What to eat or not to eat before a gig? Everybody is different, and something that works for me might not work for you. So try various food combinations/timings and see what makes you feel better. For me, this is how it goes.
- So very often venues can only feed you in that half an hour between sets or right before starting the gig. Avoid this. Either eat a couple of hours before the gig or snack onto something light and healthy before or in between sets. Bring your own snacks to the gig, because venues tend to have unhealthy choices.
- Be well hydrated and warmed up (vocal exercises) before starting the gig. This will keep your muscles in form and diminish your hunger (your mind and body will be focused, so food won’t be an important part).
- Lead a balanced lifestyle, and eat as raw as possible (as it comes from nature) – not only before a gig.
What to eat / not to eat:
- No sugars. Sugar combined with the moist of your throat is an ideal venue for bacteria growth, your body naturally reacts secreting mucus that will hinder the agility of your vocal cords.
- Nothing that produces gases/bloating, such as: broccoli, beans, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, oats or corn. Also no starches or foods that make you feel full too soon.
- No dairy. Lactose adds up to that mucus and again, slows down your vocal cords. So no milk with your tea and no cheeses.
- No alcohol. I know that alcohol can create the false sensation of “lightness” and give you the illusion of being more energetic. But this liquid sugar, beside many other nasty things, what does to your vocal folds is it dries them out, and since they need to be moisturized all the time, this will do no good to your singing. Alcohol also dilates blood vessels, swelling the vocal cords and again slowing down their vibration.
- No cold drinks. They stiffen our muscles, and this is not good because we need our vocal cords and throats to be warmed up and flexible.
- No caffeine. Teas and coffees dry out your vocal cords (they are diuretic, so they dehydrate your muscles and constrict them).
- Eat hydrating fruits and vegetables. Like for example watermelon, cucumber, tomato, celery, apples, blueberries… But make sure whatever you eat is not too sweet (berries are great!).
- No spicy food / high condiments. This will create acid reflux and make your digestion unpleasant while singing.
- Have herbal teas and fruit flavoured water (homemade – put some strawberry slices or a couple of cucumber slices inside your water bottle).
- Eat white meats. Chicken, turkey and fish. Why? because they are lighter and will not slow down your digestion.
- Eat nuts, salmon, avocado and other good oils. Many experts say nuts are not good but only because they can leave ‘bits’ around your mouth… but as long as you chew them well before swallowing, things like almonds and walnuts are excellent for your voice. Other foods like avocado and salmon have great oils and proteins and will be a good thing to eat as long as it’s a small portion. Remember you’re about to sing, so your stomach shouldn’t be full.
My 2 special tips before singing:
Olives. They are great because they contain the right amount of salt and olive oil, which is a great oil for keeping moisture in your vocal folds.
Warm water. Warm water releases tension from your throat and helps you relax, breathing in more deeply.