Everything This Professional Ballet Dancer Eats to Fuel Her For Performances

Welcome to our series #CartedByT30, where experts, influencers, and anyone who just really knows how to nail down a grocery list show us exactly what goes in their carts. Tune in to our Instagram to see their weekly haul from their favorite grocery store, farmers market, or online food retailer and to find out how much it really costs to eat healthily.


Courtesy of Jenelle Manzi

As a professional New York City Ballet dancer, Jenelle Manzi has spent years learning to push her body beyond its limitations, from grueling training sessions at the studio to performing sold-out shows at the Lincoln Center. Due to her athletic career and lifestyle, Manzi has also become an expert in making sure her body is fueled and nourished to help her feel her best.

After years of trying to find an on-the-go “healthy snack” that was uncompromising in ingredients, flavor, and health benefits, Manzi took matters into her own hands to develop Get Golden. Her better-for-you bars that are supercharged with a blend of nuts and seeds, along with a balanced diet of whole and high-quality foods, are her secrets to being energized and fulfilled throughout the day.

To see the rest of this ballet dancer's grocery staple (trust us, it's a good one!), keep scrolling below.

My Food Philosophy


Courtesy of Jenelle Manzi

When it comes to shopping for food, it's really about finding what makes both my body and mind happy. My body is my instrument as a dancer and it’s important for me to think of food as fuel. This means that a majority of my food shopping list includes vegetables, good fats, lean protein, fruits, and healthy snacks.

With that said, if I only ate food for fuel, I would not feel entirely fulfilled. I know the word “balance” can get overused, but it really is about finding the balance that works for you! When I take a step back and list all of the things that make me happy, it’s going to the farmers market and buying seasonal produce, going out to dinner with friends, and buying my favorite chocolate, spices, teas, and butter from specialty shops.

I think the reason why I enjoy this so much (besides the quality and taste) is the experience and story behind each and every item. There is nothing more special than enjoying a delicious meal with people you love, talking to the farmers who are proud of the produce they are selling or taking a quiet moment of pre-workout reflection with yourself to enjoy a coffee and snack. 

My Grocery Haul


Courtesy of Jenelle Manzi

Almond Milk

Most store-bought almond milk contains very little actual almond and is usually filled with gums and additives that can be both inflammatory and irritating to the digestive system. My go-to's are Malk, New Barn, or Three Trees because they contain no additives and are made with simple ingredients. 


I feel my best when I incorporate a small amount of animal protein into my diet. I usually buy my meat from a local farm I trust, so I can ensure that the animals are treated with care and integrity.

Depending on the week, I'll choose either beef, turkey, lamb, or bison. I love bison because it is rich in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, omega-3, and selenium, and it is easier for me to digest before ballet or training. 


I love getting my eggs from Knoll Krest Farm. They raise cage-free hens that are free of any hormones or antibiotics and I've known the woman that works the stand for nearly 10 years. When I buy eggs from the grocery store, however, I'll make sure they're organic and pasture-raised. 

I'll make a soft scramble or cook the eggs over easy for breakfast, add a soft-boiled egg with a salad for lunch, or a quiche with vegetables on the weekends.

Turkey Sausage

Turkey sausage is great for quick and easy pasta with broccoli, Pecorino Romano, and good-quality olive oil or this recipe if you have a little bit more time.


Broccoli is packed with vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. It’s a weekly staple of mine because I can add it to a dish or make a quick and easy side. My go-to's are stir-frying them tossed with olive oil, lemon, and pecorino in a pasta, or simply roasted with seasoning and olive oil. 


I love roasting or sautéing zucchini. You can easily roast a bunch at the beginning of the week to make pasta (can you tell I love pasta?) with cherry tomatoes, broccoli, Pecorino Romano, and olive oil. It's the easiest dinner to throw together!


During the summer my favorite simple dish that I’ll either have with crusty bread for lunch or serve as a side for dinner is heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley, feta, and a generous amount of good-quality olive oil.


I use avocado for every meal, either half-sliced with eggs for breakfast, in a delicious green salad or sandwich for lunch, or on top of a rice bowl at dinner. 

Dark Chocolate

When I’m grocery shopping, I can easily find two brands I like which are Hu and Fruition Chocolate Works. I love bitter, dark, and rich flavors and I’ve been like this since I was a kid!

However, my favorite place to shop for specialty chocolate in NYC (yes, I’m a regular) is The Meadow. While I don’t always have time to stop by the shop, when I do, I make sure to buy a few bars to have for the house. 

French Butter

I love butter. I love the way it tastes and how simple and delicious it is when done well. A favorite butter of mine that I discovered in Paris many years ago is Bordier Butter. The cows are fed according to the seasons and the butter reflects that. Beyond that, the butter at the workshop is flattened by a wooden wheel and worked by hand. The quality, texture, and flavor of this butter reflect all of the work and care that goes into making it. There’s nothing like it.