Eating Right for the Best Musical Performance

Eating Right for the Best Musical Performance

Eating Right for the Best Musical Performance

Performing is an athletic activity. And not everyone works the same. You might here one person say, “No way can I eat before a concert!” Another might say “I eat a LOT early in the day.” Taking a line from the previous blog, Music Travel Consultants’ own, Andrew Moran, says that as musicians, we all know that to present our music best, we have to be in peak mental health. Music, in turn, reinforces our mental health. But, being at the top of our musical game is also facilitated (or hindered) by our physical health. Let’s take a look at a musician’s performance day diet and see if we can find some nutritional tips before performing. An optimal diet can be different if you are doing choirs, band, or orchestras. Food plays a big part in the performance: When we are hungry or dehydrated we can’t concentrate as well, and sometimes those tempers can come out or the brain is in a sluggish state. This is your time to shine! Get that rest and eat your best!


The best diet for a vocalist is one that promotes overall good health and limits or avoids fatty and fried foods. In addition to the obvious one, being lots of water, here are some other keys tips.

  • Fish & chicken are the best meat options.
  • Apples, eggs, rice, and moderate portions of yellow vegetables are healthy choices (yellow veggies are good for your fibrous tissues).
  • Your diet should include fruit and whole grains (foods that are rich in vitamins A, C & E, which keep the mucus membranes healthy).

Foods to avoid before choir performances:

  • Fatty/fried foods.
  • Bananas (too much mucus production can occur).
  • Dairy products (same as with bananas).
  • Nuts or snack foods (small pieces can be bother the throat if not totally washed down).

Foods for if you need to extinguish a sore throat:

  • Cut up 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger (you don’t even need to peel it) and pour a lot of boiling water over it for Ginger Tea. Note: Try not to drink hot/cold drinks too close to performance time.
  • Sage tea (Room Temp)
  • Lemon in water can help loosen the buildup of mucous, while the addition of honey can help coat it. Keep in mind that a little lemon goes a long way.
  • Try some cinnamon at the first sign of a sore throat. Cinnamon can also sooth coughs.

Marching Bands

Marching Bands can have the roughest times. A Marching Band’s meal before a performance might consist of a plastic bag being held open by a hard-working band parent in the freezing cold with a day old smashed peanut butter sandwich. Thinking ahead is going to be the biggest reward. Just assume that on performance day that the key to a good diet is a good breakfast.

  • Keep hydrated. Especially if it is hot and you are outside but even if it is cold. This is #1. Make sure you prepare by getting fluids in beforehand. Bring a large water bottle with you. Drink every time you get a chance, even if you don’t think you need it. Avoid high-sugar and carbonated drinks.
  • For Breakfast: Oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, bagels, low-sugar cereal, whole grain bread, fruits, Eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, lean meat (such as Canadian bacon or turkey bacon)
  • Protein and carbohydrates are your best friends on performance days!
  • For later: Have on-the-go foods around. Apples, carrots, bananas, grapes…anything you just pop in and it won’t leave your hands slimy.

Foods to avoid:

  • Carbs like doughnuts, candy, or sugary cereals.
  • Stay away from high-fat items. Some fat is good, but be mindful.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. Sport drinks are alright in moderation if you sweat a lot


Members of the Orchestra usually try to avoid eating too much before a performance. This could cause performers to feel groggy and can inhibit the movement and flexibility of the diaphragm. Energy can be utilized most when eating foods that can be metabolized quickly.

  • Keep hydrated. One can really work up a sweat performing under hot stage lights in jackets or tails.
  • Honey and lime juice. Lime increases saliva production.
  • Complex carbs and lighter proteins will give you energy throughout the concert such as yogurt or bananas.
  • And have a healthy snack waiting for you afterwards as well because orchestra performers have been known to eat each other after performances!

Foods to avoid before choir performances:

  • Spicy Foods
  • Avoid coffee, soda, and tea. Caffeinated beverages can cause the shakes and may amplify the effects of stage fright
  • Avoid sugary foods, which may give you a quick high but then you may crash.

And just don’t be like the Chili Klaus & Classical Orchestra and eat the worlds hottest chili peppers during a performance:

Have some tips to add? Did something above work or not work for you? Please comment below and share them with the community. Every little bit can help!

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