If you're spending your days bouncing from virtual class to Zoom rehearsal to at-home Pilates, you could end up dehydrated, which can put you at risk for early-onset fatigue, dizziness and injury. A thirst-quenching smoothie can tackle that post-class energy slump while helping you stick to your hydration goals.
But a smart blend is filled with more than just fruit. While fruit adds vitamins, excessive amounts can increase the overall sugar load. This impacts your body's ability to rehydrate because the excess sugar shifts water away from your body's cells. The surplus of carbs will also leave you feeling sluggish as your body redirects blood flow to your gastrointestinal tract rather than your working muscles.
Instead, optimize your smoothie's performance power with these nourishing ingredients:
1. Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, which helps to maintain blood sugar and sustain energy. They're also a great source of calcium, which is critical for strong bones.
2. Avocado is a fruit that not only adds a creamy texture to your smoothie, but also provides a dose of "good for you" monounsaturated fats. Fat can keep you from getting hungry between meals, and helps to lessen the natural inflammation that occurs from intense dancing. A bonus? Avocados are a source of potassium, which helps to replenish electrolytes lost from sweating.
3. Flaxseed is an economical addition rich in plant lignans. These phytochemicals are antioxidants that help to fight free radicals, which can otherwise accumulate from strenuous physical activity. Since dance causes a lot of wear and tear on working muscles, fighting free radicals is a key component to post-class recovery.
4. Spinach can easily go unnoticed in any smoothie recipe. Toss in a handful for a boost in vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and iron.
5. High-fiber fruits are typically those with edible peels such as berries, apples, pears and plums. Fiber helps to slow the overall absorption of sugar into your body, promoting a steadier release of energy. Aim for one serving per smoothie.
Keep in mind:
Although smoothies are a great option to fuel long gaps between meals, remember that drinking is not always as satiating as chewing. Aim for sit-down meals when possible. Creating a mindful eating experience is important for dancers in order to establish sustainable eating behaviors, like intuitively controlling portions.
The Dietitian's Smoothie Recipe
Try this plant-powered chocolate banana smoothie to get you through your next day of back-to-back classes.
- 8 ounces milk of choice
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 3 dates
- 1/2 avocado (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons golden
- flaxseed (ground)