How to Eat Green and Enjoy It

We all know that green vegetables are extremely nutritious, but they don’t usually taste good. It’s hard to get excited about eating green things, especially when they’ve gotten such a bad wrap for their often-lackluster flavor. Your body deserves the best, and in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re here to show you how you can eat healthy, green things and actually enjoy them! Read on to discover some of our favorite recipes and tricks to making green vegetables taste good! Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to eating (and enjoying) your next serving of green veggies!

 

1 — Green Smoothies

We’ve all seen these crazy concoctions, but have you ever mustered up the courage to try one? You may be surprised to find out that they are absolutely delicious. Green smoothies are one of the easiest and most effective ways to sneak leafy greens into a meal. Sometimes, adding greens to a smoothie can taste like your literally drinking a salad, but here are a few tips to makes sure yours are scrumptious.

  • Add naturally sweet fruits like strawberries, mango, pineapple and banana to help sweeten things up a bit.
  • Use fresh avocado to get a nice creamy texture.
  • Use a natural fruit juice like orange or apple as your liquid base. This will help give it a great flavor and also help the blending process.

Check out these 9 Green Smoothie Recipes You’ll Actually Enjoy Drinking from Greatist for some more ideas to help make you a green smoothie-making expert!

 

2 — Baked Zucchini Fries

Next time you find yourself craving French fries, consider going for this healthy alternative. Zucchini slices are coated in an egg, breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese mixture to make this simple dish extra flavorful. Check out the full recipe from AllRecipes.

 

3 — Bacon Green Bean Bundles

When in doubt, put some bacon on it! Ordinary green beans become extraordinary and positively delicious when they’re wrapped in crispy bacon and glazed with buttery brown sugar. Check out the full recipe from Five Heart Home here.

 

4 — Spinach Pancakes

We agree that these look pretty crazy, but hear us out! If it weren’t for their crazy color, you’d honestly have no idea that there is a heaping serving of spinach in these tasty pancakes. Pro tip: You can make these ahead and freeze them to have breakfast for the entire week! Trust us on this one; check out the full recipe from Living Well Kitchen here.

 

5 — Mint Chocolate Chip Pea Pops 

We love a sweet treat, especially when it’s healthy! Adding peas (yes, peas) to these popsicles add a fun green color and loads of nutrition to this mint chocolate chip dessert. The chocolate chips pair perfectly with the fresh mint and you’d honestly never know the peas are there aside from the color! Try this one out for yourself. Check out the recipe from Happy Healthy Mama here.

 

Do you have any favorite “green” recipes? Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Show Yourself Some Love

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In the spirit of February and Valentine’s Day we’re focusing on love. Yes, it’s important to show your love and appreciation for family, friends and dance teachers, but you must not forget to love yourself! Now that competition season is in full swing, it’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day tasks. Read on to find out how you can take a moment each day to show yourself some love while still powering through your days for a successful season.

 

1 — Always be prepared.

Set yourself up for success! Whether it’s dance class or competition, it’s important to be prepared for whatever may come your way. That means all the right shoes, snacks, hair-ties and anything else you can think of. Check out this post for more ideas on how you can properly prepare yourself for success.

 

2 — Eat well.

 

Healthy bodies start in the kitchen and finish on the dance floor. If you really want to stay healthy and get stronger throughout the competition season, eating well will help you reach that goal. Stumped on where to start? Check out this post for some tips and recipe ideas.

3.  Rest.

We all know that competition season is an extremely busy and somewhat stressful time. This is why it is truly imperative to give yourself some rest. Rest days are important because it gives your body time to recover from all of that hard work and come back stronger. Here’s a great article on why rest is so important and how it can benefit you.

 

We hope you’ll take a moment to treat yourself this season. Remember, you deserve it! What’s your favorite way to show yourself some love? We’d love to hear! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Dance Resolutions for 2017

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The holidays are officially over and it’s time to get back to the grind. Have you taken a moment to think about your goals and aspirations for 2017? If not, we’re here to help you create those goals and make 2017 your best year yet! Here are five great resolution ideas to help you build toward a happy and healthy dance future in the New Year.

1. Focus on getting stronger.

It’s important to do strength-building activities to help you grow stronger which, in turn, helps you perform better on stage. Check out these ideas from Dance Spirit.

2. Listen to your body. 

If something hurts, make sure to tell your teacher or coach and never dance through the pain. Addressing the pain early on could help prevent more serious injuries in the future.

3. Get out of your comfort zone. 

This could mean performing that hip-hop solo instead of your usual contemporary, or maybe even auditioning for a new team or production. Your life truly begins when you step outside of your comfort zone — go for it!

4. Pick one move you’d like to perfect and stick to it. 

Rather than trying to work on ten different things at once, pick one thing at a time and give it your undivided attention. Once you have perfected this move, continue on down your list to the next thing.

5. Relax and have fun!

We dance because it’s fun! Try not to get too caught up in the stress of practice and competition and remember why you started dancing in the first place.  

Have you made some New Year’s Dance Resolutions of your own? We’d love to hear! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Tis’ the season to eat healthy!

The 2016 dance season is approaching, but there are a couple of big events coming up sooner than that: the holidays are right around the corner! What does this have to do with the upcoming dance season, you might ask? You’ll want to eat healthy during the holidays in preparation for 2016! Here are 4 tips for you for healthy eating during the holidays:

 

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If your goal at parties and family events is to choose healthy eating, you can always start with water. A study by “shape.com” tells us that that if you drink two glasses of water before your meal you will naturally eat less. Water is a good way to start your meals because it reminds you to make healthier food choices when you are already full. Staying hydrated is just as important as healthy eating!

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/how-drinking-water-helps-weight-loss.html

 

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One of the worst things you could do at a holiday party or family gathering is to attend on an empty stomach. If you come hungry, EVERYTHING is going to look appetizing. If you are trying to eat healthy this holiday season, make sure you come prepared. Have a small meal beforehand—try a banana, some yogurt, or peanut butter and crackers. When the food comes out, you already have something in your stomach. If you arrive hungry, it could lead to poor food choices and a loss of control.

https://www.sharecare.com/health/holiday-health/how-avoid-overeating-holiday-parties

 

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Everyone wants to find ways to be creative, especially when it comes to food. Why not experience new foods and new recipes by preparing them yourself? You can find healthy new recipes on Pinterest, Google, or local cooking magazines. There are so many colorful, exciting recipes out there. You can even create your favorite dishes with healthier substitutes. If you find something you are excited about making, chances are other people will love it, too.

 

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At the beginning of holiday events, hosts usually have out the fun snacks and appetizers. However, the best—and most healthy—food might be right around the corner. When we say “the good stuff,” we mean the main dishes, the healthy options, and the fulfilling choices. This also lets you see all of the food choices before you decide. You can look at all of the options and then make the healthy decision.

 

 

We hope this helps you get better prepared for the Holidays! If you have any questions or comments, ask us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Instagram. Happy Holidays!

 

 

Dance and Dine: Eating Healthy All Day Long

We LOVE springtime. Not only does it mean that we are in the heat of Regionals, but it also means that Nationals are right around the corner! Outside of dance, springtime also means plenty of sunshine, warmer temperatures, and an abundance of fresh foods picked right from the garden.

And since our dancers are working particularly hard during competition season, those fresh foods couldn’t come at a better time of year. Forget diamonds, healthy fuel is a dancer’s best friend! With that in mind, we’d like to share a few of our favorite meal and snack ideas geared to provide solid nutrition  for the hardworking dancer.

Rise and Shine!

Breakfast. They say it’s the most important meal of the day, and that could not be any truer for the dancer. Starting the day out with good fuel will ensure you are at your best first thing. Consuming a larger breakfast that is high in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat will keep you feeling fuller longer and energized until your next meal [source]. Here are a few examples:

1) These Oatmeal Cookies  include the carbs and protein you need to get going! Plus, they have the added bonus of looking absolutely delicious…

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2) This Banana Chocolate Shake is one of our very favorites! The secret is that you must use pre-frozen riper-than-ripe bananas to get the perfect texture and flavor. Add a scoop of protein powder and you’ll be full ’til lunchtime.

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3) This Potato, Ham, and Spinach Frittata covers all of the bases, too! Swap garden fresh spinach for the frozen variety and you’ve got the perfect springtime breakfast.

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Lunch Break

Lunch can be easy to forget about if you are feeling full after breakfast and are working hard on the dance floor. But, your body will need to be replenished, so be sure and make a point to stop and eat, even if you feel too busy. According to this LiveStrong article, you will want this meal to be satisfying, yet not too filling to avoid after-lunch fatigue and/or stomach distress, so watch portion size. Here are some ideas to get you started…

1) Martha Stewart’s Ham & Cheese Croissant features an unexpected twist: the addition of sliced pear and watercress. If you’re not a fan of watercress, swap it out for fresh spinach or your favorite green. Serve with grapes as pictured for a simple and satisfying meal.

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2) Swap regular noodles for whole wheat, and this BLT-inspired pasta salad will meet all of your needs. Pair it with your favorite springtime fruit (think apricot, mango, or honeydew) and you’ve got the perfect lunch!

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3) For a twist on the regular turkey sandwich, why not wrap it up with your favorite cheese and veggies? Throw in a side of fruit and you’ve got an easy, nutritious lunch!

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[Photo Source]

Snacktime! 

By the time afternoon rolls around, you are probably post-workout and starving! These snack ideas will quickly replenish the fluids, carbs and protein that your body needs.

1) Drink, drink, drink. While water should be the first thing you grab during workouts, there are a few other drink options to quickly refuel your body post-workout that do not have the chemicals and added sugars found in the typical sports drink. Our top pick? Coconut water.  It’s naturally high in electrolytes and quickly hydrates the body [find more benefits here!]. Our next choice would be a small glass of 100% fruit or veggie juice (be sure to skip the varieties with added sugars), along with a healthy snack, like fruit or nuts.

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[Photo Source]

2) This apple dip not only looks delicious, it is the perfect mix of protein and carbs to refuel that body. Just be sure to opt for natural peanut butter that is free of added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup.

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3) Need something easy-to-grab? All-fruit and nut bars, like these Larabars, are a great option. With only a handful of real-food ingredients, these bars are not only nutritious, they are delicious, and quite filling!

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What’s for Dinner?

Even though you’re done with your physical activity for the day, it is important to stay well-hydrated and have a healthy dinner – especially if you have another day of challenging workouts ahead. For dinner, choose foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, which provide energy; lean protein, which helps repair damaged muscles tissue; and healthy fats, which help your body function at an optimal level (source).

We like these options:

1)  This recipe for One Pot Lazy Stuffed Peppers has it all: great flavor, good protein, lots of veggies, and easy clean-up! Swap the white for brown rice and you are good to go.

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2) For an Italian-inspired meal, check out this delicious version of Baked Ziti. Swap the regular for whole wheat noodles and add a side of oven-roasted broccoli for a meal so satisfying you’ll forget you’re eating healthy.

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3) If seafood is what you’re feeling, this recipe for Parmesean Crusted Tilapia is a must-try! Add a side of this amazing Baked Asparagus and Paula Deen’s Baked Sweet Potato Fries (our favorite) for a meal so delicious ‘you’ll want to slap your momma’ [although we don’t recommend that…a nice hug for cooking you such a fantastic dinner would probably be better!].

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So if you dread meal-planning as much as we do sometimes, perhaps this will help get you going in the right direction. For a quick lesson in how to plan the perfect meal, check out these lists of good sources of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. With those three all-stars, you’ll have a meal routine that will always win!

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Instagram to share them with us!

The Hunger Games Guide to Holiday Nutrition for Dancers

Competition season is right around the corner and the Holidays are here.  Oh boy, what’s a dancer to do when those yummy goodies and treats are calling your name?  Here are 7 tips to keep those holiday treats from sabotaging your nutritional goals:

1.  Eat a healthy breakfast.

Sugary cereals and processed pastries are empty calories.  They cause your blood sugar to spike and then fall, leaving you hungry sooner than you should be.  Add more protein to the most important meal of the day.  Popsugar has 7 suggestions for making breakfast healthier.

Ways to Add More Protein and Fiber to Your Breakfast http://ow.ly/EyI97

2.    Be careful what you drink

Sodas, juice and sports drinks have more sugar than the recommended daily amount of 25 grams and that packs on unnecessary calories.  And you know caffeine drinks dehydrate you! Eliminate or minimize these where you can.  A healthier alternative is to add just a splash of juice to club soda or sparkling water.  Click through this slideshow to see how your favorite drink compares.

Sweet Comparisons:  How much sugar is in that drink?  http://ow.ly/EyHr1

Sweet Comparisons: How much sugar is in that drink? http://ow.ly/EyHr1

3.  What can I bring?

If you are invited to any holiday gatherings, offer to bring a dish or treat that fits into your nutritional goals.  This way you will always have something that you will like munching on while everyone else is “pigging out.”

4.  Eat before you go.  

Before going to a holiday gathering, eat a healthy meal.  You will likely eat more unhealthy snacks or hors d’oeuvres if you are hungry when you arrive.  Be sure and keep that meal light to allow for nibbling at the buffet table.

5.  Allow small indulgences.  

It’s completely unrealistic to go through the holidays and not be tempted by all the sugarplums.  Avoiding them altogether may make you want them more.  Cooking Light recommends portion control and 7 other secrets for healthy indulging.

7 Secrets of Healthy Holiday Indulgences http://ow.ly/EyQbX

7 Secrets of Healthy Holiday Indulgences http://ow.ly/EyQbX

6.  Stay active.

When you are bored, you have a tendency to want to snack because it is something to do.  By staying active, your body will forget about the holiday cookies and candies lying around because it would rather be busy.  Now go practice that combination again and forget about the fudge that is staring at you.

7.  Keep track.  

Record your activity and what you eat in your Dance Diary. There are also apps like Fitbit or myfitnesspal where you can keep track of calories burned and consumed. Knowing what you eat will help you manage your goals.  If you overindulge one day, you can cut back the next or spend a little more time practicing in the studio to burn off the calories you consumed.

Do you have a favorite recipe or nutrition tip?   Please share it on our Facebook and Twitter pages and check them often for more dance and nutrition tips.

 *Visit our website @ danceplatinum.com for competitions near you.