Ever since being a young dancer I have always had a difficult time eating before any form of exercise which is ultimately not good because I was not fueling my body properly. So over the years I have discovered small, nutrient dense meals or snacks that pack a big punch but do not weigh me down! And as we are heading into 2017 it’s always nice to start off on the right track and put the holiday food behind us!
This super simple meal, toast with avocado and berries is great because it is quick, is a meal packed with superfoods and provides long lasting energy. Seeing as how there is really not a “recipe” to share here, I want to share the amazing properties of these foods instead!
Toast: I like to pick a bread that is organic, non-GMO, and is made with no artificial preservatives, no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. Currently my favorite bread is Franz Organic Twenty Four Grains and Seeds. I just love the taste of a grainy-seedy bread! But that’s just me! I would suggest making it a habit to use bread that is low in sugar and is nutrient dense (whole grains or seeds) versus plain white bread. Don’t be afraid of bread! Dancers need the carbohydrates to fuel their muscles quickly for readily available energy.
Avocado: This fruit is packed with nutrients! It provides vitamin K (regulates normal blood clotting, transports calcium throughout the body and may prevent bone loss), folate (key factor in developing red blood cells, reduces depression, is required for normal brain function and reproductive health), vitamin C (protect against immune deficiencies, heart disease, eye disease and aides in skin health), potassium (reduces risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, aides in heart and kidney function, reduces anxiety and stress, enhances muscle strength, helps maintain water balance, electrolyte functions and in nervous system function), vitamin B5 (required for normal growth and development) and B6 (immune system function and helps break down proteins) and vitamin E (protects cells against damage by free radicals, maintains muscle function, assists in formation of red blood cells) as well as other trace minerals. Avocados are also a good source of fiber (lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, maintains bowel health and prolongs satiety), protein (avocados contain all the required amino acids to form a complete protein! This is good news if you are a vegetarian!) and are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (heart healthy fats that are critical in lowering bad cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease). Healthy fats are also important for dancers and athletes as they provide the much needed long term energy reserve for your body.
Strawberries: These berries are rich in vitamin C and packed with antioxidants! Strawberries help maintain eye health, promote skin health, provide anti-inflammatory properties, fight against heart disease, regulate blood pressure and are a good source of fiber.
Blueberries: It’s no wonder these berries have been the title of one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world when they help fight against aging, promote brain health, support digestion, promote heart health, promote skin health, assist in weight loss and have even been shown to have caner fighting properties in clinical studies!
Like I said, this is a quick, easy, nutrient dense and satisfying meal that will provide quick and long lasting energy that is great for dancers before class, before rehearsal, as a snack or even before cross training activities! I have found this to be a great meal before my road races because the selected foods provide all the nutrients and energy I need without weighing me down!
Stay healthy, happy and dancing!