Company dancer Kimberly Cilento shared her journey to a gluten-free diet and how it helped with her energy in the studio early on the blog. This week, she shares some of her favorite weeknight recipes to keep her energized in the studio. 

There is always that moment when you get home from a long day at work or school when you think, “Do I feel like cooking?” Sometimes that answer is yes, in which case I’m sure you all cook wonderful meals! However, sometimes for me, the answer is, “UGH no.” After a busy day of Swan Lake rehearsals when I’m tired and just want to eat dinner and go to sleep, it’s easiest to microwave a burrito or have a bowl of cereal. But that is not the best meal to replenish my body, mind, and energy after a long day of dancing. When this happens, I turn to my go-to easy and nutritious meals.

I love variety and simplicity in my food so I am always mixing and matching my dinners. For me, it’s important to get a vegetable, grain, and protein in each meal. This often can seem like too much work after running Swan Lake corps full out with feeling! The key to easy and nutritious meals is a little forethought and planning. On Saturday mornings, if I see my schedule for the next week is jam-packed with Swan, Princess, and Character rehearsals, I know I need to do some meal planning and prep for a successful week of healthy eating.

Over the weekend I will make a grocery trip and load up on fresh veggies. I feel it is important to eat a variety of vegetables to ensure your body gets a wide range of vitamins and minerals, not to mention this keeps things interesting. When I get home I make sure to wash and chop some of the veggies so they are ready to grab and cook easily during the week. Sometimes I will even roast a big pan of them to keep in my fridge, making dinners even faster! I also love to prep a grain or two for the fridge. I’ve found that quinoa lasts the best but pre-cooked rice lasts well also. Some weekends I also prep a lean protein such as turkey or chicken breasts. I then either refrigerate or freeze individual portions that are a snap to grab and reheat later in my week.

In order to get more variety in my meals, I love switching up my seasonings. Getting to know your spice rack is the easiest way to transform your food from boring or redundant to something fresh and new in no time at all. I am all about experimenting and being creative with spices and herbs and use a different combo nearly every day. Also playing with different kinds of vinegar, sauces, or dressings is an easy way to spice up a dish in a snap! Once Monday night rolls around and I am exhausted, I simply pick my veggie, grain, protein, and seasonings and throw them in a skillet or the microwave to heat up. Within 30 minutes I can be sitting eating my dinner while replaying Act II Swans entrance in my head knowing I am refueling my body properly.

Here are three of my easy and nutritious dinners – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Turkey Rice Bowl


  • Turkey Tenderloin
  • Brown rice with coconut aminos
  • Roasted bell pepper
  • Green beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Pepitas

I love a good rice bowl so this recipe is one of my favorites. The turkey tenderloin is a very lean protein and is bought boneless and skinless so all you have to do is stick it in the oven. It also makes quite a few servings so I will have leftovers throughout my week.

Salmon and Balsamic Veggies


  • Salmon
  • Quinoa
  • Sautéed zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant with balsamic vinegar

Salmon is my favorite fish and I love seasoning it with fresh lemon, salt, lemon pepper, dill, and minced garlic. To me, this meal seems fancy and like something I would order at a restaurant but is actually very easy to create at home.

Simple Pasta with Veggies


  • Pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Turkey tenderloin (leftover)
  • Sautéed broccoli and onion
  • Parmesan cheese

This dinner is so easy because I use my leftover turkey. Cooking pasta takes no time at all and I like to add in whatever veggies call to me (or happen to be leftover) to bump up the nutrition and round out the meal.