Singer's Working Diet:
DISCLAIMER: This is my singer’s working diet and it works best for me. I’ve had so much trial and error since I started training/performing at 8 years old. Some things I knew to avoid and other things, I learned the hard way - like mashed potatoes! I cracked in the middle of the sustained high note of the song 😬. LOL.
Also, I was always that singer that had a can of tuna. Protein wins over your pride. Sorry to tell ya!
Let's get into it!
HYDRATE! 3-5 liters of water/day.
Throw in a Gatorade (Berocca, Hydralyte, and/or Pedialyte) to replenish electrolytes, salts, and minerals. You’ll find this makes a huge difference especially on a performance day.
Luke warm apple juice. I purchase organic juice boxes/pouches and keep them in my bag.
Licorice/peppermint teas. Reduce inflammation and soothe.
Avoid excess caffeine. I still find the ability to have a coffee in my diet when training or performing. I use to avoid it completely. Now I have found balance by using a daily nasal saline rinse so I can manage a bit of dairy on a performance day.
Cans or pouches of tuna.
Almonds (limit and don’t eat 1 hour before).
Normal potato chips (up to 30 minutes before performance - weird I know).
Apples (with or without some peanut butter or nut butter of choice).
Avocado on toast.
Chicken. If I’m in a bind, I’ll try and even snag some chicken from a fast food place. Sometimes you don’t have that many options so yes, there’s grease but you need protein so if they offer grilled, get that!
Some types of granola bars.
Spoonfuls of honey.
Piece of toast with a nut butter if you’re in a bind.
Hummus with some seed crackers or carrots!
NO CELERY! Makes you burp constantly.
NO SOUR CANDY. Makes you produce excess saliva and then you can have a 'raw throat' from post nasal drip.
SOMETIMES, I avoid watermelon because it fills my stomach up too quickly with water and I feel heavy. Typically I like to avoid feeling heavy before training or performing.
I also tend to avoid citrus fruits as they make me feel dry and sore. That may not be the case for you. I definitely avoid lemon water. It dries me out too much.
Wholegrain toast with eggs.
Avo on wholegrain sourdough toast.
Oatmeal with blueberries/strawberries/banana.
Smoothies with fruits but avoid dairy yogurt.
Salmon and green beans - cooked anyway you like, even pan fried is fine (MY FAV).
Chicken salads with spinach and dark leafed greens (olive oil based dressings are beneficial to the voice). NO ICEBURG LETTUCE!
Homemade stir fry with above options. Zucchini/carrot/green beans!
Brown rice with any protein/veggies listed here.
Chickpea pasta with veggies and protein. Avoid tomato pasta sauce. Instead use olive oil. Goat cheese is also a good option. Great fats without bloat.
Chicken/turkey wraps. NO ICEBURG LETTUCE! AVOID TOMATOES 48 HOURS BEFORE. Add spinach, carrot, avo, etc.
Can/pouch tuna on brown rice with spinach. (QUICK ON THE GO IDEA. I eat this a lot).
Sushi (good option when you're out).
Bake some pumpkin with drizzled olive oil and add salt, garlic, walnuts, and some goat cheese. This will pack a punch and fuel you with great veg and fats. Garlic is also very good for the voice and immune system.
Grilled chicken/fish and vegetables like bell pepper (capsicum), zucchini, mushroom, etc.
Try out a bean salad containing kidney beans, chickpeas, etc. This is so nice with a bit of olive oil, herbs, and some goat cheese!
Avoid shellfish (just in case) but any other fish or shrimp should be fine.
Don’t be afraid of some salt.
I haven’t experimented much with sweet potatoes but pumpkin is fine for me.
Sometimes I even avoid red onion purely because it makes my breath yuck. Personal preference as I just don’t feel fresh when I’m singing.
Some things I’ve learned to avoid + why:
AVOID SPICY - I have a whole blog dedicated to this.
AVOID CELERY - gas/burping.
AVOID BROCCOLI - gas/burping.
AVOID CAULIFLOWER - gas/burping.
AVOID CABBAGE - gas/burping.
AVOID CORN - difficult to digest because of cellulose, causes excess gas, gets stuck in your teeth -- personal preference.
AVOID POTATOES - especially mashed!
AVOID MINCE BEEF - excess gas/indigestion.
AVOID DARK MEAT THE DAY BEFORE AND DAY OF PERFORMANCE.
AVOID TOMATOES THE DAY BEFORE AND DAY OF PERFORMANCE.
AVOID FATTY MEALS - like fast good -- you’ll lose some vocal control because of the 'slick' factor.
AVOID HEAVY MEALS - large calorie dense meals make you lethargic and sleepy because you’re body is busy digesting so instead eat smaller meals more often.
AVOID PIZZA 🍕😔 I love pizza so I use it as a treat after a big performance.
AVOID SODA - makes you burp.
AVOID CAFFEINE - I still have coffee usually just not 1-2 hours before a performance.
EAT SMALLER MEALS MORE OFTEN.
SNACK TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP.
EAT SOME PROTEIN 30-45 MIN BEFORE YOUR PERFORMANCE.
YOU’RE AN ATHLETE SO YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO EAT. INSTEAD, FUEL!
You get it. PROTEIN, SINGER DEFINED VEGETABLES, LOW GI CARBS.
This isn’t necessarily everything I can eat, but these are my go to food choices and most of these can be found easily on the go or can be carried in your bag.
I carry microwavable brown rice pouches, pouches of tuna, apple juice pouches, and fruits in my bag when I'm on the go especially for performances and/or travel for performances.
Let me know if you have any questions about liquids or foods!
See you soon + stay warm! Cx