Children between the ages 6 and 17 years need at least one hour of physical activity per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Along with phys ed at school, soccer practice and all the other sports your child plays, dance classes can also provide your child with the physical activity that they need to have a healthy body.
Even though dance is an artform, providing your child with the chance to explore their emotions and get creative, it's also an engaging way to get exercise. Dance can help your child to build strength, coordination, balance, flexibility and stamina. With all of these physical benefits, you won't wonder why your child leaves class feeling starved. Take a look at how you can help your child to refuel after dancing.
Along with needing food following dance class, your child may crave something to drink. The thirst your child builds during class is a normal byproduct of working out. If your child is sweating during class, they'll need to replenish the lost fluids. Even if your child takes water breaks during class, they may still feel thirsty afterwards.
Avoid sodas and juice drinks. These aren't hydrating and contain high amounts of sugar. While sports drinks do provide hydration, they can also contain sugar or chemical sugar substitutes. Instead of these options, stick with water. If your child absolutely refuses a plain drink, infuse the water with fruit by soaking berries or even cucumbers in it. You can also add a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange to a water bottle for a zesty taste.
Protein helps your body to repair and build muscle. After dancing, your child needs protein to help their sore muscles heal. Meat, poultry, fish, soy, eggs and nuts are all sources of protein that can help your child following a workout.
When choosing a protein, look for lean selections such as grilled chicken, lean sliced turkey or low/no-fat peanut butter. A grilled chicken salad, low-fat peanut butter on whole grain toast, avocado on toast or an egg-white and veggie omelet are all options that your child may enjoy. If you're looking for an on-the-go snack, a turkey roll-up with cheese or peanut butter and whole wheat cracker mini sandwiches can save the day.
The carb burn of intense physical exercise can leave your child feeling drained. Replenish their energy source with healthy treats. Fruits, such as bananas and apples, provide carbohydrates without the empty calories that cookie or cupcakes have. Likewise, veggies (such as sliced peppers) are also nutritious carb options.
Dance classes provide children with plenty of opportunities to get up, get active and get physical. When your child works hard during class, they'll feel it afterwards. Avoid the post-class slump by re-hydrating with water, snacking on lean protein and choosing carb treats wisely.