I'm naturally thin and have been living on fast food such as burgers, fries and pizza. Now I'm trying to eat better to prepare for auditions. I know the basics, like choosing good carbs, protein and fat, but it's hard to make smart choices when I'm grocery shopping. Any ideas?

—S.H., New York, NY


It's great that you're making a healthier diet a priority, especially since you live in a city like New York, where takeout can be so easy. Focus on making the majority of your diet real, whole foods. When choosing packaged foods, there's an app called Fooducate that gives a letter grade for quality and content, based on everything from calories and fat to healthy ingredients, vitamins and minerals. It also spots hidden traps such as empty calories, lots of additives and high-fructose corn syrup, which lower a food's grade. Just scan the bar code of a product or search with a specific keyword, like "bagel," to see how algorithms created by nutrition professionals and dietitians rate it. If you'd like help with a more comprehensive plan, you can work with a registered dietitian nutritionist. Referrals are available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, at eatright.org/find-an-expert. Either way, being aware of what's in what you're eating will help ensure you have sufficient energy for dance.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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