ballerina Misty Copeland portrait

Ballerina Misty Copeland has created an impressive legacy. Through hard work and fierce belief in herself, she rose the ranks to become first African American principal dancer for the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. The inspiring athlete is also the author of a gorgeous and empowering book Ballerina Body, and has a new fitnesswear collab with Under Armour we love. We’re inspired by her long list of achievements, but even more so by her dedication to balanced living.

We’ve chatted with Misty a few times over the years, including alongside Meghan Markle when her lifestyle blog, The Tig, was still up and running. Meghan shared a deep sense of love and admiration for Misty saying,

 “Here’s the thing—as a bi-racial woman, I know what it’s like to want to follow your dreams and hear a lot of “no’s” along the way—not as a reflection of your talent but because you’re just not quite how they envisioned the role. And you may remember my story of being a little girl and wanting a doll that looked like me: well, Misty is that real life doll—the role model, the pretty princess, the ballerina that the 10-year-old me so desperately needed to see. “

We’ve loved learning about what this beautiful ballerina eats, and how she balances the demands of her figure-focused job and the purity of her passion. Here are a few of our favorite takeaways…

Snack Healthy + Often | Ever wondered what a ballerina eats between studio sessions and how she eats on her days off? Misty shared that she likes to “carry [my] own small bites so [I] don’t wind up grabbing whatever’s available — and often not so healthy — when hunger pangs hit.” Misty loves nuts and fruits, as they’re easy to tuck into a bag and are tasty enough to satisfy cravings for salty or sweet.

Hydration Is Everything | Staying hydrated is key for athletic performance, but also for managing cravings between meals. According to Misty, “you can’t go wrong with water. It’s a sugar-free elixir that your body can’t live without, and it also helps quell your hunger. Often when we think we want to eat, we’re really craving water instead.”

Come Prepared | When on the go, staying on track with nutrition goals means coming prepared. Misty shared this: “Airports are starting to feature healthier options than the traditional burgers and pizza, but to be safe — and save a few dollars while I’m at it — I like to take along packaged food that I can rely on to give my body what it needs, especially if I’m heading overseas. I usually carry packets of plain oatmeal, packaged tuna, whole wheat crackers and nuts.”

Dine Out Wisely | When dining out, Misty admitted that it “can be tough to stay committed to healthy eating, especially when you’re surrounded by other diners ordering delicious-looking sweets and fried foods. But you can summon the willpower to stick to your eating plan and still feel satisfied. Even if I’m eating at one of my guilty pleasures, Red Lobster, I go with options that don’t have a ton of empty calories added to them. For instance, I’ll order the crab legs and a garden salad. Go for clean! That could be a piece of fish that isn’t breaded or fried, a salad or vegetable, and quinoa, lentils or couscous instead of rice.”

Do Dinner Right | Treat yourself with delicious, whole food nutrition — and maybe a little something extra — at the end of each day. “My ideal dinner is a piece of grilled salmon. I’d have it with roasted onions, carrots and butternut squash seasoned with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Since I would have been conscientious all day, hydrating constantly with water, I’d have a glass of Prosecco and maybe a peanut butter cookie for dessert!”

Love these insights from Misty? Learn more about her daily diet here.

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