Comp-Day Snacks

We love Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars (courtesy Kashi)

There’s no doubt about it: Competitions are stressful. You’re often stuck shuttling between dressing rooms, ballrooms and hotel rooms, usually without access to healthy food—or refrigerators. That’s why we enlisted Peggy Swistak, MS, RD, CD, of Pacific Northwest Ballet, to share a list of nonperishable snacking staples that will ensure you have the energy you need to perform your best.

Your Grocery List

  • tuna packets
  • whole-wheat pita chips
  • whole-wheat rice cakes
  • unsalted whole-wheat
  • pretzels
  • mini whole-wheat or raisin bagels
  • breakfast bars
  • apples
  • bananas
  • dried fruit
  • mixed nuts
  • peanut butter

Mix and match these healthy ingredients to make your own tasty snacks!

Swistak says: Snacks should include some high-fiber carbohydrates (for energy), low-fat protein (for staying power) and healthy fat (to help your body absorb nutrients).

Swistak’s Favorite Snack Combos 

  • apple slices with peanut butter
  • a breakfast bar with peanut butter
  • half a small bagel with peanut butter
  • a banana and a handful of nuts
  • a small handful of whole-wheat pita chips, rice cakes or pretzels with hummus

If you’ll have access to a cooler, pick up some (protein-packed) low-fat yogurt, string cheese and hummus packets (we love Sabra Hummus Singles) to add to your snack mix.

Portion control is key! According to Swistak, a snack is 150-–200 calories (or up to 250 on a day you’re dancing nonstop). When it comes to peanut butter, keep your serving to 1 tablespoon.



Blinking may give your brain a much-needed break, helping you process the corrections your teacher gave you during that last adagio. Researchers at Osaka University in Japan claim we blink for more reasons than to keep our eyes moist—a blink might actually tell our brains to switch into processing mode after receiving information.


You know the feeling: You’re standing in the wings waiting to perform when you catch a glimpse of the enormous audience, including all your family and friends. Suddenly you’re overtaken by stage fright. The cure? Talk it out with other dancers backstage. According to a recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles, describing feelings of anxiety the moment you recognize them can help you feel less afraid.

FEELING DOWN IN THE DUMPS? Wake up earlier! A new study at the University of Toronto found that early risers tend to have a more positive outlook than those who sleep late.

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