The Best Meals To Fuel Your Cardio Dance Workout

Nutrition // Michelle Bridges, Master Trainer

With training for Dancing with the Stars, I’ve learnt first hand that, as a dancer, you need to fuel your body as you would if you were doing any sort of athletic training. With that in mind, fuelling your body when you dance is imperative to feel good, avoid injury and maintain energy.

Meals based on carbohydrates are excellent – that includes grains, vegetables, rice and potatoes. Combine the carbs with the right mix of protein and good fats in order to build and repair muscles as you continue your dancing journey. 

With that in mind, here are some of my favourite 12WBT meals that have gotten me through some of the most gruelling of dance workouts.

What To Eat When You Dance

Chicken and Rice Bowls

Chicken and rice bowl

Serves 1   Prep 10 mins  Cooking 5 mins 300 Calories


  • 100g Lean Chicken Breast, cut into long strips
  • 1 Teaspoons Fajita Spice Mix (1g)
  • 1g Olive Oil Spray
  • 50g Brown Rice, Cooked
  • 20g Baby Spinach
  • 1/4 Red Onion (36g), finely sliced
  • 1/2 X 125g cans Sweetcorn, Drained (42g)
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum (77g), chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Canned Red Kidney Beans, Drained (30g), rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 Fresh Lime (24g), cut into wedges


  1. Place chicken in a medium snap-lock bag and add spice mix. Seal bag and shake to coat. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium heat. Cook chicken for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place rice, spinach, onion, corn, capsicum and beans in bowl. Cut chicken into pieces and add to bowl. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.

Salmon & Ratatouille Tray Bake


Serves 2 Prep 10 mins Cooking 20 mins 276 Calories


  • 1 Red Capsicum (155g), chopped
  • 1 Zucchini (101g), chopped
  • 1/2 Eggplant (163g)
  • 1/2 Red Onion (73g), chopped
  • 125g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1g Olive Oil Spray
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (6g), crushed
  • 200g Atlantic Salmon Fillets
  • 30g Baby Spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange veggies onto tray and spray lightly with oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic to veggies and turn gently to combine. Make a space on tray and add salmon; spray lightly with oil. Bake for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and salmon is just cooked through.
  3. Divide between plates and add spinach. Season with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

Spiced Tempeh with Sweet Potato Mash and Baby Spinach


Serves 4 Prep 15 mins Cooking 12 mins Calories 324


  • 500g Sweet Potato, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Plain Flour (22g)
  • 1 Teaspoons Ground Paprika (2g)
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin (4g)
  • 400g Tempeh
  • 2g Olive Oil Spray
  • 2 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Ricotta (40g)
  • 4 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary (4g), chopped
  • 80g Baby Spinach


  1. Cook sweet potato in a saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, paprika and cumin in a shallow bowl. Press both sides of tempeh into flour mixture to completely coat.
  3. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until slightly golden. Remove from pan and thickly slice.
  4. Drain sweet potato, leaving 1mm of water in pan. Return potato to pan with ricotta and rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mash until smooth.
  5. Divide mash between plates. Top with tempeh and spinach leaves to serve.


Also Read: The Best Stretches When You’re Dancing 

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