What I eat in a day: Chloey Turner, Principal dancer with Riverdance
Dancer and qualified personal trainer Chloey Turner gives us an insight into how her day shapes up on a plate.
The English-born dancer is currently performing the principal role at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, we caught up with her to find out how she fuels the lengthy rehearsals and live shows.
Touring with the Riverdance troupe for the last eight years has opened Chloey’s eyes up to diverse types of cuisine from all around the world, and she cites sushi dishes and Indian dishes among her favourites.
But day to day, the 28-year-old sticks to nutritious, wholesome meals that will help keep her energy levels high and enhance her performances.
“I like to cook,” Chloey says. “Being based in Dublin for 10 weeks over the summer is great because I can choose exactly what to eat and when.”
“We have an intense two hour performance each night so being well nourished and fuelling our bodies on a diet of complex carbohydrates is essential to perform our best.”
For breakfast, Chloey will opt for a bowl of porridge for a slow release of energy and healthy dose of fibre.
“I add chopped banana , strawberries and sprinkle on nuts and seeds for added protein , I have a cup of green tea with this. Each morning I take a cod liver oil supplement to look after my joints as well as L glutamine which is good for muscle recovery.”
Aside from her rehearsals and practise time, qualified personal fitness trainer Chloey works out three times a week.
“I am always looking for better ways to fuel my body and create workouts that will compliment and build the body I need for the show and to help me remain injury free,” she says.
“I would go to the gym after breakfast and do some full body strength training, a two hour performance each night is enough of a cardio workout. I always have a bottle of water with me and drink it consistently throughout the day.”
Post-training, Chloey will re-fuel with two boiled eggs on whole wheat toast with smoked salmon and vegetables such as spinach, avocado, cucumber and tomatoes.
“I eat a lot of colourful foods and lots of greens,” Chloey reveals.
“In the afternoon I might head out for a cappuccino and on the odd occasion have a banana muffin with it or if I go to Butlers Cafe in Dublin you get a free chocolate, salted caramel is my favourite.”
Balance is important for Chloey, who insists she likes to incorporate treats into her “fairly clean” diet.
“I don't feel too guilty having the odd treat either, I work hard and the treats are good for extra energy,” she states.
Other days, Chloey, who has been dancing since she was eight-years-old, will snack on fruit and some almonds.
On a show night, she will eat two hours before curtain time.
“Dinner would usually be either chicken or prawn stir fry with brown rice, or salmon with potatoes and broccoli.”
“Mostly I cook , but sometimes on a day where we have two shows at the weekend myself and many others in the cast would go to the local Italian restaurant and there I order either chicken and broccoli pasta or chicken breast in a tomato sauce with potatoes and vegetables, this meal fuels me for a second performance.”
Chloey is also a devout fan of blending fresh fruits and vegetables for smoothies and juices, having recently invested in a Nutribullet.
“I plan on taking this with me when we tour America from September,” she reveals. “I use this everyday to make a pre show juice. One I mainly drink is beetroot, carrot, ginger and apple.”
“All of these ingredients are great for an energy boost . If I get a little hungry during the show I snack on Jaffa cakes, an amazing low calorie snack that gives a quick release of energy.”
Chloey says that she prefers to eat often, having something to snack on every couple of hours.
“I feel stronger and have a lot more energy and can focus more when I do. There are occasions on tour it can be tough, for example when touring China for a few months it was not easy to keep on top of your nutrition, you'd have to just settle for the local street food or a Pizza Hut sometimes as their diet is very different to what we'd be used to.”
Following a performance, Chloey will eat something, regardless of how late it is.
“A lot of places will be closed that time of night, so this is when preparation is key! We have to make sure to find a supermarket and stock up or order extra food from lunch.”
“When settled here in Dublin it's easier of course and after a show I will cook, or my boyfriend (also a principal dancer in Riverdance) will prepare us dinner.
“Again this will be either chicken or fish (salmon , tilapia, cod) with vegetables or salad and either rice or sweet potatoes.”
“Sometimes we like to cook a Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potato on top or there are days when we just pick up some Sushi.”
On a rare night off, Chloey will head out for dinner to try some new foods and have “the odd glass of red wine and something chocolatey for dessert”.
“One of my favourite places to eat is 'The Port House' a Spanish tapas restaurant in Dublin where everything on the menu is tasty! I mostly order the goat cheese salad which has nuts and honey and the garlic chilli prawns."
For Chloey, she maintains that it’s important to enjoy food and eat a varied diet so she doesn’t get bored.
“I make sure to eat as many nutritious foods as I can to ensure my body is in the best possible shape it can be in,” she concludes.
Riverdance is running at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin until August 30.