Figure Skating Diet and Suggested Meal Plan

Milk and Cereal in bowl with Strawberries
Floortje/Vetta/Getty Images/

With a schedule of rigorous physical exercise, a figure skater must have a healthy and balanced diet to succeed. Proper nutrition should begin when young figure skaters start training to develop healthy eating habits alongside regular skating routines.

Like any sport, figure skating requires dedication, hard work, and proper training. In addition to training on the ice every day, an aspiring figure skater might need a separate cardiovascular routine and will almost always participate in supplemental dance classes. It's no wonder that a healthy diet is a key component to the skater's success.

Supporting Figure Skating Training With Food

Studies in 2001 and 2004 showed that skaters often don't get the nutrition they need to maintain their training and performance schedules. Those skaters who limit their calories in order to keep their figures slim could end up lowering their metabolic rate, making them susceptible to illness and injury, in addition to impairing training and performance.

Certain foods consumed throughout the day help figure skaters maximize their training, according to nutritionist and wellness coach Ellen Albertson. In addition to eating right, skaters need proper hydration throughout the day, with at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or sugar-free sports drinks per day.

Morning

Starting the day with a quick, simple, and nutritious breakfast packed with fiber is the foundation for a figure skater's routine. Fiber and calcium, two nutrients lacking in many diets, can kick-start figure skaters. A high-fiber cereal with nonfat milk and fruit such as apples or oranges provide the start they need, and pure fruit juice can be added for additional vitamins.

Snacking on fruit or yogurt mid-morning will keep energy levels high and lessen the toll an early-morning skate might take before lunch.

Afternoon

A bean-based vegetable soup or a turkey sandwich with veggies such as lettuce, tomato, and a pickle will boost skaters toward the recommended five servings a day of vegetables and provide enough protein to keep them humming throughout the afternoon. Using condiments like mustard in favor of mayonnaise will limit unhealthy fats while adding a side of carrots and some low-sugar oatmeal cookies will complete lunch with complex carbs to use as energy later. 

Anyone who also trains in the afternoon should sneak in a little more calcium and another serving of fruit between lunch and dinner, and grapes or string cheese with whole grain crackers will fuel these afternoon workouts.

Evening

A full day of skate training requires a dinner that's centered around lean meat packed with muscle-repairing protein that keeps saturated fat to a minimum. Skinless chicken breasts or ground turkey will do the job, and a baked potato will refuel tired muscles—keeping the skin on the potato and adding a green vegetable like spinach or a leafy salad will add a dose of iron.

An evening snack isn't just a luxury, but a necessary part of a figure skater's regimen. Peanut butter will provide healthy fats, while graham crackers and milk can be a recipe for a good night's sleep, an essential component for the next day's training.