Young Dancers and Food

I like to start my dance classes off with a terminology game, a little history, or sometimes I just ask a question. Not long ago I asked my students, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” I heard everything from the power to fly to understand and speaking to animals. But, the one I remember most was from a girl nearly 8 years old. She wanted the the power to eat as much junk food as she wanted without gaining a single pound.


Her response stunned me and I thought immediately… I’ve got to figure out how to teach my students about nutrition! Ironically this months Dance Teacher magazine had an article with some suggestions and ideas about teaching nutrition. However, I struggle with how the information will transfer. It’s one thing to inform my students, but how can I stop their parents from sending them to dance class with a bag fast food or giving their child money for the vending machines? Some of my students are so young and can’t see the effects of what junk and processed food does to their body. In fact, they might not have noticed how it makes them feel aside from their mouth watering at the mention of french fries.

Artwork by Andy Council


So my plan of attack is to start a conversation with my students. I want to know what they perceive as junk food verses healthy food. With that information I’m hoping to figure out how to approach this subject on their terms. I like the idea of a Jeopardy style game, an eat this, not that demonstration, but I think my strongest superpower will be getting them to notice how junk food makes them feel. Stay tuned to learn how my quest to teach nutrition goes! 

P.S. Do you have any suggestions, tips, or tricks? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Nutrition – Immune Booster Smoothie


Nutrition is a key element to keep dancers on their toes. We all know food fuel our bodies, but what kinds of food are you putting into your body? Is it really energizing you or are you just taking in empty calories?

I am by no means a nutritionist however, I am a person who cares about food. As a dancer who LOVES to eat, I struggled with weigh-ins, kept food journals, and was constantly penny pinching. Like most people I was faced with the decision of a cheap ready-made-meals verses tackling an recipe with fresh foods that might put me over budget. What is a dancer to do? Well, I’ll save you some time and tell you what I did!

1. Get Educated!
There are tons of books, movies, and TV shows, that open my eyes. I’ve read books like In Defenses Of Food and The China Study, watched Fast Food Nation, and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. The more I learned the more shocked I became at what I’ve put into my body. “Knowledge is key”

2. Go Fresh!
If you can’t pronounce the words on box of food you’re about to eat, chances are it’s not good for you. Yes, I know buying fresh can be costly however, I’ve found buying in season or in bulk has saved money. I promise you will feel the difference in your body, energy level, and attitude, in less than a week.

3. Learn to Cook!
In the past my idea of cooking was microwaving. But, one day I happened to watch an episode of Giada De Laurentiis on The Food Network. It literally changed cooking for me. I learned cooking is so much easier than I anticipated. I can control what I’m putting into each recipe and make it healthy. Now that I cook, my husband and I have lost 32 lbs. combined in just a few short months. Basically if you can read, you can cook!

To help you on your way to a healthier dance body I’ve attached link to a fabulous recipe from the Green Smoothie Girl with photos and instructions by the lovely Katie Dudley. Just click on the picture and Enjoy!