Fitness + Well-being

Get a dancer's bod with Misty Copeland's high-fat diet

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in Manhattan borough of New York, May 2, 2016.

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in Manhattan borough of New York, May 2, 2016.  (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

It may come as a surprise that ballerina Misty Copeland is a big fan of fat, but for the principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, fat is a virtue.

“Eating it, absorbing it and burning it for energy — is the key to building the muscle and providing the strength so important for ballerinas and all elite athletes to perform at such a high level for hours, day in and day out,” Copeland writes in her new book, “Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger and More Graceful You” (Grand Central Life & Style, out now).

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For Copeland, getting her ballerina body meant eating more things like fish, nuts and avocado — all foods that are high in the good kind of fat that sharpens muscle tone and helps our bodies burn unhealthy saturated fat, all while giving us energy. Fiber-packed vegetables like kale and spinach are also a huge part of her diet.

“When dietary fat meets dietary fiber, you’ve got a great duo for shaping your body and boosting weight loss,” she writes.

Here, Copeland shares one of her favorite fat-and-fiber dishes: flounder with sauteed kale. It’s one of her favorite dishes to make for her husband, Olu Evans, who also helped her overcome a binge eating disorder early in her career and find a more healthy way of eating.

Flounder with sauteed kale

For the kale

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced, preferably yellow
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or as much as you like
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 bundles kale
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Splash of white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Hot sauce

For the flounder

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 fillets flounder
Salt and pepper

Heat a large pot over high heat. Drizzle the olive oil into the pot, add the chopped onion and cook until it turns translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook until the garlic turns fragrant, about 1 minute. Tear the kale leaves right off the spine with your hands so that the leaves are in equal-size pieces, and add the kale to the pot. Pour the vegetable broth over the kale and bring to a boil. Add the white wine vinegar along with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 40 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste.

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About 15 minutes before the kale is finished cooking, prepare the flounder. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the fish from the skillet and serve immediately over the sauteed kale.

Excerpted from the book BALLERINA BODY by Misty Copeland. Copyright ©2017 by Misty Copeland. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.

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