In this month’s featured article, we’re going to be discussing the topic of what all singers should and should not be eating. 

Let’s start with the “shoulds” firstly.

  • You can eat anything you want as long as it’s a healthy balanced diet – so please work out what works best for you and what makes you feel and sound the best. Now with this, I also highly suggest a lot of vegetables and some fruit. This is the cardinal rule; “the better that you feel physically and mentally, the better you’re voice is going to sound”. It’s the same as the car – if you put bad fuel into the car, it’s not going to run properly; same with your body and voice. The better the fuel you put into your body, the better the sound that is going to be coming out of it.
  • What to Eat & Drink for a performance. If you have a show say for instance at 9 pm at night, I would highly suggest eating some complex carbohydrates at maybe 4-5 o’clock in the afternoon. The reason being is complex carbohydrates are going to release the energy a few hours later and you’re not going to feel full in three, four or five hours so this is a great form of energy. The best form of complex carbohydrates is pasta, rice, grains & potatoes etc.
  • Try not to eat too much when you’re about to perform – On that note, you never want to have a full stomach when you’re performing as this is going to greatly inhibit the use of your diaphragm which has to support the right amount of air on your vocal cords all the times.
  • If you are feeling hungry or before the show, I would highly suggest eating a light sandwich, muesli bars or some fruit. You’ll normally see this will be on the rider backstage of concerts for professional singers. So, if the professional singers have got this on their rider backstage to eat, you should be doing the same thing. I highly suggest eating bananas, they’re absolutely fantastic. Bananas are low in acids so they’re not going to ruin your voice, they’re full of vitamins and minerals and they will kick in energy straight away. I also highly suggest a good multivitamin as well, which is going to give you the other vitamins that you may be missing or lacking in your diet. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish before the performance, I would highly suggest a vitamin B as well, this gives you energy.

To summarise, have a great balanced diet full of fruit and vegetables, eat well, regular exercise & vocal training to feel & sound the best that you possibly can.

The “should nots” or the “you should not be eating or avoiding”

Please understand that these may differ from one person to the next but I’ll just give you the suggestions about what I would personally be avoiding to get the best out of your voice.

  • Do not eat spicy food if it is going to repeat or come up and burn your throat and cause reflux. I totally avoid hot and spicy foods on days of singing. Again, as I’ve already mentioned, I try not to eat too much so if I am teaching or have got a performance I try to eat at lunch or a meal 3-4 hours before I am about to sing or teach or I will have my dinner after the show or teaching.
  • I highly suggest on not consuming dairy products as it creates mucus or phlegm on the vocal cords which can interfere with your vocal cords and the proper operation of your vocal cords so I highly suggest not consuming any dairy products especially on the day of the show or days you sing.
  • Menthol and eucalyptus-based lozenges are a big no-no. I definitely suggest sucking lollies or lozenges to lubricate the throat as I think it’s a great idea especially on the day of the show but not menthol or eucalyptus-based lozenges because they’re going to strip back the natural mucus lining of the vocal cords, try not to have those kinds of lozenges if you possibly can.
  • Anything out that is going to possibly irritate your vocal cords. Maybe pineapple juice, anything that’s acidity may be too much pasta sauce, spice or anything that may irritate the vocal cords like wine or vinegar etc. I would highly suggest to try and eliminate anything that irritates the vocal cords.
    Again, work out what’s best for you and make your voice sound and feels the best it can.

Thank you for reading.

Peter Vox