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Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Irish dance nutrition, what Irish dancers should eat

The holidays are lovely for a number of reasons… family, friends, festivities and fabulous food!

Between the annual peanut butter buckeyes and Grandma’s famous macaroni and cheese, the holiday season can sideline many dancer’s health goals and training regimen (perhaps the need for resolutions come January 1st). But there are ways to navigate the holiday season without derailing the work you’ve put in.

Here are a three simple tips to help you stay on track:

  • Include fruit and vegetables at EVERY MEAL (even breakfast).

  • TIP: Fruits and vegetables are higher in anti-oxidants (important for fighting off those wintery illnesses), nutrients, water-content and fiber and much lower in calories than most of the treats and foods we associate with the holidays. Fill up on those and you’ll be too full to overindulge in foods that can take you off-track with your goals.

  • JESS RECOMMENDS: Smoothies, spinach & veggie omelets, dried or fresh fruits mixed into yogurt or oatmeal are a few ways to sneak those food groups into your breakfast.

  • Eat a healthy snack BEFORE you go to parties or events.

  • TIP: Going to a party where there are a lot of less than healthy choices can be tempting but you are more likely to overindulge if you are hungry.

  • JESS RECOMMENDS: apple with almonds or carrots with hummus

  • Limit the extra sugars

  • Added sugars make you more tired – not only from the “sugar spike ->crash effect”, but by releasing serotonin at the wrong time, disrupting your sleep cycle. They can also contribute to weight gain, affect mood and satiety cues.

  • TIP: Party in moderation – you don’t have to eat every dessert on the table – split a couple with your friends and family if you want to try more than one or pick your ultimate favorite that you cannot get any other time of year.

  • JESS RECOMMENDS: Get rid of the extra sweets around the house – If the treats are not there, you won’t eat them☺. Share the holiday cookies you made with your neighbors or ask your parents to take the extra candies to work.

And remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun! So if you happened to eat a whole plate of Aunt Pat’s chocolate roll, do not criminalize yourself! Just make sure you add some extra veggies to tomorrow’s breakfast.

Happy & healthy holidays!

Jessica Gahl, Irish dance nutrition, what Irish dancers should eat

Interested in setting up a personalized nutrition plan for you/your Irish dancer with Jess? Check out our Target Training Nutrition Consultation options HERE!


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Vos MB, Kaar JL, Welsh JA, Van Horn LV, Feig DI, Anderson CAM, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; and Council on Hypertension. Added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in children: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association [published online ahead of print August 22, 2016]. Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000439.

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