Smart Food Choices for Dancers

In the lead-up to 2019's Ballet under the Stars, Spinneys in-house nutritionist, Freda Molamphy, shares her top nutritional tips for aspiring dancers and athletes in the run up to a big event
Ballet Under the Stars special guest, Lauren Cuthbertson from Covent Garden Dance
Bill Cooper
Ballet Under the Stars special guest, Lauren Cuthbertson from Covent Garden Dance
February 24, 2019

Pre-Event

1. In the run up to the event, dancers should follow their normal regime focusing on slow releasing carbohydrates: lean protein, fruit, vegetables and water. It is important that they ensure the body is well hydrated before the performances.

2. On the day of the event, eat lightly and only foods which you are accustomed to eating as you don’t want to risk any digestive issues or tummy upsets.

3. Have your pre-event meal some hours beforehand to allow it to digest fully and be sure to eat lightly. Something like grilled or poached fish or chicken with steamed vegetables would be ideal. Avoid raw salads that can cause some bloating and gas. An hour or so beforehand, a light snack would be advised.

Spinneys recommends:
- Rice cake with Spinneys FOOD nut butter
- Plain yogurt with ½ a banana and some spinneysFOOD Mixed Nuts
- Rye crackers or oatcakes with a spoonful of spinneysFOOD Hummus or cottage cheese

TOP TIP
Don’t forget to keep well hydrated, and avoid ‘energy’ type products or drinks that can cause nausea, due to the concentration of sugars. Stick with plain water or coconut water or very well diluted juice.


During the event (break times)

The ideal break time snack should include something like 3-5 spinneysFOOD Dates, which would help to replace carbohydrate stores naturally. A little juice, water or laban would be enough. Alternatively, a small tub of kefir with dried fruit, a small slice of wholegrain bread with spinneysFOOD Honey, a spinneysFOOD cereal bar, or a couple of spoons of quinoa with a little diced tofu would also be extremely beneficial.

TOP TIP
Don’t forget to re-hydrate with plain water and avoid coffee or tea as they are diuretics.


Post-event

1. Once again, you should aim to have a small snack similar to break time directly after the performance. This is the time when your muscles are like ‘sponges‘and it’s at this 15-20 minute window that’s the optimum time to start absorbing carbohydrates. Drink plenty of water and continue to sip little and often throughout the evening.

2. The post-event meal should also be light and easily digested with a balance of starchy carbohydrates such as spinneysFOOD wholegrain pasta, sweet potato, wholegrain rice or bread plus lean proteins like chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs or a bean dish with steamed vegetables or salad to accompany.

3. Fresh cherries would be a great dessert as they are thought to help reduce muscle soreness, but any ripe fruits such as  mango, papaya and pineapple that provide easily digested carbohydrates can also be enjoyed with perhaps some plain yogurt or a treat with a scoop of spinneysFOOD Sorbet.


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