Professional ballerinas go through an extensive amount of preparation to be able to perform. Beyond the long days of practice and the physical elements of being a ballerina, there’s also nutrition. A ballerina’s diet is central to being able to do everything asked within a performance.

A ballerina’s diet is strict in the sense that there’s a lot of self-control one must have. However, taste and fun, and even naughty foods, don’t have to be completely gone. We all indulge from time to time. We have to! We’d be crazy not to! If you plan it right, you can have cheat days. Even come dinner time after a performance, if you want a slice of pizza, you shouldn’t deny yourself every pleasure. As long as things are taken in moderation, it doesn’t hurt to break from a ballerina diet and indulge from time to time.

Here are nine weight loss insights into the ballerina diet, and how they maintain svelte, strong figures without missing energy and focus:

1. Breakfast for ballerinas

We generally don’t recommend skipping breakfast in a ballerina diet. You’ve got to have something in your stomach, even if it’s just water and coffee. By having a granola bar or a coffee, as a ballerina, you’re waking up your body. This will give you the energy to perform ballet barre exercises, early morning practices and rigorous rehearsal sessions.

There are some ballerinas who participate in intermittent fasting and/or who will skip meals according to their diet restrictions. That’s ok, of course. It shouldn’t come at the expense of performance, strength, or feeling like yourself. Ideally, you want to be eating small portions regularly to keep your body working the way it should.

2. Lunch for ballerinas

Lunch in a ballerina diet is typically going to involve veggies, a small amount of protein, and a carb. Choose your favourite greens. A protein source can be anything from tofu to a half portion of chicken breast.

In terms of carbs, something like oatmeal or quinoa works wonderfully. All this is, again, to create energy while taking in the minimal amount of calories possible. Like many elite athletes, you’ll find ballerinas eat more or less very clean, which helps them to manage or lose weight if necessary.

3. Dinner for ballerinas

A ballerina dinner is a little bit different from how one plans the rest of the day with nutrition. Because the day’s done and there’s no more practice or performance to be done, a ballerina can unwind with something a little heartier. It’s important to have a vegetable portion, like salad, in a ballerina’s diet. A protein source – i.e. eggs, chicken, or lean pork – is also promising. Some low-carb, whole foods like a piece of bread with some cheese or hummus also works.

During nights or on days off, a ballerina is still going to follow a lot of the same rules in terms of eating just enough to give her body all the nutrients it needs without overpowering it with too many carbs, too much protein, or too much fat.

4. Snacks for ballerinas

Everyone gets hungry now and again. When this happens to a ballerina, small snacks can be introduced into a ballerina’s diet to give them energy. Usually, a small portion of fruit such as kiwi or cranberries works.

Some trail mix, a protein bar, or something similar can also help fill the stomach while giving either a carb, protein, or something to create energy in the body from.

5. Small diet portions

No ballerina wants to get out there and feel full. They need to be quite literally, and figuratively, light on their toes. For this reason, a ballerina diet consists of small yet filling portions. These smaller portions will help with weight loss in a ballerina diet. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with any snacks are done up in reasonable portions.

6. Teas

Appetite gets the best of us, sometimes – ballerina or not, it’s the same deal. A great way to combat hunger is with tea. Teas are great additions to a ballerina diet.

Instead of having a snack, replacing it with a herbal tea can help provide nutritious value while holding the body over another hour or two until its next mealtime. Beverages can be high in sugar though so whether it’s tea or not, it is necessary to check the contents to avoid excessive weight gain in a ballerina’s diet.

7. Coffees

Caffeine and coffee is certainly permitted in a ballerina’s diet. However, one must be careful with these for two years. Caffeine’s a diuretic and for some, it’s going to have them running back and forth from the washroom. We’ve seen it!

Secondly, coffee – even a single glass – will initiate a dehydration process in the body. This means, with your water, ensure you’re drinking some water and ideally taking in some water-heavy foods, like fruits and veggies.

8. Supplements

Ballerinas are very much like any other athlete. They need to take care of their bodies. To accomplish that, there are a lot of basic supplements – like vitamin D, omega-3 fish oils, and turmeric – that are taken in the morning to ready the body for the day ahead.

These sort of supplements and others focus on providing antioxidants, targeting inflammation, and oiling the joints.

9. Natural sugars

There’s not a whole lot of chocolate bars, sugary cereals, and candies in the ballerina diet. Even so, natural sugars are important. They often come in the form of fruits – like apples, blueberries, strawberries, an occasional pear. If something needs to be sweetened, honey and natural sweeteners are usually preferred over sugar.