Singing: What to Eat and Drink
written by Susan Anders ~ vocal instructor
Every body has different sensitivities, so you’ll need to experiment with different foods and see what
works best for you. Here are some guidelines:
When to Eat
Think of yourself as an athlete and eat that way: an athlete wouldn’t stuff herself with food just before
running the mile and neither should you. A full stomach inhibits the movement of the diaphragm you’ll
have difficulty taking in full breaths and you’ll be prone to burping. Don’t starve yourself, either–
singing is hard work, you need fuel. A normal meal an hour or two (two is better) before a singing
session works best. If you need to eat between sets go for non-bulky, easy to digest food. Before a
show I like eggs–high protein, low density.
What Not To Eat Or Drink Before Singing
• Foods that add mucous: milk, ice cream and other dairy products
• Foods that dry the throat: citrus fruits, alcohol
• Throat Irritants: Overly spicy foods, coffee
• Sodas and other fizzy drinks put lots of air in your stomach
• Ice cold anything: your throat will constrict. Warm water or herbal tea is best
What’s Soothing To The Throat
Licorice tea or candy (experiment with this, some people get an uncomfortably speedy buzz from
licorice), baking soda or salt water gargles (see below), honey, sugar lozenges, steam, certain
herbal teas — which teas to drink varies from person to person so experiment.
What Helps To De-Gunk The Throat
You’ve probably heard that honey/lemon/and hot water are helpful if you have mucous in your throat.
But remember that lemon is drying so don’t overdo it. I prefer gargling, here’s the best way: If your
throat feels gunky and/or irritated: mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + one cup warm water. Take a
small amount of fluid in your mouth and gargle at a high pitch-this causes your vocal cords to
contract and rise closer to where you are actually gargling (your epiglottis will prevent the fluid from
actually reaching your vocal cords). Spit and repeat several times.