Are you looking for ways to fuel yourself or your dancer? Confused by all the information you see on the internet and hear at the studio? Maybe you’re recovering from an injury or have a bendy body and need some help nourishing your body to heal and perform.
I’ve been there! I grew up as a dancer and became a registered dietitian to answer the questions I had during my career. As a dance mom, I understand the practical side of putting together nourishing meals for kids and young adults with different schedules and different needs. I’ve created systems to help my clients create sustainable practices that help them:
It’s a tall order, but I’ve created a system that works. It can be customized to the individual based on their specific needs. The Ballet Bento System (R) is based on my years of experience as a dancer, mom, and nutrition professional. I’ll be going over all the details in my upcoming course, The Ballet Bento System, which starts with my favorite tool, you guessed it, the bento.
Having the right tool for the job always makes things easier, and who couldn’t use “more easy” in their life? Sure, a dinner knife can act as a stand-in for a screwdriver, a chair for a step ladder, but don’t things just go more smoothly when you have the proper tools?
When working with dancers, we want to craft meals that work within the predictably unpredictable schedules they have. Long days at the studio, rehearsal schedules, and school responsibilities mean dancers are away from home and easy access to wholesome foods. Pre-professional dancers are often still growing, and we should be mindful that their nutrition needs may vary from day-to-day.
The Ballet Bento is a tool to help dancers execute their nutrition plans. Artistic athletes (I’m looking at you ballerinas and ballet boys!) lead busy lives that don’t always leave time for them to sit down at the family table for meals. They need to fuel the demands of school, class, training, and rehearsal schedules. Their meals need to be nourishing, portable, and easy to eat on the go. If you’re a dance mom or dance dad, you know how challenging it can be to figure out what the right foods are to make or buy. This is for you, too.
Of course we talk about food and nutrition, but we talk about the mental and psychological role of food, too. That’s right, there are physiologic and psychologic aspects of performance nutrition. My approach looks at the whole person, including the artistic athlete’s relationship to food. Ballet Bentos help the dancer to employ the specific nutrition strategies we create for them as well as the skills of mindfulness, intention, and enjoying food that are key to wellness, longevity, and peak performance. They capitalize on the focus, precision, and often perfectionism that are qualities most of my clients possess. These characteristics drive success, but they can also drive disordered eating.
Disordered eating and eating disorders are on the rise. We are seeing more eating disorders in younger children and older adults than ever before. Disordered eating is complicated and multi-factorial, and not limited to any particular demographic. However, some populations are more susceptible than others, notably those who compete in weight class sports (ex: wrestling and crew), endurance athletes, aesthetic sports. and artistic athletes like dancers. Aesthetic sports/athletes include ballet dancers, cheerleading/cheer, dance/dancers, gymnastics,/gymnasts skating/skaters, and other sports where there are expectations for physique.
Bentos are a tool that I can use as part of a strategy to prevent eating disorders by tapping into the character traits that drive my clients’ success while providing for their nutrition needs for optimal performance. Part of my system includes the idea of a Hold Space.
Hold Space: Where we set aside what we think, reserving thoughts and judgments, to keep an open area for someone else’s needs, thoughts, or beliefs.
Every bento should have a Hold Space. All the “have to’s” and “need to’s” can go in the other wells, and we reserve a space to account for being human. Sometimes we really just want to have some chips. If it’s our birthday, maybe it’s important to have a cupcake or macaroon. If it’s going to be a long day, more protein. Maybe it’s not even more food we need, but words of affirmation. Whatever it is, I hold space for the dancer/athlete to examine what they want, what they need, and fill their well accordingly.
The rest of the bento is built around the individual’s unique needs. Rest days look different from heavy-training days. Performance days are different from training or rehearsal days. The bento provides the outline or structure of the meal. The needs of the dancer determine how we fill in the bento blanks or wells.
If you’re interested in my upcoming course The Ballet Bento System, click here to learn more and be the first to know about release dates.
Click here for printable versions of my Ballet Bento System Quick Guide.
Click here to see how it looks on a plate.
If you can’t wait for the course or would prefer to work with me 1:1, schedule a discovery call to talk about how I can help you. Here’s the link to my on-line calendar. If you’re under 18, please make sure you coordinate with a parent or guardian to be on the call.