What to eat on a show day

It’s the day of your studio’s annual showcase and you’re bursting with excitement.  There’s so much to do—get all your things packed up, travel to the theatre, set up your dressing room station, organize all of your costumes, go over your routines, and warm-up well before the big night.  But another thing you shouldn’t forget to do is to fuel your body efficiently throughout the day to get you through the big performance.

Now, food might be the last thing on your mind…maybe you are too anxious to eat or are worried about feeling bloated in your costumes.  Here’s a little list of when and what you should eat to prepare your body to be show-ready.

Breakfast is (you guessed it) the most important meal of the day, especially on a show day!  Fuel up early with a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to rev up your engine on this exciting day.  Our favorite breakfast ideas are whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices, oatmeal with and mixed berries, or two hardboiled eggs and a banana.  You can have your cup of coffee or tea but focus on hydration early in the morning by drinking at least a glass or two of water.

Before the show, you might have some butterflies in your tummy.  It’s easy to think you’re not hungry…but it’s important to get some nutrition in your system before the performance—in fact, eating certain foods can help calm your tummy and ease anxiety.  If you’ve got an hour or more before the show, try some avocado toast or turkey and cheese roll-ups.  While you’re getting your makeup on you can munch on almonds or some Greek yogurt. Again, keep drinking water throughout the day.  Your adrenaline will carry you through the show so there’s really no need for extra caffeine in coffee, soda, or energy drinks.

It’s just as important to refuel your body post-performance when your muscles are tired and you’ve expended a lot of energy.  A loaded salad (with dark greens, protein like chicken or tofu, and lots of veggies) is a great way to load up on all those macro and micronutrients your body is craving.  Some dancers feel bloated or uncomfortable if they eat raw vegetables before performing, so make sure you get your greens in at the end of the day.  Another great post-show snack is a glass of chocolate milk to replenish your sugar and protein sources.  Couple that with a bowl of air-popped popcorn or an apple with peanut butter and you’re good to go!

Do you have other go-to foods for before or after a big performance? Finding what works for your body can be a wonderful feeling and can even turn into a ritual that stays with you for every performance day.  And remember, what works for another dancer might not work for you.  Experiment with foods that you like and that fuel your body with nutrients and clean energy!

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