Competitive Irish dancers at the Baltimore Feis give it all they've got in a Charity Treble Reel!
Photo: Feis America LLC

Irish dancers, whether one's passion is competition or entertainment or exercise, need a healthy diet to promote sustained energy. Just ask any of the competitors at last week's All-Ireland Irish Dancing Championships or a troupe member from Riverdance!

Did you know that the interactive “MyPyramid” has changed to “MyPlate”? MyPlate is a new tool that helps an individual determine his or her energy needs based on age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. It will also determine how many servings of each food group is needed per day for optimal nutrition.

The primary message of both MyPyramid and MyPlate are the same: eat the rainbow! The food groups are color-coded in MyPlate. Grains will provide energy or calories that are so important to a dancer. Fruits and Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that are necessary for energy nutrients to be converted to energy in the cells. Protein provides the building blocks for growth and for tissue repair. Dairy foods contain Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, all of which are important for bone health. The miscellaneous foods should be eaten in moderation. They primarily contain empty calories and from simple sugars and fats.

I highly recommend checking out to determine your energy and protein needs, and to gain an understanding of the optimal number of servings from each food group. Remember, eating properly helps in having the sustained energy for optimal performance.

What are your goals as an Irish dancer this year? Comment below to share what you think about MyPlate and how you use nutrition to reach your competition or exercise goals as an Irish dancer.