Most dancers’ meals are filled with healthy food choices. But splurges are also part of a well-balanced diet—and life.

Danny Gardner

Broadway performer and member of physical comedy troupe Parallel Exit

Typical meals: Eggs and yogurt in the morning; a salad or sandwich for lunch; chicken, veggies and couscous for dinner.

Splurges: Pad Thai or Domino’s pizza with pepperoni and banana peppers.

Tips: “Before I eat, I ask, ‘Do I really want or need this, or would I be full with some chicken and veggies?’ Or, ‘How will I feel onstage after I eat a pizza the night before?’ I try to realize when I’m thirsty versus hungry, which happens a lot! But you must reward yourself sometimes.”

Ghrai DeVore

Dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Typical meals: Boiled eggs and green juice or lemon juice with cayenne for breakfast; a bento box with teriyaki salad during the workday; and pasta and seafood (or steak, if she’s been dancing hard) for dinner.

Splurges: Pie. “I usually buy them at Magnolia Bakery. I also love Girl Scout Cookies!”

Tips: “When I’m fatigued, I’ll add carrots, nuts and cranberries for energy and drink more water. And whenever I feel the need to comfort or to treat myself, I do. And that’s healthy.”

Mikey Winslow

Broadway performer

Typical meals: Homemade green juices with kale, spinach, romaine, apple and cucumber. Chicken and veggies for lunch and dinner.

Splurges: “When I’m dancing a lot, I eat a lot of Domino’s pizza with pepperoni and pineapple—plus ranch for dipping! I try to keep it to once a week. Dove chocolate squares are also special—my mom had them at home when I was growing up, and now she sends them to me when I’m on tour.”

Tips: Winslow focuses on separating hunger from boredom. “If it’s been a hard day, I’ll eat healthy, but also get Lucky Charms or enjoy a couple of Oreos.”

Sarah Ricard Orza

Soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet

Typical meals: Eggs, oatmeal or a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast; sandwich and fruit for lunch, with nuts and pretzels to snack on; organic vegetables and a Cuban pork roast for dinner.

Splurges: “I love to bake with my daughter, and we often make lemon bread or chocolate cake. I also love strawberry balsamic gelato or great coffee, like brewed espresso from Stumptown or Caffè Fiore in Seattle.”

Tips: Orza tries to only eat what she prepares at home. “It’s about a healthy and happy life. Splurging is a part of that. We have so much stress from our work, so when I want something, I’ll enjoy myself.”

Courtney Henry

Dancer with Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Typical meals: A substantial breakfast, like brown rice and kale; light lunch; and tropical fruit like oranges, bananas or mangoes for snacks. Dinner is a big meal of fish, veggies and some kind of grain, like couscous.

Splurges: Peanut butter. “My friends laugh because I put it on everything. My favorite is Peter Pan, from my childhood!”

Tips: “Cravings are a way of your body communicating: Honor that. And remember, everyone is different. Don’t let what other people look like or what they eat make you judge what works for you.” 

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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

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