1) SNACKS! (100 or less calories snacks)
- 1 apple
- 1/2 banana (with peanut butter)
- 1/2 cantaloupe
- 1 cup of berries + 2 tablespoons of yogurt with honey
- 1/4 avocado
- 25 grapes
- 1 cup of pineapple
- Sliced tomato with olive oil (I add a bit of black pepper on top)
- 1 cup of carrots (you can add a healthy dressing)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 slice of wheat bread + 2 egg whites
- Granola bar (I prefer the ones with almond and peanut butter)
- 1/2 English muffin
- 1 cheese string + 5 crackers
- Starbucks Tall Skinny Latte
- 12 almonds
- 20 peanuts
- Graham crackers (4 squares)
- 1 1/2 cups of microwave popcorn (no butter added)
- 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt or ice cream
- 5 Hersheys Dark Chocolate kisses
- 20 mini pretzels
- 1 baked potato
When? Before dancing/rehearsal/working out
Why? Nutrition status can have a heavy influence on our energy levels. When dancing (or doing any type of workout) for a long of time, our nutrition levels will decrease. We need to make sure we replace any losses in our body. Going too long without eating decreases our metabolism and burns muscle for fuel (you feel weaker and are at greater risk for injury)
Recommendations? I prefer to try two of these snacks, and get 200 calories from them in my dancing days. When you are burning a lot of energy, starving not only decreases your performance, but has been proven to actually increase body fat %. Your body composition will improve!
2) Berry Smoothie
- Handful of strawberries
- Handful of blackberries
- Handful of blueberries
- Handful of raspberries (optional)
- 1/2 water cup
- Mint leaves (optional - I add 1 or 2 leaves)
- Chia seeds/Flax seeds (optional - I add one spoon of each)
Blend them all together and enjoy.
Why? The phytonutrients in berries are full of antioxidants, antiflammatory, anticancer and cleansing properties. They boost your immunity system, improves your digestive tract and they are a great source of energizant. Blackberries alone contain up to 30% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.
Recommendations? Play a bit with the amount of each berry you include, you may like better the flavor of one over the other. I highly suggest including the chia/flax seeds because you don't even feel them in the smoothie, and they are a GREAT source for fiber and energy. This is by far my favorite smoothie - it fills me up with energy, especially during my dancing days.
When? An hour BEFORE working out
Why? Bananas are not only filled with digestible carbohydrates (considered to be fuel for our bodies), but are also rich in potassium, which helps to maintain and improve our muscle and nerve function.
Recommendations? I suffered from chronic tendinitis in both my ankles for a long time, and after receiving proper treatment, the hardest part was getting back in track - and eating bananas before any workout (in my case, dancing) helped improve my performance. I highly recommend to at least give it a shot.
4) Greek yogurt (with berries and/or granola)
When? Within one hour AFTER working out (during this time, your body is at its peak for nutrient absorption).
Why? Greek yogurt has double the protein than regular yogurt (protein helps build lean muscle). It is also a great source for carbohydrates (fills you up with energy). Berries have proven to fight muscle soreness (they break down nutrients so they can be delivered to the sore muscles), and granola is rich in fiber and protein (which reloads the muscle with energy).
Recommendations? The protein/carbohydrate combination is an amazing one. They both work together helping in keeping your energy levels up for longer and preventing you from feeling hungry too quickly (as a team, they slow down the rate at which your blood rises and falls). Staying fit and in shape is not only about cutting down fast foods and toxins, but also learning how to restore energy in your body after a workout. I dance and do other type of fitness activities such as yoga and pilates everyday, and hence, can't afford to mistreat my body by not reloading it with the proper nutrients. Plus, Greek yogurt is the best.