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The Best Snacks for Pole Dancers

By on January 23, 2018

Between work or school, pole classes, rehearsals, performances, and/or teaching, it’s important that you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to keep up. For dancers, that means having a snack before hitting the studio. If you’re going to be in the studio for longer than two to three hours, pack two snacks or a small meal, says Emily Cook Harrison, a dietitian and former company member of Atlanta Ballet who counsels dancers through her practice and website

When choosing snacks, Emily has two main pieces of advice for dancers. The first is to ditch carb-phobias. “For athletes, it’s pretty ridiculous and actually harmful to be very carb-phobic,” Emily says. “Carbohydrates are your energy foods. They’re going to give you a nice burst of really clean burning energy that’s not going to require your body to do a lot.”

Second, she cautions against overloading on protein. Pole dancers’ protein needs may be higher than the average population (especially if you’re cross-training), but that doesn’t mean your go-to snack should be a protein bar. Eating too much protein can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Individual calorie needs for dancers vary (depending on weight, age, gender, and activity level). But regardless of how much time you’re spending in the studio, not eating enough beforehand will lead to an energy crash as you become active and your blood-sugar levels drop. With that in mind, here are some snack ideas for every kind of poler:

When you’re on the go: 

½ cup granola with yogurt and seeds. For non-dairy yogurt, opt for coconut or soy. For seeds, try flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin, or sunflower.

A banana or apple with 1-2 teaspoons of nut butter. Fruit is the ideal portable snack. But an apple alone isn’t going to get you through three hours of classes, Emily says. Pair it with some peanut butter or almond butter and you’re good to go.

1 cup red pepper slices or carrots with 3 tbsp hummus and pita bread. “Making healthy eating convenient is huge,” Emily says. Invest in some snack-sized Tupperware and pre-pack veggies.

If eating solid foods before inverting turns your stomach:

Homemade smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to get all the nutrients and energy you need without feeling weighed down. They’re easy to throw in a NutriBullet or blender, put in a thermos, and take with you. A good starting formula is 1 cup of soy or almond milk; frozen berries, peaches or pineapple; flax, chia, or hemp seeds; and greens like spinach. “The swampier the color, probably the better it’s going to be.”

If you want something a little hardier that’s easy to digest:

Oat bars. Remember how we talked about ditching carb-phobias? Oats are a quintessential energy food for dancers. You can make your own, or, for a store brand, try Bobo’s bars or bites which are free of artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives.

Energy rolls. There are so many recipes that you can make, freeze, and pop in your dance bag. This one from Emily’s book, Nutrition for Great Performances, is a favorite among dancers she works with. They’re formulated for maximum energy and endurance in the smallest package, so a little goes a long way. Pair them with almond milk for extra calcium.


  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats

    Emily’s super nutrition energy rolls are a nice mixture of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao sweet nibs
  • 2 tablespoons dried goji berries
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of your choice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Put 2 tablespoons of the blended
    mixture into the actual batter (for rolling
  • 1/4 cup whole macadamia nuts, blend
    them in blender until a fine powder/
    flour and add to batter


  • In a food processor or blender, blend the mixture that you will use to roll them at the end. Grind 1 cup oats, 1/4 cup of the pumpkin seeds, and all of the coconut. Blend until powdery and set aside. Keep separate in a bowl for the end. In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the blended mixture and mix well.
  • Moisten hands and roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat in the oat/pumpkin/coconut powder that you set aside. These may be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to a month.

When your classes go through meal times:

Soup cups. If your studio has a microwave, these are one of the easiest things to keep on hand or throw in your dance bag. Emily recommends “Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods” soup cups, which heat up in less than a minute. They’re usually under 300 calories and there’s a few that have more than 10 grams of protein. Emily recommends the lentil pilaf, which is a great source of carbs. 

PB&J sandwich. Choose a whole grain wheat bread without dough conditioners, artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup. PB&J is a classic, but you can use any types of nut butters and sub honey for jelly.






What snacks do you pack for pole class? Comment below!


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