To effectively prepare for a musical performance, it is important to take your diet into consideration several days before your show. Planning and exercising care with the food you eat at least 24-36 hours before your show will maximize your performance. There are several things to take into consideration when you’re preparing for your show. If you’re trying to learn how to sing better, start with your diet.
Basics to Remember
• Eat in small portions, taking care not to overeat.
• Don’t eat too much too close to performing. This interferes with your breathing and your energy level. Ideally, try to give yourself at least 2 hours before your performance.
Foods to Avoid
When preparing for a show, keep in mind that bad food can have an effect for a long time after eating it. Alcohol stays in the system for about 2 days. Even though you don’t feel drunk, it will continue to dehydrate your body. The same is true for dairy products. Try to avoid:
• Heavy foods, such as pizza, falafel balls, or greasy food like burgers. Keep red meat to a minimum and instead opt for chicken or fish.
• Acidic foods like pasta sauce, coffee and orange juice.
• Dairy products such as milk or ice cream.
• White bread, which thickens mucous.
• Most nuts, as they create heavy and stubborn mucus.
• Synthetic sugars such as Splenda or Equal. Similarly, avoid diet sodas for their use of synthetic sugar.
• Fried foods.
• Onions, as they dry the vocal cords and creates acid.
Foods to Eat
While it is important to monitor your intake and avoid certain foods in preparation for your performance, you also need to make sure you are taking in adequate nutrition. Try to include the following foods prior to your performance.
• Hard and soft boiled eggs.
• Plain baked fish, such as salmon or tilapia. Sardines, if soaked in water, are fine but avoid any heavy or spicy sauces.
• Whole spelt bread. Stick to 1-2 slices per day as a general rule. Spelt bread contains healthy carbs which will help create the clear mucous that lubricates your vocal cords.
• Fresh, raw slices of avocado.
• Green vegetables, such as cucumber, lettuce, green beans, broccoli, spinach, and celery.
• Baked sweet potato.
• Steamed vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, butternut squash, and purple cabbage. You can add olive oil for flavor.
• Baked or grilled chicken or turkey.
• Non-citrus fruits, like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, papaya.
Most importantly, remember to drink enough water starting a week before your performance. Drink 10-12 cups of water a day.
When you’re learning how to sing better, diet is an essential consideration. It will take time and practice to learn what works best for you. Everybody’s metabolism and vocal cords are different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Try keeping a food journal as well as experiment during non-performance seasons. Also, it’s a good idea for you to be in touch with a professional nutritionist to figure out the exact combination of foods that work best for you. A nutritionist can help you set up a precise meal plan to reach your optimal performance level.
Dairy foods are a real no-no when it comes to singing well. I find that it really helps to avoid splenda as well.