Desert Companion

The Answers: What do ballet dancers eat?

Q: What do ballet dancers eat?

A: I eat many small meals a day in order to keep in top shape for the eight hours I dance each day, six days a week. My typical day might go like this: A light breakfast of oatmeal or avocado, with coffee or tea. For a midmorning snack, I’ll have some sugar snap peas and hummus. At lunch, I usually have a salad with some type of protein in it — whether it’s chicken, tuna or black beans. To tide me over in the afternoon, I’ll snack on a banana, sometimes with peanut butter. And for dinner, I might have sushi, a salad, some sort of rice dish or even the occasional hamburger. It’s important that dancers eat in moderation — and in a very conscious and disciplined way. Our body is our tool in this art form, so it’s a delicate balance to maintain a healthy physique that’s very strong, yet with lean muscles.

But just because we have good posture doesn’t mean we’re snobs. We like to have fun — and we love our desserts and fast food just like anyone else! (I especially love ice cream and homemade cookies.) And yes, during the season, I like to have a glass of wine with my dinner, or grab a drink with a friend.

Is this diet a chore? Not at all. Over time, it’s become more of a habit. Besides, eating unhealthy foods just does not give me the energy I need and doesn’t make my body feel as good as eating healthy food. I don’t deprive myself, but at the same time I don’t want to overdo it and then regret what I have eaten later on – especially when I’m trying to keep up with the physical demands of dancing full-time — a dream job I feel very fortunate to have.  

Support comes from

Betsy Lucas is a Nevada Ballet Theatre company dancer. Nevada Ballet Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet West perform George Balanchine’s “Jewels” Oct. 13-14 at The Smith Center. Info: nevadaballet.org

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