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Eating on a budget.

Dancers are faced with many challenges in meeting their daily nutritional requirements. In a previous article in this series, we discussed the importance of eating for high energy October 1993 Young Dancer Supplement]. A concern for many young dancers is finding affordable ways to eat properly.

Many foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, and therefore good sources of energy, are also quite inexpensive. These foods include pastas, potatoes, rice, beans, and starchy roots, which don't cost much at all. Quick and easy to prepare, pasta dishes and rice-and-bean combinations are great choices if you're pressed for time and money.

Salads are a good choice for these same reasons. They supply plenty of nutrients as well as fiber. They can be prepared in advance and eaten between classes or rehearsals. Be careful, though, when choosing a dressing. Many are high in calories and fat.

Diets high in vegetables and low in meat fit well into a limited budget and are nutritionally advisable. Like rice and pastas, vegetables are complex carbohydrates, and they are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Fruits make good, inexpensive midday snacks, for quick energy boosts. If you are a vegetarian, though, you must plan your meals with extra care. Because of the nature of vegetable protein, it is often difficult to get all of the essential amino acids you need for body maintenance and tissue repair.

You can also save money by avoiding soft drinks and commercial "electrolyte replacement" drinks. They contain high amounts of sugar, which can actually drain the body of energy. It is important to drink several glasses of water throughout the day. Never use thirst as an indicator for drinking: By the time you have become thirsty, your body has already become dehydrated - and vulnerable to injury and fatigue.

Planning in advance is another way to cut food costs. Every dancer's schedule should include meal planning and careful shopping, as well as time set aside for meal preparation.

Finally, to fill in all the nutritional gaps, I recommend taking a daily multivitamin and multimineral supplement.

Helpful Food Ideas

* If you have a juicer, use it! Fresh raw vegetable and fruit juices provide great nutritional value, quick energy, and take five minutes to prepare.

* Fill small Baggies with unsulfured dried fruit (4 apricots, 1 fig, apple rings) mixed with 4 raw almonds and raw pumpkin seeds.

* Carry herbal tea bags with you. Ginseng, peppermint, and spearmint are energizing. Chamomile is calming. Pick up hot water and lemon while you're out.

* At salad bars concentrate on the raw fresh foods and simple baked vegetables. Half of a fresh lemon is a great dressing.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Young Dancer; economic survival for student dancers
Author:Benedikt, Howard
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Previous Article:Momix journal.
Next Article:Canadian Children's Dance Theatre.

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