The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

A Day In the Life of ABT Principal Dancer Isabella Boylston – Isabella Boylston Diet Fitness

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

When juggling busy careers and lives, it's not always easy to find the time to hit the gym or prepare a healthy meal.

For inspiration, we're asking influential women in a variety of fields to share a typical day of eats and fitness, to see just how they balance a healthy lifestyle with their jam-packed schedules.

American Ballet Theatre's principal dancer Isabella Boylston, whose repertoire includes iconic roles Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and the lead in Giselle, walks us through a day in her life, ahead.

Isabella Boylston

I typically wake up around 9 a.m. and I try to always eat a pretty hearty breakfast whenever I have time. I love eating any kind of eggs in the morning with toast, that's kind of my staple. If I have time to have a sit-down breakfast, I'll really go for it with eggs and pancakes.

 This really hearty meal is from Grey Dog, which is one of my favorite breakfast spots. So, if I have time for a leisurely breakfast, I'll go there and get the Grey Dog's breakfast, which has a little bit of everything—scrambled eggs, French toast, fruit, and the chicken sausage is really good. I know it's probably not what people expect ballerinas to eat.

I think people are usually surprised when they see how much we do eat in reality!

After breakfast, I head to ballet class, which is how we start our day. It's an hour and a half and basically for warming up and conditioning and working on perfecting your technique. I do it every single day, especially if I have a show. It's a daily meditation, it gets you in touch with your body and gets your mind and body focused and in tune. 

I also rehearse every day–on an average rehearsal day I probably dance between six to nine hours a day. It's a lot. Definitely keeps you in shape. Usually, our rehearsals are from 12 to 7 p.m.

on days we don't have a show. If I do have a full-length, three-act ballet show  Swan Lake that day, then I'll take class and maybe do a little bit of rehearsal, but usually not more than an hour or so.

 I want to save my body. 

Isabella Boylston

This salad is from Sweetgreen. It's so good: kale, arugula, potatoes, mushroom, red cabbage, and white cheddar and apples with whole wheat bread. I don't eat a salad every day for lunch, I'll eat a sandwich too, but I feel a salad really packs in the vitamins and minerals so I try to eat salad at least once every day either for dinner or lunch.

Lunch could be any time, whenever I have a break. Sometimes, I'll just be stuffing my face as quickly as I can in between rehearsals if I don't really have a break.

But, I always try to eat three solid meals a day and if I do snack, I'll usually eat fruit or I'll have dark chocolate with sea salt.

I also definitely have two cups of coffee a day first thing in the morning and after lunch, too.

Isabella Boylston

I do physical therapy basically whenever I have free time, usually right after class.

 I have a persistent knee problem that's really annoying, but it's really typical that dancers are dancing through minor injuries, unfortunately.

I do a stim treatment and there's an electrical charge so it gets circulation going and also gets the [anti-inflammatory corticosteroid cream] to pass through your skin into the tendon. 

I don't work with a trainer. There's a gym in ABT, so I just go there and the exercises that I have are usually given to me by the physical therapist. They're an important part of injury prevention.  Planking is a really good core exercise. You can just hold that plank for 30 seconds or up to two  minutes.

 If you do it correctly, it works your abs, your back, your butt–it's harder than it looks! The other exercise that I do a lot is the bridge where I'm laying on my back and my pelvis is lifted. That really gets my butt and lower back going.

It's a great stability exercise and helps you so that when you're dancing, you use both sides evenly.

Isabella Boylston

I'll do these exercises maybe three times a week, when I've had a lighter day or if I had some sort of pain going on. A lot of the injuries that we get come from working asymmetrically. So, I try to do exercises that balance out my symmetry so my body is working really evenly.

This exercise on the bosu ball is really, really hard, but I've sprained my ankle so many times and at a certain point, I was just “Okay, I need to start doing some major stabilizing for my ankles.” The bosu ball really helps with that. I try to do ankle stabilizers every day.

Isabella Boylston

At ABT, we have massage therapists in house so I get a massage once a week usually at the end of a day. Here, the therapist was working on my hips, trying to get it relief. 

Isabella Boylston

I'll take a nap in the afternoon and then wake up and get my favorite pre-show food: pasta. I eat pasta before every show, about 5 hours before so I have time to digest it, and usually at a restaurant.

 I get really nervous right before the show, so then it's kind of hard to eat and I find bananas to be one of the most palatable things–also coffee, I'll drink a coffee while I'm putting on my makeup.

I'm unfortunately not much of a cook, so I either rely on my husband to cook for me or I just go out to a restaurant although pasta is the one thing I do know how to make. My neighbor, also one of my best friends, made that pasta, spinach, and salmon dish for me.

It's just olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon. Really simple. People think pasta and bread are so evil! I think if anything, probably the thing to stay away from is sugar.

I don't eat a ton of sweets, if I'm craving sugar I'll eat it, but it's not a normal part of my diet, except for dark chocolate.

I usually eat a couple bananas before and during the show just to keep my potassium level up because you just lose so much energy in one act, so I try to replenish at the intermission and I'll also drink water or Gatorade. Coconut water is really great, too!


What 3 Professional Ballerinas Eat in a Day

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

Ballet dancers are the lithe, graceful women that leave us wondering how they manage to maintain a grueling exercise regimen and eat healthfully too.

Just by googling “ballerina diet”, you'll find answers ranging from a single glass of juice a day to full-on carbo-loading.

However, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly what the ballerina diet is, as every dancer eats differently and has a different body type.

Going to a school where pre-professional ballet dancers make up the majority, I see dancers eating every day in the cafeteria – so my preconceived notions about their diets went out the window.

Three of my ballerina friends agreed to share their daily diets with me, which is much more reliable than the standard blog post written by someone who has never actually met or spoken to a ballet dancer.

Ella Rubin

While my friends have admitted that eating disorders are common in their world, it's not a reality for every dancer. They want to make it known that “people do fuel themselves…

the majority of us are actually normal eaters.

” As a matter of fact, School of American Ballet dancers Annika Lambert (15), Marie-Louise Larsen (15), and Natalie Glassie (14) fuel and treat themselves daily.

Hearing what actually goes into their bodies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is fascinating because its the exact opposite of what you'd expect. They nourish themselves properly to get through multiple hours of daily exercise but enjoy their food in the process. Secret's out, everybody: ballerinas eat!

Natalie Glassie

Ella Rubin

Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese, Belvita crackers, a banana

Snack: 2 muffins

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Cheez-Its, Oreos, fruit

Post-class snack: Veggie Straws, grapes

Dinner: Roasted chicken, pasta, salad

Dessert: Tub of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Marie-Louise Larsen

Ella Rubin

Breakfast: Oats with banana slices

Breakfast #2: Granola with milk and a honey peanut butter Kind Bar

Lunch: 2 plain bagels, a slice of apple pie, a muffin, and mixed fruit

Post-class snack: Cliff Bar and mixed fruit

Dinner: Chicken wrap

Annika Lambert

Ella Rubin

Breakfast: Yogurt, banana, and a plain bagel

Snack: Banana

Lunch: Slice of pizza, fruit, and white rice

Snack: Stonyfield Yogurt Drink

Dinner: Sushi rolls and a bottle of Tropicana Orange Juice

Dessert: Donut

Why Do They Eat What They Eat?

Diet is usually a very specific science for athletes, so I was very curious as to their reasoning for the food they consume.

However, these young dancers explained that they truly don't have a reason for their diets, though others might.

Marie-Louise said, “Maybe when we're older, we'll be a little healthier or more specific with macros and meals, but for now, we're just eating what we and makes us feel good.”

Talking to Natalie, Annika, and Marie-Louise about what they eat was so fun, and even eradicated some of the stereotypes I still considered to be true.

Throughout our conversation, they continued to reiterate the fact that not every ballerina eats the same way or simply doesn't eat.

While it occurs, it shouldn't be automatically assumed that ballet dancers neglect to fuel themselves.

So, before you go Googling what your favorite celebrity, model, or ballet dancer eats, educate yourself with real knowledge about what works for your body. We as humans vary physically and should fuel ourselves differently from one another (including ballet dancers). Food isn't one size fits all, and I think that should be honored.


What Ballet Dancers Really Eat

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

It’s all too easy to fall on the tired tropes that dancers are obsessive, pin-thin perfectionists. While we’re not ones to minimize the very real pressures (and effects of said pressures) of the job, our recent visit to the National Ballet of Canada’s studio and HQ pretty much instantly shot down any notion of the Black Swan types dancing in our heads.

Does the profession require serious dedication and discipline? Yes. Are these girls strong as hell? Yup. Do they view food as fuel rather than foe? You bet.


We spent the afternoon with four lead dancers working on the company’s upcoming performance of Sleeping Beauty (, in an IRL studio with IRL tutus and everything), dining on the protein-heavy and complex-carb meals that keep them going. And yup, wine, coffee, and kombucha are included in their day-to-day, too. Ballerinas: They’re just us!


coffee1/2 grapefruit 2 boiled eggs

sautéed spinach in olive oil


greens chicken breast sweet potato olive oil vinaigrette

green tea


baked salmon with grainy mustard and steamed and buttered broccoli sliced tomato



1C blueberries with dry roasted almonds Lindt 90% dark chocolate

water throughout the day


“I have to be strict about my eating during the season to fuel my performance and make sure that I recover from performances as well as I can. I’m very health-conscious and aim for foods that are very nutrient-dense.

During a long rehearsal or performance day, it can be really hard to sit down for a proper meal, so I sometimes end up splitting my lunch into two and having snacks on hand. I don’t want to feel too full before dancing, but I also need energy. I also make sure that I am getting enough fluids.  

“During the off-season I can be more relaxed.

It’s nice not to have to plan as much. Even when I’m not dancing, I’m still pretty nerdy about being healthy, but that being said, I try to follow the 80/20 rule.”


FILL IN THE BLANK: “My last meal on earth would be ______”

“Caesar salad, duck confit with fries, and chocolate-covered almonds.”




“I aim to incorporate as much nutrient-dense food as possible. I wouldn’t say one nutrient is more important than the other. I make sure I get enough protein to support my muscles and enough carbs to fuel my performance and recovery.

Healthy fats are so important for nutrient absorption and other important body functions. I just try to get the right ratio of nutrients for my body, and I eat lots of veggies, which seems to be the one thing we can all agree is good for us.


“I have been eating gluten-free for almost 10 years. I spent a year dealing with some awful stomach issues; when I figured this out, it made such a difference. I don’t buy ‘gluten-free’ products, though. They are expensive and are never the same as the real thing. I just eat things that are naturally gluten-free, including when I decide to indulge.”


Baked Salmon with Grainy Mustard and Steamed Buttered Broccoli


1. Place uncooked salmon, skin side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with grainy mustard.

2. Cook for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.


2 tbsps of pommery mustard
2 tbsps maple syrup
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


chicken club on a croissant with aged cheddarroasted Italian potato salad

iced tea or San Pellegrino 


chicken and rice with veggies


“I’m a little more careful with what I eat during the off-season because I’m not working the same amount of hours, so I’m not burning as many calories.”

FILL IN THE BLANK: “My last meal on earth would be ______”

“Bison Aussie burger (burger with fried egg, pineapple, and beets!) and sweet potato fries.”


“Chocolate. Every day.”


“I have no dietary restrictions, but I feel I need to have protein with all my meals. Especially before a show.”

Chicken Club Sandwich with oven-roasted chicken breast, crisp double-smoked bacon, fresh tomato, cheddar with an herbed aioli


1. Quarter 3-4 red-skinned potatoes and roast at 325 degrees with olive oil, salt, and pepper until fully cooked inside.

2. Remove from oven and toss in sundried tomato vinaigrette with white beans, sun dried tomato strips, quartered artichokes, and fresh basil.


1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sundried tomato water
2 tbsps. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1 tbsp. honey
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper

1. Using 1 cup of real dry sundried tomatoes (not the ones packed in oil), soak for 15 mins in a pot of just boiled water.

2. Cut the tomatoes in strips for the salad, and use the soaking water for the vinaigrette.

3. Combine all ingredients and whirl with a hand blender.

Second Soloist

two eggs with a bowl of ricea latte (coffee is a must!)


Some kind of dessert ice cream or a cookie. 


“During the season I tend to have more snacks throughout the day. Rehearsing and performing takes a lot of energy, so it needs to be replenished. When we are in our off-season, I tend to do a more relaxed diet, where I eat when I am hungry, not just what time it is, but I make sure it’s still good for me and it’s enjoyable to eat.”

FILL IN THE BLANK: “My last meal on earth would be ______”

“Pizza. Definitely a New York-style pepperoni pizza. My favourite! That answer hasn’t changed since I was a kid.”


“The top of the guilty-pleasure list would be desserts. I need to treat myself to something every day—makes my stomach smile. Anything from ice cream (which I sometimes make myself) to small desserts from our local bakery.”


“Everyone gets their protein and healthy fats in different ways. I try to switch between the usual proteins beef, chicken, and fish, then add things avocado, broccoli, and asparagus. Other snacks cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and bananas with peanut butter are great too during the day when you need a pick-me-up. 

“It’s important to eat well, and by doing that, you help prevent injuries and build stronger muscles. Not only are foods these good for you, but they taste great, and it’s always fun trying to figure out new recipes with them.”

EGGS with Asian Brown Rice Salad


1. Fry 2 eggs in pre-heated cast iron skillet with sesame oil and butter.

2. Top with a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds.


1. Cook brown rice in a 1:1 water : vegetable stock and 1 tsp. of five spice.

2. Toss butternut squash in sesame oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and roast at 350 degrees until tender.

3. Toss purple kale with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil (1 tbsp. each for 1 head of  sliced kale), and roast at 350 degrees until tender.

4. Blanch 1/2 head of broccoli and toss with dressing.


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 sesame oil
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar 
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (or more to taste!)

Toss all the vegetables and rice together with pickled ginger, sliced green onions, and toasted sesame seeds.

Professional ballerinas reveal what they eat in a day

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

Published: 13:21 BST, 26 January 2018 | Updated: 16:37 BST, 26 January 2018

Whether you're watching Swan Lake or Black Swan, all ballerinas share one thing in common – their physique. 

And for decades, the industry has been rife with rumors of young dancers struggling with eating disorders to maintain their lean and lithe tutu-ready figures.

Slimming down for her role in Black Swan, Mila Kunis admitted to Howard Stern on his radio show that she resorted to drastic dieting measures to get down to 95 pounds, relying on a measly 1,200 calories per day and 'a lot of cigarettes'.

Daily dish: Ballerinas Jillian Vanstone (pictured), Tanya Howard, Jordana Daumec and Andreea Olteanu have revealed exactly what they eat in a day to Coveteur 

Myth buster: Dispelling the myth that ballerinas don't eat, each woman chows down on three meals per day plus snacks, pictured a cup of green tea in Jillian's dressing room

But one troupe of dancers is aiming to dispel the common cliché that ballerinas don't eat, by disclosing their daily diets.

Speaking to Coveteur, dancers Jillian Vanstone, Tanya Howard, Jordana Daumec and Andreea Olteanu from the National Ballet of Canada shared what they eat each day to stay in shape, and most importantly, fuel their performances. 

And while each woman's meal plan revealed healthy choices lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, they also included some not so virtuous items.

Jillian Vanstone, Principal Dancer

Jillian shared that although she is 'strict' about what she eats during the season, she ensures her daily diet is filled with nutrient-rich foods and if she's busy, splits her lunch in two so she can fuel her body as she needs to around rehearsals. 

She has been gluten-free for almost 10 years .  

'During a long rehearsal or performance day, it can be really hard to sit down for a proper meal, so I sometimes end up splitting my lunch into two and having snacks on hand,' she added.  

Her typical breakfast includes coffee, half a grapefruit, two boiled eggs and spinach sautéed in olive oil.

Balanced: Principal dancer Jillian Vanstone follows a gluten free diet and includes lots of lean proteins and healthy fats in her meals, and also allows herself 90 percent dark chocolate

For lunch, she reaches for greens, a chicken breast and sweet potato in an olive oil vinaigrette. 

And for dinner, she has baked salmon with grainy mustard and steamed and buttered broccoli with sliced tomato and water.  

As chocolate is her 'guilty pleasure', she allows herself a couple of squares of Lindt 90 per cent dark chocolate every day, and also s to snack on blueberries and almonds. 

However, if she could choose to eat whatever she wanted, she would opt for Caesar salad, duck confit with fries and chocolate covered almonds.  

Tanya Howard, First Soloist

Tanya has a more relaxed approach to her diet during the off season as she isn't working out as much so not buring as many calories. 

However, as she has no dietary restrictions, she is pretty flexible with her diet, simply ensuring she has protein with all her meals. 

For breakfast she s to have two eggs with two pieces of toast with coffee, followed by a fruit salad mid-morning. 

Snack attack: First soloist Tanya Howard is pretty flexible when it comes to her diet but always ensures she eats enough protein and has snacks throughout the day

Then for lunch she'll have something a chicken club on a croissant with aged cheddar cheese, roasted Italian potato salad and iced tea or sparkling water.

An afternoon snack usually consists of coffee with a granola bar or nuts, and for dinner, she'll usually have chicken with rice and vegetables. 

Her death row meal would be a Bison Aussie burger (a burger with fried egg, pineapple and beets) however she does indulge her sweet tooth daily with chocolate. 

Jordana Daumec, Second Soloist

During the season, Jordana is relies on several snacks to replenish her energy throughout the day.

These include cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and bananas with peanut butter. 

'It's important to eat well, and by doing that, you help prevent injuries and build stronger muscles. Not only are foods these good for you, but they taste great, and it's always fun trying to figure out new recipes with them,' she added. 

Muscle builders: Jordana Daumec loves Japanese food and always ends her day with miso soup 

A typical day on her plate includes two eggs with a bowl of rice and a latte for breakfast, some honey Greek yogurt with cashews and banana mid-morning, and for lunch she s a chicken salad or a sandwich. 

Then for dinner, she usually opts for a Japanese meal, containing steak or salmon with rice, miso soup and a side of tomatoes, avocado and cucumbers. 

Her weaknesses include garlic aioli, and desserts ice cream or a cookie, but her ultimate guilty pleasure is New York style pepperoni pizza, her favorite since childhood. 

Andreea Olteanu, Corps de Ballet member

Admitting that during the busy season meals can easily be forgotten about, Andreea is careful to include lots of protein and healthy fats in her diet. 

She eats mostly organic and tries to avoid sugars, carbohydrates and processed foods, however she does drink wine or an Old Fashioned cocktail after dinner each day. 

Carb free: Andreea Olteanu, a Corps de Ballet member avoids carbs and processed foods but allows herself a glass of wine or Old Fashioned cocktail every night 

For breakfast, Andreea typically consumes two eggs with bacon on a bed of greens, accompanied by a cappuccino. 

Mid-morning she s to snack on apple with cinnamon, and for lunch eats fish (usually sardines or mackerel), dark green vegetables and a bottle of homemade kombucha. 

By mid-afternoon, she reaches for '99 per cent or 100 per cent chocolate and nuts' and for dinner opts for some kind of protein with vegetables. 

If she could indulge her ultimate food fantasy, she would head straight for the freezer section to pick up some Haagen Daz coffee ice cream. 

She also admitted that if she had to choose her last meal on earth it would contain sourdough bread straight from the oven, a rib-eye steak grilled in charcoal and home-cut fries with feta cheese.


What a professional ballet dancer eats in a day

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

Getty Images

Ever wondered what ballet dancers eat to maintain their strong but elegant physiques? Their jam-packed training sessions and back-to-back performance schedules can be gruelling, so how do they nourish their bodies? And how strict are their diets? Céline Gittens, a principal dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, takes us through her eating and exercise regime on a typical training day.

A cup of Yorkshire tea with milk, eggs and avocado on granary toast, plus one multivitamin

“The UK is known for its love of tea, so I had to find my favourite [Céline moved to Birmingham from Vancouver, Canada, in 2006]. I have a cup each morning with my eggs on toast.

It's really great to have eggs for a source of protein and long-lasting energy to carry me through the morning. I’ll have avocado as well – that’s usually quite a good fuel for my day – and I take a multivitamin daily. After eating, I get to work at 9.30am.

I'll do a 45-minute pilates session followed by an hour and 15-minute ballet class, which is focused on stamina building.

Richard Battye/Birmingham Royal Ballet

Banana or oatcakes, a diluted juice with salt

“Once class is over, I'll go into the first rehearsal of the day. Before this starts, I to have a banana to keep my energy, focus and brain power going. Sometimes I'll have oatcakes – another great source of energy.

“Water is the number one thing I drink during training. I also to have a juice with a pinch of salt mixed with water post activity – it's a good rehydration drink as I sweat a lot! I sometimes have coconut water too – it's great for replenishing the minerals lost in the body.”

Cheese sandwich with lettuce and shredded beetroot or a chicken pasta with stir-fried vegetables, and fruit on the side

“Our lunch break is an hour. It's enough time to eat and digest before we start dancing again. Although we have a really good canteen that offers a lot of healthy options, I always bring in my snacks and lunch from home.

As well as being a money saving strategy, I also think it's best to cook to make sure you get all the nutrients you need. I'll have a cheese sandwich with lettuce and shredded beetroot, because it's a good source of protein and carbohydrate, or chicken pasta with stir-fried vegetables.

I have really cut down on refined sugars, so after lunch I'll have a piece of fruit or something sweet.”

Andrew Ross/Birmingham Royal Ballet

Handful of nuts or a banana

“We have one or two 90-minute rehearsals in the afternoon, so I'll snack on nuts or a banana in-between these to keep me going until we finish for the day at 6.30pm.”

Grilled salmon with salad or chicken with stir-fried vegetables

“During a regular training week, I try not to eat too many carbohydrates in the evening. I’ll have some grilled salmon with salad or chicken with a stir fry. It's different when I'm performing. I'd have something more substantial a pasta bolognese after a show.”

Refined sugars, alcohol and skipping meals

“I try to stay away from refined sugars and fizzy drinks. As the body tries to process the sugar, it really puts on extra strain – it's something that us athletes could do without. It's the same with alcohol – I avoid it during my training because it's empty calories and it doesn't do anything for my fitness level.

“After a performance, I might occasionally have a Coca-Cola if I'm really craving it. Sometimes you have to listen to yourself. But I think the most important thing is not to skip meals if you're trying to keep healthy. You need to keep your metabolism going and when it stops being fed, it slows down and can make your body hold onto weight.”

Drew Tommons/Birmingham Royal Ballet

Doughnuts and walking

“My days off and summer time are more relaxed. I usually go home to Vancouver and I’ll try out the amazing doughnuts or I’ll eat whatever I’m craving at that time.

My diet isn't as restricted as when I’m training and while other dancers try other forms of exercise such as cycling, I choose to rest rather than taking on a different training option.

The most I would do is go for a walk.”

Plan ahead

“It takes a lot of discipline and time to change your eating habits – planning is key if you want to stay on track and reach goals of cutting out naughty foods. In the end you get into that routine and it has good effects.

“I would also recommend exercising at least twice a week – it doesn’t have to be running a marathon, it could just be walking or cycling somewhere you would usually use a car or public transport to get to. Anything that is active can be fun, especially if you exercise with friends. Then you have a support group when you don't really feel working out.”


What Do Ballerinas Eat?

The Ballerina Diet: What Do Ballerinas Actually Eat?

Home Best Eats Diet

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With intense daily training and much-need high energy levels, their daily needs can go up and down. And while the dancer look is typically long, lean muscles, their diet isn’t lean on food at all.

In fact, Amanda Murray, chef de cuisine at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), tells us that her ballerinas eat very much a professional athlete would.

“Dancers are athletes, and many athletes have very similar diets because they are all involved in highly intensive training.”

Here are 10 facts about the ballerina’s diet, that even surprised us.

photo credit: Canada's National Ballet School

The sports nutrition expert says: “Food is fuel. Young dancers need nutritious meals and snacks for healthy growth and sufficient energy for high-intensity training. They are encouraged to eat what they need, without deprivation, to fuel their bodies well. They learn to choose what they enjoy eating their dietary needs and any restrictions they may have.”

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “Dancers, both males and females, must maintain a balanced diet and eat a wide variety of foods in order to sustain limber and injury-free bodies.

Dancers at NBS exert a lot of energy and are offered a large variety of healthy meals, loaded with proteins and complex carbs, as well as snacks throughout the day to keep up their energy levels and keep them healthy.”

“Athletes need to consume food with good quality carbohydrates, and products that are unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and even nuts and seeds.

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “The first meal of the day is at 7:15 a.m. and the last snack of the day is offered at 9:00 p.m. All students drink water throughout the day.”

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “The key is to eat real food – in the least processed form possible – and eat a wide variety of each type of food – fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, and legumes. Animal foods are fine to consume, but dancers must keep an eye on their serving sizes, as they’ll need less meat to reach protein adequate levels.”

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “During Assemblée Internationale 17, here’s what a day of meals looked :”

  • Breakfast: Roasted vegetable quiche, blueberry oatmeal, and there is always an assortment of cold cereal, whole wheat toast/English muffins, an egg/other protein, hot cereal, rice/grain and vegetable to choose from. There is also a smaller “salad” bar with fresh fruit, some meats and cheeses.
  • Lunch: Turkey chili, herb and garlic tilapia with red quinoa and rice, always hot vegetables served as well as a salad bar.
  • Dinner: Mandarin chicken with organic brown rice, chickpea curry with roasted vegetables, and again, there are always hot vegetables offered as well as a salad bar.
  • Snack: Pita, olives and hummus, and peach yogurt parfaits

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “Drinking enough water in the day is essential for all athletes, dancers are also encouraged to eat fruits as they are a good source of water, among other things.” Water benefit for muscles.

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “Everyone needs a small amount of vitamins to maintain their health, regulate tissue growth, making numerous chemical reactions work in the body, and so on.

Each vitamin has a specific role in maintaining a healthy body. Vitamins can be found in fatty fishes, egg yolk, fruits and vegetables.

We use minerals iron, potassium, zinc and copper to make biochemical reactions work in our body.”

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “Unsaturated fats, specifically essential fatty acids, are a great source of energy and give athletes twice the fuel of carbohydrates.”

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “Amino acids make up proteins, and are the building blocks of everything from muscle to skin, to fingernails. Protein does not only mean animal-based foods, plants are also made of protein.” Examples include pecans, walnuts, black beans, pinto beans, quinoa and oats.

photo credit: shutterstock

The sports nutrition expert says: “NBS encourages young dancers to take a simple approach to healthy eating with balanced meals that touches on each of the six essentials: Water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

“It’s all about balance and choosing the right food to eat when you’re hungry. Reaching for a healthy, unprocessed snack is always the best option.”

For more reading, Murray suggests the book, A Dancer’s Guide to Healthy Eating, which is published by the NBS.

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