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Spring has got to be the busiest time of year for bellydancers. The gigs, the workshops, and the shows can begin to take their toll on you physically and mentally if you’re not careful. Fortunately, with this arsenal of superfoods under your coined belt you have nothing to fear. Here’s my suggestions for 5 snacks that can keep up with you!

Chocolate: The before class pick-me-up

Let’s start things off right with chocolate. Dark chocolate, to be exact. Chocolate is packed with flavonoids, which can help lower blood pressure and also act as antioxidants. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which trigger feelings of pleasure. It contains serotonin, an anti-depressant, and mild stimulants as well. It’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long day when you still gotta get to the studio!

The Snack: Try one or two squares of dark chocolate with five to eight almonds. The addition of heart-healthy nuts will provide long-lasting protein energy. Just be sure to only eat a little as both foods are high in calories. The point is to get big bang for your buck, since nobody wants to come to class and shimmy on a full stomach.

Mint Leaves: The stomach soother

Everyone’s experienced that queasy feeling in your stomach when you’ve gone a little too far with you veil spin drills. Or maybe you made the mistake of eating too soon before class. Chewing on mint promotes digestion, soothes indigestion, and reduces nausea and headache. Plus, it makes your breath minty fresh!

The Snack: You can now buy fresh mint leaves in the produce section of most grocery stores.  If you don’t want to chew on leaves, gum or breath mints with real mentha oil will work just as well. Don’t like the taste of mint? Try candied ginger for some of the same benefits.

Bananas: The post-shimmying replenishing fuel

Besides packing a healthy dose of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, bananas contain about 400 mg of potassium. Potassium is one of those important electrolytes that are often lost in workouts. It also helps prevent muscle cramping and soreness. And if that’s not enough, bananas are good for brain and bone health, too.

The Snack: Blend a banana with a cup of soy milk and one tablespoon of almond butter in a blender for a fruity nutty protein-packed treat! You can sweeten the drink with a tablespoon of honey, too.

Trail Mix: The classic in between gigs snack

So trail mix is probably not new to you, but it’s worth mentioning here because it does it’s job so well. Easy to store and take to shows and workshops, it’s also packed with antioxidants, heart healthy fats, and protein. Just be sure to eat only a little- it’s high in calories.

The Snack: I like to make my own trail mix to keep things new and exciting. There’s lots of great recipes on the internet with fresh combinations. You can go sweet, spicy, or tangy to suit your palette. Just be careful of salty, as you don’t want to dehydrate before going on stage. And watch out for sulfites and other preservatives in dried fruit.

Blueberries: Healthy daily living food

Blueberries are packed with anti-oxidants that help prevent cancer. They have also recently been linked to brain health and improved memory functioning. Plus, they retain a lot of their nutritional value even when frozen. As such, they are available for healthy snacking year round.

The Snack: I like blueberries with one of my other favorite foods- Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein as regular yogurt for just a small increase in calories. I mix blueberries into naturally sweetened (no sugar or corn syrup!) Greek yogurt and sprinkle chia seeds on top for an extra protein and anti-oxidant boost.

Happy snacking!

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