Haven’t heard of Zumba?
Then we invite you to crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and join the fitness craze!
Zumba is a Latin music-based cardio exercise program that started in the 90s but has snowballed into a worldwide movement.
It’s estimated that around 15 million people take classes around the world, and it’s not hard to see why.
There are tons of benefits to taking Zumba classes!
While some of the classes can be intense – burning up to 1,000 calories an hour – it can be modified to fit anyone’s ability.
It’s effective, flexible, and most importantly, fun, so you’ll be motivated to keep coming back.
As with any exercise, you need to compliment your increased activity with a healthy and reasonable meal plan.
Don’t panic, thinking you’ve got to figure it out by yourself. We’ve got the best tips on putting together your Zumba diet – take notes!
Foundations Of A Zumba Diet
Before we start breaking down each meal of the day, let’s lay out the foundation of our Zumba diet.
There are two main categories of food you need to consider: carbs and protein.
The main building block of carbohydrates is glucose, which is used relatively quickly by the body.
Simple carbs burn quicker than complex carbs but don’t give you long-term energy.
Think back to when you were a kid and ate a bunch of Halloween candy, felt hyper for half an hour, then crashed out. That’s the simple carbs in the candy giving you a sugar rush.
Stick to complex carbs like whole wheat, brown rice, and oats.
Protein also takes a bit longer to burn than glucose and can give you a sustained energy.
You can get proteins from meats and beans, but be careful – some proteins come with extra fat.
Stick to lean proteins – chicken breasts are a great option or ground turkey – instead of fatty red meat or processed meat, like bacon.
For a vegetarian option, try tofu or stick exclusively to beans.
When complex carbs and proteins work together, you’ve got the makings of a safe and healthy Zumba diet.
Now let’s go over what you’ll be eating at different times of the day.
The Breakfast Of Champions
Although there’s been some debate, it’s been proven time and time again how important breakfast is.
Eating first thing in the morning is going to sustain your energy levels and keep your metabolism on an even keel.
Think about it – you’ve essentially been fasting the eight hours you were asleep.
You need something to rev your engine up and make it through the morning.
Here’s a few ideas to create healthy and holistic breakfasts:
- Tea and coffee, plain with no cream or sugar
- One cup of high-fiber cereal with skim milk
- Whole grain toast, one egg, some fresh fruit
- Oatmeal made with skim milk with some berries and/or nuts sprinkled on top
See how the carbs and proteins work together?
This is going to give you the energy need to do a high-intensity workout like Zumba and keep the curves you earn!
Lunch And Dinner: Keep It Real
Stick to whole and healthy options for lunch and dinner.
Stay away from processed foods and try to cook everything yourself.
These meals are perfect options for your new Zumba diet:
- Lean grilled steak on a bed of salad with avocado slices
- Soup and salad
- Fajitas made with chicken breast with whole-grain tortillas
- Pork chops with steamed veggies and brown rice on the side
Once you get into the habit of sticking with unprocessed, whole foods, you’ll be whipping up your own combos in no time!
Snacks And Desserts
There’s room for snacks and desserts in your Zumba diet. In fact, you’ll need them to keep up with intense Zumba dancing!
As always, keep your nibbles healthy and unrefined.
- Greek yogurt with berries and a small drizzle of honey
- A handful – and only a handful – of nuts. It’s easy to overdo it so watch your portions!
- Beef jerky
- Veggies with hummus
- Baked sweet potato fries
See? There’s no deprivation on a Zumba diet, just smart choices.
Timing Is Key
Here’s where we get into specifics. You have to eat right for your Zumba workouts.
Try not to eat right before your workout. If you’re going to have a regular meal, eat it three hours before hitting the dance floor.
If your window of time is shorter, go with a carb-based snack. Carbs will give you a quicker burst of energy for a high-intensity workout.
After Zumba, you can have a post-recovery snack, like a handful of almonds or a fruit smoothie.
Don’t eat a heavy meal right afterward. You’ll be pumped from all the dancing so give yourself at least half an hour to relax.
Look, nobody is perfect. Everyone puts on their Zumba pants one leg at a time.
If you slip up and have a “cheat day”, don’t give up.
Enjoy your life! Have a slice of birthday cake at your friend’s party. Drink a glass of wine with your loved one.
Then get back on track. Don’t let one day derail you.
Make smart choices on the road, too. When eating at a restaurant, say no to the bread basket and keep salad dressing on the side.
Stay away from anything batter-dipped and deep-fried and keep alcohol to a minimum if you have to have a drink.
Achieving Your Goals With A Zumba Diet
Combining a healthy eating plan with Zumba classes is smart, healthy, and the key to achieving your goals.
Eating whole foods in the right combinations can help you lose weight or maintain your curvy Zumba shape.
You’ll get the energy you need to dance all night and work up a sweat. Zumba is no fun if you’re too tired to party!
Lots of things in life are difficult but this Zumba diet isn’t one of them. No need to sweat over thinking up what to eat – just sweat while working out!