Pointe spoke with Roberta Anding, sports dietitian for Houston Ballet, about the biggest nutrition mistakes dancers don’t realize they’re making.
1. Being afraid of foods that are filling or cause temporary bloating. Nutrient-dense, moderate-calorie foods, such as broth-based soups, fruits, vegetables, skim milk and yogurt, will actually help keep hunger at bay. (Limit milk, however, if you are lactose intolerant.)
2. Eating too many nutrition bars. Although these products have nutritional value, they are still processed foods that often have added chemicals, sodium and sugar. You’re better off munching on whole fruits, vegetables or nuts.
3. Going on a colon-cleanse or detox diet. Your liver is a natural detoxifying organ—your body cleanses itself. These diets promote diarrhea, which not only dehydrates you but, as Anding says, “can be quite a performance buster.”
4. Eating too little. When you don’t get enough food, your metabolism slows down, lowering the amount of calories you burn.
5. Going on a low-carb diet. This reduces concentration and exercise capacity, so you’ll have a harder time picking up choreography and performing it. Both your muscles and your brain need the specific type of fuel that carbohydrates provide.