Finding Balance Inside & Outside of the Studio: Creating a Fuel Mix
With summer intensives just around the corner, your dancing is about to enter turbo mode. How will you benefit most from your intensive? It’s all about balance! However, I’m not talking about your balance in the studio. I’m referring to the balance on your plate.
So, how do you balance your plate just as well as you balance your pirouettes? Create a fuel mix! Whether it’s a meal or a snack, make sure it includes the three major macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Each macronutrient has it’s own specific role in the body.
Carbohydrates (also known as carbs) provide the necessary sugars that your body needs for energy. For an added bonus, choose complex carbs like those found in minimally processed whole foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, veggies, and fruit. Complex carbs are high in fiber, which is a functional component that helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of the sugars. This will give your body a steady level of energy throughout longer days.
The next addition to your fuel mix? Add protein! While carbs provide your body with efficient energy, protein helps to repair and rebuild torn muscles. Try leaner sources of protein like low-fat dairy products (Greek yogurt, Kefir, milk, & cheese), eggs, lean meats, chicken, and turkey. Great vegetarian options include beans, lentils, quinoa and faro.
The last macronutrient needed for your fuel mix is fat. While fats may get a bad rep, they’re essential to your body! Among other roles, fats allow your body to absorb certain nutrients. There are several different types of fats, but some are much better for you than others. Make sure to include foods high in heart healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and wild sustainably- caught fish. These heart healthy fats will also help to lessen the natural inflammation that occurs from intense workouts and dancing.
Now that you’re ready to create a fuel mix, check out some of my favorites:
1. Top your favorite unsweetened Greek yogurt with 3 tablespoons of chopped nuts (I love almonds!) and sprinkle with ground flaxseeds and chia seeds. Drizzle some honey and enjoy!
2. Spread a ½ cup of mashed avocado on 2 slices of whole grain bread and top with a sliced, soft-boiled egg. Not into the egg? Sprinkle some shelled hemp seeds for a protein boost.
3. Create a grain bowl using 1 cup of cooked quinoa as your base. Mix in veggies of your liking and top with grilled chicken. Dress with a simple vinaigrette (my current go-to?) Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil-based Lemon Turmeric dressing.