest Crew

Quest Crew's Dominic "D-trix" Sandoval (Photo courtesy MTV)

9 am, breakfast (before 10 am–1 pm wardrobe fittings and camera rehearsals for “America’s Best Dance Crew”):

•    16-ounce (“grande”) Starbucks iced, sugar-free caramel macchiato with soy

milk

•    Starbucks reduced-fat turkey-bacon and egg-white sandwich

“I like adding soy to my morning drink because it makes it taste much sweeter—but with less sugar and fat than cream. And turkey bacon and egg whites taste just as good as regular bacon and eggs.”

1 pm, lunch (before 2–5 pm rehearsal with Quest Crew):

•    chicken breast with sides of green beans, mac and cheese and corn bread

5 pm (before 5–7 pm rehearsal with Quest Crew):

•    16-ounce Jamba Juice Protein Berry Workout Smoothie

“I like drinking a protein smoothie between workouts, instead of at the end of the day.”

7 pm, dinner (before 9 pm–4 am rehearsal with Quest Crew):

•    Chipotle chicken salad with rice, beans, grilled veggies, corn, cheese, sour cream and lettuce

•    pineapple-orange-mango Mountain Dew Kickstart

“Because rehearsals go so late, I’m usually hungry before bedtime. But I’ve found that drinking a glass of water—instead of snacking—tends to curb my late-night cravings.”

FINE SAYS: When eating out, it’s easy to consume excessive sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium. At Starbucks, be careful of sugar substitutes, such as those found in sugar-free syrups, as they can cause stomach discomfort. But as far as Starbucks’ breakfasts go, the sandwich D-trix chooses is a good option for maximizing protein and reducing sodium and sugar.

Though a homemade version with fewer added sugars would ultimately be best, D-trix’s smoothie is a solid choice before rehearsal. Protein is critical for muscle recovery, and the carbohydrates in the juice will help replenish his energy.

Overall, I’d make sure D-trix is getting enough water, especially since he’s dancing all day. I’d tell him to forgo the soda—which is loaded with sugar and lacks nutritional value—and opt for seltzer or unsweetened brewed iced tea to sip on throughout rehearsal.

Liana Blackburn

Britney Spears’ Britney: Piece of Me; author of DailyDancerDiet blog (dailydancerdiet.com)

Liana Blackburn (bottom right) in Britney: Piece of Me (Photo by Jonathan Pears, courtesy Liana Blackburn)

9 am, breakfast:

•    1 glass of water

•    2 organic, pasture-raised eggs from Vital Farms, pan-fried

•    organic broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil and tossed with quinoa and a pinch of salt

•    1/4 avocado

“Eating veggies first thing makes me feel fresh and energized for the day. While I don’t have food allergies, I’ve found that my body operates best when I refrain from eating gluten, dairy, refined sugar, caffeine, soy and processed foods.”

11:30 am, snack:

•    homemade butternut-squash waffle with 1 tablespoon organic almond butter and organic strawberries

12 pm, snacks (eaten throughout 12–4 pm rehearsal):

•    homemade green drink with kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, water and ginger

•    Mary’s Gone Crackers (original flavor)

•    organic carrots

“If I’m not fueled during rehearsal, it drags me down and I have trouble focusing. I

always bring plenty of snacks so I’m prepared in case rehearsal runs long.”

4:30 pm, lunch:

•    homemade organic veggie soup with kidney beans, Swiss chard, celery, zucchini, carrots and sesame seed oil

6 pm, snack:

•    1 Lundberg Family Farms salt-free brown-rice cake topped with hummus, organic cucumbers, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt

8 pm, dinner:

•    3 ounces baked wild-caught Alaskan salmon seasoned with soy sauce and salt

•    steamed organic green beans lightly pan-fried with coconut oil and salt

•    1/2 cup wild rice

•    1/4 avocado

45 minutes before bed, dessert:

•    1 handful organic blueberries

•    1 piece of 80-percent cacao dark chocolate

•    herbal organic peppermint tea

FINE SAYS: I applaud Liana’s use of wholesome ingredients! She’s getting the most nutritious bang for her buck. Veggies for breakfast may seem like an odd choice, but they’re great any time of day. That said, be careful not to fill up on veggies alone. They don’t have enough protein for optimal muscle building and won’t keep you satiated all day. So it’s great that Liana chooses eggs to help keep her energy levels stable for the long day ahead of her.

The sodium in processed foods can really add up, so opting for low-sodium products, like Liana does, is a great way to keep it in check. But I also love that Liana adds salt back into her diet by sprinkling it on the foods she eats. Dancers need salt to replenish their electrolytes after intense rehearsals, particularly when it’s hot and humid outside.

I’d suggest that Liana add some nut butter to her afternoon snack of plain crackers. While the carbohydrates from the crackers will help supply the glucose (sugar) Liana’s body needs during a long rehearsal, protein will help keep her blood sugar levels stable to avoid spikes—which can cause fatigue and/or dizziness.

Jeraldine Mendoza

The Joffrey Ballet

(Mendoza in The Nutcracker (Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy Joffrey Ballet)

7:30 am, breakfast (before 9:45–11:15 am company ballet class):

1 cup French-press coffee with a splash of cream and 2 sugars

Siggi’s Fig and Lemon Zest yogurt

5 rounded tablespoons of KIND brand coconut granola

“I’m not usually very hungry when I wake up, but eating a little something before class makes all the difference in my energy and mood in the morning.”

11:15 am, snack (before 11:30 am–2:30 pm rehearsal):

1 Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar

“If I’m even slightly hungry, I can’t function! We get a five-minute break every hour of rehearsal, and I often use that time to snack on a Clif Bar, pretzels, cheese or chocolate soy milk.”

2:30 pm, lunch (before 3:30–6:30 pm rehearsal):

a kid’s-size cheesy chicken quesadilla with tomatoes from Freshii (a restaurant in town)

pretzels and cheese

“I like to eat something small at lunch, so I don’t feel like taking a nap during our second rehearsal block.”

7:30 pm, dinner:

1 slice of NYC-style pepperoni pizza from Panino’s Pizzeria

1 arancini ball from Panino’s

1 can of Barq’s root beer

“I’m naturally a pretty healthy person, so I let myself eat what I crave. I try to listen to my body and give what it wants—and in this case it was pizza!”

FINE’S ASSESSMENT: Jeraldine starts her day with a high-protein and high-fiber meal. It’s a great combination that will keep her energy levels sustained throughout the morning. I also like how Jeraldine orders the kid-sized portion of the cheesy chicken quesadilla. It helps lower the overall fat and sodium content of the meal. That said, I’d also advise Jeraldine to include more healthy fats in her daily diet. Adding flaxseeds or chia seeds to her morning yogurt; avocado or guacamole with her lunch; or olive oil to a side salad at dinner are great ways to get these in.

Show Comments ()
Screenshot via @portfolioglobal on Instagram

We already knew Taylor and Reese Hatala can do anything. After all, they're both incredibly versatile dancers capable of serving up some serious face. And now the super siblings can add another title to their resumé: that of fashion magazine cover stars.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Showstopper's National Finals Opening Number Performance

Showstopper has been making its impact on the dance world since 1978. Before then, dancers didn't have a stage to perform on, the opportunity to learn from peers, or a competitive outlet like most sports. Debbie Roberts recognized this missing piece in the dance community and that is how America's first and longest running dance competition, Showstopper, was born. Debbie taught dance for over 26 years and owned and operated her own dance studio for 20 years. She is now the owner and National Director of Showstopper, along side her husband, Dave Roberts. Dancer, teacher, business owner, author, and mother, Debbie has made dance her life's career.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Sarah Pippin assisting in a convention class at New York City Dance Alliance (courtesy NYCDA)

To her high school classmates, Sarah Pippin was a regular girl: a good student and a friendly face around campus. But on the weekends—at dance competitions and conventions across the country—Pippin was a bona fide celeb, adored by her fellow competitors and faculty members alike.

By the time she graduated high school, Pippin had racked up major accomplishments, including performances with Janet Jackson and Shaping Sound, a role on Dance Spirit's own reality series “Road to Nationals," titles such as New York City Dance Alliance's National Mini, Junior and Senior Outstanding Dancer, and, most recently, a college scholarship on behalf of Dance Magazine through the NYCDA Foundation.

There's no doubt that Pippin, now a freshman at The Juilliard School, is among a rising generation of competition and convention stars. And while “celebrity" isn't a term they'd give themselves, you know who they are. These dancers are adored by legions of real-life fans hoping to watch and dance alongside them, not to mention the thousands of social media followers ready to double-tap everything they post.

Being so popular on the circuit has its perks—traveling every weekend, internet fame, working with big-name choreographers—but it also comes with its share of struggles. Here's a peek at what it's really like at the top.

Keep reading... Show less
Oh, hi, EVERYBODY. (Screenshots via YouTube)

Sometimes, you hear talk about an upcoming class video and it sounds too good to be real. Wait: Todrick Hall made a track featuring RuPaul, and then Todrick personally asked Brian Friedman to choreograph it, and then Brian got Maddie and Charlize and Jade and Kaycee and Sean and Gabe and Larsen and Bailey to come out for the class? I just...that can't be right. Can it?

It is right, friends. It is SO RIGHT.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Sofia Wylie (photo by Dave Brewer, courtesy Disney Channel)

Last week Disney Channel star Sofia Wylie released a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her YouTube dance series. Along with some stellar dancing, the video shows the dance community featured in her "4k Dance Series" and the things they've learned from being a part of the dance project. And though the project features dance, we love that it also emphasizes supporting and building up fellow dancers.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Winter is drawing to a close and you know what that means -- It's time to really kick this year into gear! Move U has done the research so you can find your best match, look good, and feel great this season with a twist unique to your team! Here are five looks to put your performance on the map in 2018.

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

With several Shaping Sound tours and TV credits like "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars," and "Boardwalk Empire" to her name, you wouldn't expect Kate Harpootlian to be refreshingly down-to-earth. But that's exactly how she is: As soon as you start talking to the gifted dancer and choreographer, it becomes clear that she doesn't take herself too seriously. And she's happy to tell hilarious stories to prove it. (Ask her about the time she did a Mr. Peanut impression when Mia Michaels asked her to improvise, or the time she starred in a Japanese makeup commercial and had to do grand pliés wearing one pointe shoe and one flat shoe.)

That mixture of humor and grace is evident in Harpootlian's growing body of choreographic work. Her one-act show Better Late Than Never, for example, which premiered last summer, has a jazzy, West Side Story vibe, offsetting heavier moments with touches of whimsy. "There's always a balance in my work," Harpootlian says. "I want to use humor to balance out the darker aspects. It's like one of my friends once said: 'You make me laugh, and then you make me feel bad for laughing.' "

Keep reading... Show less
All of the claps for Brianna Bundick-Kelly.

Her name is Briyoncé, and she came to SLAY.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morg

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I grip my quads, and I don't know how to stop. I'm totally overdeveloping my quad muscles. How can I retrain myself so I use my legs correctly? Help!

Lily

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Justin Boccitto relies on a grounded plié to create a smooth landing out of a turn. (photo by James Jin Photography, courtesy Boccitto)

You know that pirouette dream, when your placement is so perfect you can keep turning forever? That dream is the reality for highly technical tappers, who benefit from the decreased friction of their shoes. Get the placement right and, with a strong spot, they can pirouette for days.

But turning in tap shoes isn't all easy. In fact, those delightfully friction-free shoes bring their own set of challenges, and dancers can easily fall into the spinning-top trap by letting the turn control them, rather than the other way around. Here's how to harness your tap-turning potential.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored