Here’s all the stuff that you can enjoy in the hours before your show. In general, you want to make sure that you eat enough to fill you up, but not so much that you’re feeling toofull and therefore bloated or nauseous. Give yourself a balanced meal with protein to keep you going, and simple carbs to boost your energy level.
Fresh food is always better for your voice than processed food. Anytime you can pick fresh fruits or veggies over processed or prepared versions, go for it.
Grab that orange or that apple before you go for their juiced versions. Whole fruits have a lot more crucial nutritional value than juices do. You want to chew your fruit, as they contain fiber, vitamins, and more good stuff that helps your body absorb it all better. Juices tend to be more sugar and water than anything else, so they go straight to your bloodstream and wear you out quicker.
Protein is critical for singers. It fills us up, and gives us the energy we need to keep singing for a long time. Chicken is lean protein. It will fill you up, burn longer, and keep your vocal cords from being overwhelmed with fat and oils.
Just like chicken, fish is a lean source of protein. Baking or broiling fish in the oven allows you to use less oil than frying, and while it’s cooking you’ll have time to get some fresh veggies ready on the side.
Foods that are high in vitamin A help keep your mucus membranes nice and healthy. You’ll find vitamin A in yellow veggies like sweet potatoes and squash, or in fruits such as mangos, melon and peaches. It’s also in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. You can get your protein as well as your vitamin A from eggs and meat.
Nuts are a great snack for singers to have on hand at shows. Opt for unsalted or lightly salted options, if possible. And be sure to wash them down with a swig of room temperature water to keep the salt from drying out your throat.
Room temperature water
So, this might sound a bit boring, but it’s honestly the best thing you can do for your voice. For some, it might be an acquired taste (after 10+ years drinking it myself, I now prefer room temp!). Staying hydrated is critical for singers. And unlike ice cold water, room temperature water does not constrict your vocal cords. You may think that a few gulps of water before your first song will be enough to start you out. But oh, honey. You need you start upping your water intake the day before your show. Many voice teachers and health care professionals have told me over and over again, “You’re not fully hydrated until your urine is clear.” It’s maybe a little extreme, but as a goal it’ll help keep you thinking about water. Strive for no yellow, my friends.
A good, old fashioned PB ‘n’ J (with banana!) is a great breakfast or lunch meal on show days. Go for natural peanut butter, or anything with less sugar and salt than conventional. The protein will help you stay full, and a little bit of sugar from the jam and carbs from the bread will give you the energy to get through a long performance.
A small spoonful of honey in your water or decaf tea can help coat and soothe your throat. It’s nice first thing in the morning on show days, or as the last thing you drink at night after performing. Honey is still mostly sugar, so don’t go too crazy with it. But it’s uniquely good at preventing and soothing vocal strain, and it’s got antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, so it can help keep the bad, sore-throat bugs away.
Decaf teas containing licorice root
This might be the one thing out there that will actually help improve your voice. It’s called a demulcent. Licorice root forms a protective layer over the tissues in your throat, thus preventing irritation in your mucus membranes. Vocally, it gives you a lot of flexibility and enhances what you already do. Make it hot, then cool it down to room temperature with 1 or 2 ices cubes before drinking.
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