Q: I'm tired of the fast food that's consumed at my studio. I get that families are on the run, but what can I say to encourage healthy eating without harassing anyone?
A: At our studio we try to talk about healthy eating with our students. Unfortunately, I don't feel like everyone is really listening. For two years in a row I've spoken to one competitive dance mom in particular about her son and daughter's eating habits. A Big Mac combo is not what anyone (let alone a 10-year-old) should be eating for dinner before dancing for four hours. I explained that her children would run out of energy and lose their ability to focus less than two hours into an evening of rehearsals because of what she fed them. She would improve their food choices for a week or so, but then fall back to the old habits. Neither of her children have been able to dance up to the level they're capable of because their bodies do not have the right fuel.
This year, I have hired a nutritionist to come in and speak to all of my competitive dancers and their parents. Teaching the dancers how to fuel their bodies has had a major impact on them. Knowing what foods will keep their minds and bodies working has cut down on fatigue and injuries, and their stamina is on the rise. Education about better eating is definitely paying off for us, and I recommend you try it as well.