Nutrition for Dancers

What and How to Pack Snacks for your Dancer

Whether your dancer is taking 3 classes in one day after school, or you’re just trying to think ahead for what to prepare for dress rehearsal and recital days, what to pack for snacks and meals is ALWAYS a conversation that comes up between dance parents.

Age of dancer: One of the biggest things to consider for what you’re going to pack is your dancer’s age and ability to open their own food items. Between the costume changes, makeup fixes, and “I can’t find my shoe” moments, the mom helping backstage with your dancer’s class isn’t also going to have time to open your little one’s food items.

Allergies: Before packing your snacks, ask Ms. Mariah if there is a concern about food allergens from anyone that your child may encounter during class or dress rehearsal/recital. Better safe than sorry!

Clean vs. Messy: This is HUGE, especially during dress rehearsal or recital. Stay away from foods and beverages that stain, leave cheese/powder marks, are sticky, are melty, are juicy. That plastic cup of pineapple may seem like an excellent idea, but let’s go ahead and drain the juice and put the pineapple pieces in a plastic baggie or small container. Red Powerade may be your dancers favorite thirst quencher, but pack clear or almost clear Powerade instead.

And while on the topic of messy…unwrap cheese sticks, remove outer packaging, or anything you can do to make your dancer have easy access to their food will be appreciated by everyone. No one has to run around looking for trash cans or picking up after someone else’s dancer.

Sugar crashes: Leave the candy, cookies, and toaster pastries at home! Though your dancer will probably be HANGRY, a sugar crash is not going to be good for anyone on a long day.

Quick Grab Snacks: I purchase the individual snack size plastic bags which enable me to pack more compact and efficiently.

Pretzel sticks, trail mix (no chocolate!), apple slices, green grapes, granola, granola bars, wheat crackers, mixed nuts…anything that helps keep energy up!

Meals or Something More Substantial: In our house, we make our own version of “Lunchables”. I use medium size plastic containers and fill them up! This way, my dancer can eat as much as she wants and go back for more later.

Here are some examples:

Lunchable #1: Mozzarella cheese stick, apple slices and individual pack of peanut butter, diced ham, and baby pickles

Lunchable #2: Cheddar cheese stick, baby carrots and sugar snap peas with a small container of ranch dressing, pretzels, and sliced turkey (rolled up)

Lunchable #3: Two Babybel Gouda cheese rounds, mixed nuts, hardboiled egg (halved), grape tomatoes, and green grapes