What a Dancer Eats in a Day
Ever wondered what a ballerina’s meal plan is like? Professional dancer Djouliet Amara sets the perfect example; packed with nutrients as well as occasional cheat meals, Amara’s diet serves as the perfect fuel for her body. “I try to incorporate all of the food groups into my meals for peak performance,” the dancer--who has been in commercials for the New York Lottery and Alvin Ailey--asserts. “I am also an advocate for not restricting your foods. I think it’s important to listen to your body, get in tune, and respond to your cravings. The amount of food I eat varies, depending on my daily activity level. If I know I’ll be rehearsing for multiple hours, I’ll definitely need to eat more than I typically do on a day off where I may take one dance class and have the rest of the day available to play.” Below, Amara reveals what a typical day of eating is like for her and recommends a variety of meal suggestions.
Breakfast (8-10 am):
“I usually wake up and lay in bed for about an hour responding to emails and checking out if I have any auditions or castings that day. I put on some tunes and eventually manage to pull myself out of bed. Usually sore. Always hungry. Often, I’ll have a casting I need to attend. I like to fuel my body with a vegan parfait bowl I make myself at home. Lavva is my favorite brand of vegan yogurt. It’s plant-based, and I usually top a cup of the yogurt with half a banana, a handful of blackberries, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and whatever granola is available (usually any granola from Trader Joe’s). This holds me over until after any morning auditions/castings are done--and it’s so yummy!”
Lunch (12-2 pm):
“During lunch, I’m usually ravenous! But I have to admit, I hardly ever cook lunch at home. Since I’m usually out and about by this time of day, I love to hit up one of my favorite restaurants for my second meal. My go-to meal is a pasta bowl from La Botaniste, my go-to vegan restaurant! It’s basically a giant hearty bowl of gluten-free pasta topped with tofu bolognese, chunky autumnal veggies, and hot sauce that I add on top. It’s super healthy, and there are a lot of carbs to keep my wheels turning for the rest of the day. Lunchtime is also my time to make sure I drink a lot of water.”
“Between meals, I always make sure I fuel myself if need be. As a dancer, I’ll often have a burst of hunger right after rehearsal/class, and it’s usually because I need a little protein pick-me-up. My favorite snack bars are the Amazing Greens Protein Superfood Bars from The Vitamin Shop! There are different flavors, and I love having something in my bag that’s easy to munch on. Since I’m not a vegan (but tend to eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan foods), sometimes I’ll take a hard-boiled egg with me to class if I think I’ll be exerting myself a lot that day. I’ll often also run to the nearest grocery store after class and grab a quick fruit, like an orange, and apple, or another banana with some almond butter (single pouches by Justin’s brand).”
“My favorite dinner these days is a vegetable curry with white jasmine rice. Getting a lot of veggies in is super important to me as a performer--I try to incorporate lots of colorful fruits and veggies. The curry I make uses water, curry powder cubes from The Amish Market, beets, multicolor carrots, sweet potato, collard greens, mushrooms, and tofu. You could add any veggies that suit your mood, but this combination is my favorite! I’ll often end my dinner with some kind of sweet snack; it’s often dark chocolate or candied ginger...or both! Some days, I eat one of the banana chocolate chip muffins my roommates make for dessert, or I’ll pick up a cup of Trader Joe’s hot chocolate. I believe in treating myself every single day by making every meal a meal that I love.”