What’s in your dance bag? Four pairs of dance shoes, a baggy of Band-Aids, a reusable water bottle, extra warm-up clothes, some makeup, and, of course, your cell phone. But don’t forget to pack a few snacks to help get you through a long day of dancing. Whether you’re in class, rehearsals, competition, or a performance, make sure you have nutritious fuel on hand to keep you energized and nourished to dance your best. What makes the ideal snack? A combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. This will give you much more energy and endurance than any caffeinated drink or candy bar. Here are some great snack ideas to put in your dance bag before heading to the studio.
*Some of these snacks should remain cold until consumed. Bring a lunch bag with an ice pack inside or ask your teacher if you can keep your snack in the studio’s refrigerator.
Banana and Peanut Butter
This is a perfect (and delicious) combo of healthy carbs, fat, and protein. Choose a peanut butter (or another nut butter of your choice) with just one ingredient—peanuts. Steer clear of added oils, sugars, and salt that can be found in many popular brands. Some health food stores let you grind your own nut butter. You can substitute an apple instead if you’re worried your banana will get squished in your dance bag!
Eggs are high in protein and healthy fats. One or two hard-boiled eggs can be a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack for your day of dancing. To make them at home, boil a pot of water covering a couple of eggs with a pinch of salt and a small splash of white vinegar (this helps make peeling the eggshell much easier!). Take the boiling water off the heat and let sit for about 12 minutes. Pour out the hot water and submerge the eggs in icy cold water to stop them from cooking. Keep the hard-boiled eggs in the fridge (for up to one week) until you’re ready to peel and eat them.
Make your own trail mix by combining three parts raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.), one part seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), and one part dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, apricots). Keep your serving size to the size of your palm—trail mix is dense with healthy fats and nutrients but eating too much can be difficult to digest.
Yogurt—especially Greek yogurt—is high in calcium and protein. These nutrients help keep your bones and muscles strong. Yogurt also contains probiotics that help with digestion, so it’s a great snack in between rehearsals or before a performance.
Compared to plain milk or water, chocolate milk has double the carbohydrates and protein to help replenish tired muscles after a workout. Chocolate milk is a much better choice than neon-colored sports drinks. Delicious and nutritious—what could be better?!
Don’t just reach for any protein bar at the grocery store…many are glorified chocolate bars with just as much sugar and additives. When choosing a health food bar, remember the fewer ingredients, the better! Lara Bars and Rx Bars are simple and natural with ingredients like dried fruit, almonds, cacao, and egg whites.
What are some snacking staples that you always keep in your dance bag?