Nutrition for Dancers

Did you know?

• Energy comes from carbohydrate and fat.

• Dance mainly involves short bursts of high intensity activity that is fuelled by carbohydrates.

• Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle and liver as glycogen and these stores need to be replenished after training or performance, ideally in the first hour.

• Dancers need to get at least 50% of their energy from carbohydrate, not more than 30-35% from fat and 12-15% of energy from protein. This is slightly more carbohydrate and slightly less fat than a non-dancer would consume.

• Food is not just needed for energy, our bodies need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, which are found in greater concentration in wholegrain foods and fruit and vegetables.

• The Eatwell plate is a good starting point for proportions of the different food groups in your eating plan and to check you have all the food groups covered.
• Make sure you are a ‘Five-a-Day Dancer’ (that’s at least five portions of fruit and salad/vegetables not 5 dance classes per day!)

clock• Food eaten later in the day is no more ‘fattening’ than at other times despite popular myth. But starving all day and then eating at night is not healthy.

• 1 unit of alcohol is equivalent to 8g alcohol, which is equivalent to 25ml (a single pub measure) of spirits, 75-110ml (a small glass) of wine (depending on the strength), 180-280ml (⅓-½ pint) of beer (depending
on the strength), or 220ml (⅔ bottle) of Alco pop.

• Taking alcohol after an injury may worsen swelling and slow repair – it is advisable to avoid alcohol for 24 hours after muscle damage or soft tissue injury.


– Challis, J, 2014. Nutrition for Dancers, Dance UK Information Sheet, 12.