Meal Ideas

Hi everyone!  Today I’m here with another nutrition-based post – my ideas for healthy meals.  This post is guided towards dancers and their needs, but it can be used by anybody looking to live and eat healthier.  Enjoy!


Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It’s vital that your properly prepare your body for the day ahead by eating a nutritious and vitamin-filled breakfast in the morning.  Ultimately, your entire day will be more successful.  Here are a few of my favorites:

EGG, NUTELLA TOAST, GRAPEFRUIT: I eat this one almost every morning.  It’s great because of its balance – the egg gives the protein I need for the day, the nutella toast provides both carbs to keep my energy up and a bit of sugar to give me a morning blast, and the grapefruit is that sour, fruity goodness I need to wake me up in the morning as well as treat myself to a watery haven.  It’s easy, quick, light, and delicious.

OATMEAL WITH FRUIT: This is a less balanced options, but it’s one of my favorites for performance mornings.  The carbs in the oatmeal will boost your energy to keep you awake but all feel-good and gooey in the mornings (does that sound wrong?), but the fruit will wake you up well.  Again, it’s one of my show favorites.

SMOOTHIE BOWL: Great for one of those healthy-living inspired mornings.  I often feel this way on Sundays, so I like to whip up a thick smoothie with tropical fruits and sprinkle the top of the bowl with granola and top with a few fresh fruits.  It’s delicious, super healthy, nicely balanced, and filling.  It will definitely keep you nourished for the rest of the day.

Lunch

Lunch is another important meal – it’s value is vital to your getting through the day.  If you don’t have that mid-day nourishment, you are going to reach burnout by the end of your rehearsal day.  That said, lunch should be light and simple so that you don’t feel heavy and gross for the second half of the day.

Here are some good ideas:

RICE SALAD: I don’t think this is the correct name – but basically it’s any kind of rice mixed with meat (optional) plus peas or other vegetables.  I like to add in edamame and carrot sticks.  But, really, you can add in whatever you want (as long as it’s not gross).  It’s better to add in the meat for the non-vegetarians because you want that balance of food groups, again.  But, if you would prefer not to, eat some meat on the side or some dairy like cheese or milk.  This snack is decently balanced, nice and light, and can be quick if you want it to be.

SOUP:  If you don’t already know, I am a full on soup fangirl.  For an entire semester last year, I ate soup for lunch EVERY DAY.  That’s ridiculous…I know.  But, it’s really, really good and very nutritious.  It’s greatly balanced depending on the soup – I ate homemade soup that we always included vegetables, broth, meat, and pasta or some kind of grain.  It’s super balanced, super portable in a thermos, and you can make a big batch at the beginning of the week.  Then, just serve it up over the course of the week.   It’s super easy and super great for you.

SANDWICHES: A nice sandwich with a substantial meat, and some healthy cheese with some lettuce or other vegetables can provide a good, balanced basis for the rest of your day.  It’s one of my favorites during summer intensives because it’s super light and I don’t feel like anything is weighing me down.  Again, it’s really basic, super easy, and amazingly balanced – you get veggies, meat, dairy, and grains all in one.  Eat some fruit on the side, and you’re good to go!

Dinner

Dinner is also a really important meal.  Eating a healthy dinner nourishes your muscles after a long day of dancing and helps you be less sore the next morning.  Plus, a good treat is necessary to keep you going tomorrow.

Here are my ideas for good, healthy dinners:

PASTA SALAD: These veggies will keep your muscles ready to go tomorrow – a good whole grain pasta with varied vegetables will keep your energy high.  Plus, with some meat on the side, you can get meat, grain, and vegetables.  It’s nice and balanced.

MEAT WITH VEGGIES: A good dinner idea is to eat a nice, light, small meat – which can be lamb, chicken, pork, etc.  Along with that, I like to throw in a light veggie like asparagus, artichoke, or peas.  Maybe with some bread, olive oil, and parmesan cheese on the side, you can get grain, dairy, meat, and veggies all in one plate.  Plus, the olive oil provides a great source of healthy protein and fat.  It’s super balanced and won’t leave you feeling heavy and stuffed to the rim.

WRAPS: Wraps are a fun twist on sandwiches – great and easy for dinner.  I love lamb in my wrap along with some good veggies and maybe some hummus.  On a pita, this mediterranean-style dinner leaves me full and nourished every time.  I highly recommend this filling creation!

OMELETS: I know it’s technically a breakfast, but omelets can create a mature-flavored dinner that’s very balanced.  I like adding in some small bacon bits, parmesan cheese, herbs, and other veggies.  The egg and the cheese work together to provide dairy, the bacon gives you that healthy-fat meat, and the veggies are also very good for you.  This is super balanced and will leave you filled and your muscles re-set for the next day.

Snacks

It’s important that dancers not only eat three meals a day, but also snack throughout the course of their work to keep their muscles fully nourished and running correctly at all times.

Here are some of my favorite snack ideas:

TRAIL MIX OR MIXED NUTS: Trail mix is a little bit more fun with the M & Ms and all, but basic mixed nuts is super nourishing and will refresh you for the rest of the day without that sugar crash.  I love trail mix – it’s portable and the healthy proteins are really, really good for you.  Dancers need proteins to replenish our muscles and boost our energy.  Nuts are also a fantastic source of healthy fats.

SMOOTHIES: I like eating smoothies in a cold thermos for lunch or for a snack.  They’re really healthy, balanced, and nourishing.  I went through why smoothies are so great in the breakfast section, but I thought I would mention them here as well to note that they are a great option for any kind of meal or snack.

MUFFINS: I know this sounds weird, but I’m the person that will eat muffins at any time of day – you can make healthy, sugar-free ones to eat while you’re dancing or between rehearsals to keep you nourished and ready-to-go.  I love corn muffins and blueberry muffins.  This is more of an un-healthy option, but….we all need a treat.  C’mon.


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