Dance Nutrition 101: How to Stay Healthy While Dancing

An Introduction to Dance Nutrition 101

Proper dance nutrition is vital for dancers to perform their best and remain healthy. However, it can be challenging to understand which types of foods are best for dancers, and when to eat them. Along with the right foods, staying hydrated and getting lots of sleep are also important. In fact, “losing only 1% of your body weight in water can result in the ill effects of dehydration… and losing even 2% can result in huge deficits in physical and mental performance!” (Dance Informa).

Let’s explore the fundamentals of dance nutrition and dance nutrition 101! We will be covering planning ahead for success, maintaining balance in your diet and consulting with an expert for additional nutritional advice.


healthy foodsPlan Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time for Success

Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time ensures you’re setting yourself up for great nutrition throughout the day. Consider some of the following tips from Just For Kix for stellar dance nutrition:

  • Drink at least 8 to 16 ounces of a decaffeinated beverage at each meal to stay well-hydrated. Also, consider drinking 2 to 4 ounces of water every 15 minutes or so during more rigorous workouts.
  • “Packing healthy snacks allows you to control your health, your energy and have a better outcome on stage” (The Line Up). Consider some of these beneficial snack options: honey on toast, fruit and yogurt smoothie, and cottage cheese.
  • Your post-workout meals are important too! A mix of foods and fluids high in carbohydrates and protein within 30 mins to 1 hour after dancing helps your body recover and refuel so you are prepared for practice the next day.

Additional great snack options for dancers are deli turkey, apples or fresh grapes, and hard-boiled eggs.


All About Balance: What Makes a Great Diet?

Our bodies function best when they’re fueled with a variety of foods. There are six nutrient groups, which include: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. “Most foods contain more than one nutrient but it is important to eat a wide variety of food to make sure we get them all!” (Dance Informa).


  • It’s recommended that approximately half of a dancer’s daily intake come from carbohydrate-containing foods. Examples of these types of foods are: whole grains, rice, potatoes, fruit and yogurt.
  • Aim to eat 2 to 3 carbohydrate choices per meal. For example, ½ cup rice, 1 cup fresh berries and 1 cup low-fat milk. (Just For Kix)


  • Lean proteins help replenish your body after a long day of training! These foods include grilled chicken, fish, eggs, beans and beef.
  • Try to include protein at each meal, if possible. One way to do this is by including an egg or two at breakfast, Greek yogurt with lunch and ground beef for dinner. There’s a good chance you’re already including some of these elements into your diet already!


  • Heathy fats support growth and muscle recovery for dancers.
  • Examples of foods containing healthy fats are avocados, olive oil, and salmon.

Vitamins & Minerals

  • Consuming fruits and vegetables help keep your immune system super so you’re less apt to get run down and sick. Don’t forget to add these important elements to your diet!
  • Consider packing a cup of fresh fruit as a healthy snack after dance practice, or snacking on raw carrots or broccoli.


  • As we’ve mentioned before, water makes up an astounding 60-70% of our bodies! It goes without saying that it plays a massive tole in Water plays a huge role in maintaining a dancers’ health!
  • Every dancer is a little different but pre-professional and professional level dancers should aim for about 2800-3500ml (94-117 oz) of fluids every day.  That’s about 12 – 15 cups.  About 20-25% will come from
    foods like fruits and veggies, but about 80% comes from what
    you drink” (Dance Informa, 2012).


Jill MerckensAsk an Expert!

We know that trying to maintain the best dance nutrition as possible can be overwhelming. At Kennebec Dance Centre, we have dedicated Fitness and Nutrition Coach to help our dancers navigate their dietary needs.

Miss Jill is eager to work with people to build healthy habits at all ages. She is super excited about working with KDC to develop healthy fitness and nutrition skills to support the dancers! Miss Jill has completed Precision Nutrition Level 1 and Eat to Perform Body Recomposition Specialist certifications and spent time at University of Maine Orono studying Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

If you have a question for Miss Jill, please give our office a call at (207) 213-4121.



In Summary

Maintaining proper dance nutrition involves many different elements. To remain heathy, it’s important to not only eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates and proteins, but also drink enough water throughout the day, too. Remember, great nutrition needs to be practiced daily! If you’re not sure where to start, or are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to us and we would love to help you.