A professional ballet dancer reveals what she eats on a typical day -- and it's way more than you'd expect

The INSIDER Summary:

• Skylar Brandt is a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre.

• Brandt compares what she eats to what an Olympic athlete would eat.

• She makes sure to eat lots of carbs, fruits, vegetables, and protein, especially before a performance.

Ballet dancers are incredibly lean, but also incredibly muscular.

That physique comes not only from the long hours they spend practicing every day, but also from the way they fuel their bodies.

Skylar Brandt, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, is proof that ballet dancers do eat.

I can eat a lot, similar to maybe an Olympic athlete that needs to fuel for their race,” Brandt says.

Brandt dances nine hours a day, Monday through Friday, so she likes to eat foods that give her maximum energy and calories to burn, like pasta, fruits, vegetables, and plenty of protein.

Some days, she doesn’t get a proper lunch break. For those days, Brandt keeps quick snacks on hand, like nuts and energy bars.

Performance days require even more fuel. Brandt says she and her fellow dancers rehearse right up until it’s time to do hair and makeup and put on costumes, and then the performance itself can last three hours.

And while some dancers don’t like performing on a full stomach, Brandt says she’s the opposite.

“I usually like to have some sort of fruit, like maybe a banana that has good potassium in it for my muscles, vegetables like spinach, which has iron, which brings oxygen throughout your blood and your muscles. I’ll have lamb chops or salmon, or some sort of fish, some sort of meat, and then a big bowl of pasta with cheese and butter.”

With a meal like that, Brandt knows she won’t feel hungry on stage.

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