Even though it may not seem like it, summer is right around the corner. This means that you may soon find yourself in a new place dancing for hours on end at a summer intensive. It will be more important than ever to maintain a balanced diet to stay energized and healthy through the duration of your program. Eating full meals becomes a challenge during intensives due to the packed schedules and sporadic breaks. So, how do you avoid feeling hungry right in the middle of an intense variations class? Try bringing snacks with you to the studio so you can grab a bite in between rehearsals! The Barre team is here to suggest some of out favorite healthy snacks that will fuel you through an entire intensive.
Barre. A Real Food Bar: Sure, it’s our own product, but since Barres were developed by a principal dancer, they were created with the purpose of keeping us fueled throughout long rehearsals. Barres have the perfect balance of slow and fast burning carbs, protein, and fiber for sustained energy. They also provide natural electrolyte replacement with naturally occurring sodium. Make sure you have a box in your dorm this summer!
When you’re craving something sweet…
Fruit: Refreshing on a hot summer day, fresh fruit provides a great source of fiber, boosts your energy with naturally occurring sugar, and helps to fulfill your daily requirement for vitamins and minerals. Here are some fruits that will be perfect for summer time:
- Apples: High in fiber and coming in at only 80 calories per fruit, they will help keep you full longer and are especially easy to eat. Try slicing one and spraying with lemon juice to keep it from browning.
- Avocado: High in vitamin E and folate, they are a good source of healthy, monounsaturated fat. Try half an avocado on some crackers, in a wrap, or just on its own.
- Berries: Summer is the best time of year for berries. Try having darker berries such as blueberries and blackberries to boost your antioxidant intake
- Melon: Watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe are at their peak in summer. Cantaloupe is high in vitamin A and potassium (which is key in preventing muscle cramps), and has only 25 calories in half a cup!
- Figs: Also readily available dried, figs are high fiber, filling, and are a great source of potassium, bone-healthy calcium, and folate.
- Bananas: A good source of fiber, and provide you with vitamin B6 and potassium. Pair them with a tablespoon of nut butter for a quick and energizing snack.
Dried Fruit: Less messy than fresh fruit, dried fruit is available year round, provides a great source of fiber, and gives your blood sugar a boost. Just make sure you keep track of quantity… it’s easy to eat too much of these tasty treats!
Dark Chocolate: If you’re craving something a bit richer, opt for a square of dark chocolate. It’s heart healthy, satisfying, energizing, rich in antioxidants, and has been found to improve short-term brain alertness. It may just help you pick up an extra tricky combo faster!
If you’re after something with a crunch…
Air-popped Popcorn: Skip the chips and opt for some salt-free, oil-free air popped popcorn! With only 30 calories in one cup, 1g of fiber and protein, this healthy snack is high in micro-nutrients and has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar.
Whole Grain Cereal and Granola: If you choose to munch on some cereal or granola or add it to your yogurt, make sure you choose a whole grain, low fat, and low sugar variety. You can buy an all natural, healthy brand or even make your own!
Vegetables: Veggies have a high fiber content, vitamins and minerals, are low calorie, low fat, and generally have less sugar than fruit. Some of our favorite portable veggies are baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, bell pepper, and cucumber. Each veggie has different vitamins and minerals, so try to aim for an assortment of colors and types. Veggies are also perfect for pairing with high-protein yogurt dips, hummus, and nut butters.
Whole Grain Crackers and Rice Cakes: Make sure you choose a baked whole grain cracker that is not made from refined flours, as it will keep your blood sugar more level. Crackers can be a great source of healthy carbs and a vehicle for proteins such as cheese, nut butter, and dips.
Dried Seaweed: A snack growing in popularity, seaweed is incredibly low in calories, contains fiber, is high in antioxidants, and balances blood sugar. You can also get flavored versions if you’re craving something saltier.
To get you through a long day (aka high-protein foods)…
Nuts and seeds and butters: Nuts are a great and satisfying source of protein. Just make sure you eat them in reasonable portion sizes (around ¼ cup of whole nuts or 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter) because of their high calorie and fat content. Some of the top nuts and seeds to eat include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds and almonds. They all have between seven and eight grams of protein per ¼ cup. If you choose nut butter, it’s best to buy an all-natural brand that doesn’t contain extra sweeteners and hydrogenated vegetable oils. You can even buy single-serving packets at your local supermarket!
Tofu: A complete protein, a 3- oz. slice of firm tofu contains 13 grams of protein! You can also buy flavored varieties and use it in salads, wraps, or on its own with veggies.
Eggs: Another wonderful protein source, one egg has around six grams of protein. They are high in cholesterol, so make sure to consume them in moderation.
Cheese: An easy, mess-free snack, low-fat cheese is a great source of on-the-go protein. Try an individual Babybell cheese or a low-fat mozzarella stick, which has around six to eight grams of protein per serving.
Greek and Icelandic yogurt: Both varieties have significantly higher protein content than typical yogurt, with 15-20 grams in one six-ounce serving. Try to buy a flavored variety that doesn’t have too much added sugar, or buy plain and add your own fruit or granola.
Cottage Cheese: Like yogurt, cottage cheese can be combined with fruits and veggies for a well-rounded snack. ½ a cup contains around 14 grams of protein. Try adding some salt and pepper or cinnamon if you find it too boring on its own.
A Quick Refresher…
Frozen Fruit: Try freezing grapes or bananas for a refreshing, popsicle-like treat.
Smoothies: They can be made with fruits and veggies, yogurt, or protein powder for a nutritious snack. My favorite combo? Blend 1 banana, 6 oz Icelandic yogurt, ½ cup unsweetened soy milk, and a big handful of spinach until creamy. Yum!
Ice Water: Remember, hydration is just as important as sustenance. Drinking lots of fluids will keep your body working at its optimum level of performance. Make sure you’re drinking at least eight glasses of water per day!
Try mixing and matching all of these snacks until you find a combination that best suits your needs! Here’s to a healthy and tasty summer!
BIO: The Team at Barre contributes posts about food, snacks and healthy eating for 4dancers. The mission of Barre is to provide exceptional nutritional fortification for dancers and everyone else who demands clean, wholesome, nutritious and great tasting sustained energy. To accomplish this goal, Barre produces and distributes health-minded snacks and performance products specially formulated to live up to the rigors of such a demanding artist-athlete lifestyle.