Ask a Dance Dietitian: Advice for Dancers Who Don’t Like Eating Breakfast

May 3, 2024

“I don’t like eating in the morning. What are some nutritious breakfast ideas for someone like me?” —Ana

Breakfast is important, and not just because it fills your need for a morning refuel. Eating a morning meal helps you access the spectrum of nutrients you need for energy replenishment and muscle recovery. But like you, many dancers struggle to hit the morning quota.

Time constraints are a common reason why dancers skip breakfast, along with a lack of hunger cues. When we skip meals or under-eat for a prolonged period, our bodies adapt in a way that diminishes our ability to feel hunger. So if you’ve missed out on eating breakfast for a while, your sense of morning hunger could be lessened. Another culprit is waking up feeling overly full, especially if last night’s dinner was later than usual. If you’re experiencing nausea or stomach discomfort, eating in the early hours becomes even less appealing.

The problem, however, is that avoiding food in the morning can exacerbate this discomfort. Fullness is a natural response to eating and shouldn’t be misinterpreted as something that needs to be avoided. It may help to ease your way into the day. Drinking warm fluids may help to quell stomach discomfort, and light movement and foam rolling can release muscle tension in the abdominal area. Relying on a handful of energy-dense and easily digestible options will also support digestive regularity. Here are some examples:

Overnight Oats

A mason jar of overnight oats and chia seeds, topped with banana slices and nut butter.
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Overnight oats can be prepped days in advance. In a jar or container, combine a handful of rolled oats with your choice of milk or yogurt. Mix a spoonful of chia seeds, and drizzle with a sweetener like honey or maple syrup. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. You can customize your overnight oats with toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, or a sprinkle of cinnamon to help make breakfast more appealing.

Breakfast Smoothie

Woman pouring avocado and banana smoothie for a juice with healthy breakfast at home
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Breakfast smoothies are also helpful if you’re looking for a portable option. Blend together your favorite fruits, leafy greens, and a source of protein, like milk or yogurt. Yogurt is high in protein and probiotics, which can support gut health and keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next opportunity to eat. Another bonus is you can sip your smoothie slowly, which can help you feel more comfortable throughout the morning. If time allows, pour your smoothie into a bowl and top it with a handful of granola. You can add other ingredients like sliced bananas, shredded coconut, or dark chocolate chips.

Egg Bites

An overhead close-up photograph of a baking pan with freshly made egg bites, it appears the chef has already sampled one of them.
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Last, egg bites are a reliable and protein-rich option that can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply whisk together eggs and your choice of fillings. Colorful veggies, shredded cheese, and breakfast sausage or tofu are great add-ins. Pour the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Reheat and pair with fruit for a balanced start to your day.

Most importantly, it helps to consider breakfast an opportunity to optimize your dancing by fueling properly. Proactively planning with portable and energy-dense options can be incredibly helpful, especially if time is tight.

Have a question? Send it to registered dietitian nutritionist Rachel Fine at [email protected]. She’ll be answering questions on Pointe+ each month. Ask a Dance Dietitian responses are for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for individual medical or mental health advice.