Food for flutists – what to eat to enhance performance

If you have ever had to play with a full stomach, or an empty one craving for food, you know how crucial this aspect is! Food for flutists is going to break down what it takes for your stomach to be quiet and happy, supporting you instead of hindering your breathing, leaving you with the energy to concentrate on the music.

Food for flutists - do not over eat

 

3 tips on what to eat before a performance and a bonus secret


First of all: I’m not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, just a flutist who has lived through some embarrassing experiences and wishes to help you avoid that and be at your best, always!

1.food for flutists - banana

Maybe you have heard of it: The food to eat before an important performance or audition is a banana. It gives you the minerals you need, fructose and strength. It is best if you eat it 20min before you have to be at the top of your preparation. Just another information, bananas are fantastic, but the fruits treated the most of them all. So be sure you buy organic bananas. (A beauty tip as well: if you have the shell of organic bananas and those stripes that remain, put them on your face and neck, where ever you feel your skin is losing elasticity, dryness or wrinkles. It also helps to even out the skin reducing its imperfections. Much cheaper and more effective than many face creams.)

Be sure you are able to brush your teeth as we wouldn’t want any banana parts rocketing through your flute!

2.

If you really need to be at the peak of your energy, add a piece of dark chocolate, possibly with whole nuts in it. This will help you to perform at the best you can, it gives you energy, uplifts your mood, provides you with antioxidants and vitamin E as well as with healthy fats that protect your nervous system.

Lindt Excellence Bar, 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate, Gluten Free

Also, after the chocolate you should wash your mouth, because it triggers saliva production which could interfere with your sound quality.

3.food for flutists - orange juice

If on the other hand you have problems with a too dry mouth and tongue, drink a glass of orange juice. Choose a fresh one if you can, or at least without sugar added. This will help with the dryness of your oral cavity and induce salivation.

Bonus secret

Not only food for flutists can have an impact on saliva production, but there is another trick that doesn’t involve food.

It sounds a little weird but it works! Pull your earlobe while making a yawing movement with your jaw. Keep your lips closed while doing that. Let me know in the comment section below if it helped you too!

 

 

Food for flutists – all day long


First thing, what does a flutist look for in food? We wouldn’t want to overcharge our stomach with digestion as this would hinder optimal diaphragmatic breathing. To get a closer look at how a flutist’s breathing works click here.

So in order to do that you should pay attention to chew everything you eat thoroughly before you swallow it.

We look for energetic healthy food. Nutrients that empower us and do not slow us down. They should be easy to digest and release energy gradually over time. So never over eat! In fact follow the Japanese, they have a fantastic golden rule:

Hara hachi bun me

Eat  until you feel 8 parts out of ten full, not more. Eat until you still could continue, but stop. No need to be completely full. 80% is more than enough to sustain our everyday flute life and keep us healthy.

over eating

So what is on the menu for us?

Food for flutists – in the morning


In the morning boost your energy with fruits. They are easy to digest, provide energy and vitamins and have a slow and prolonged release of fructose turned into glucose which keeps your energy level up also in the long run. If you can choose local fruits as nature knows what’s best for you right where you are. No need for passion fruit or mango if you live in Northern Europe. An apple will just be as fine. If you can choose organic and eat the peel as well as many vitamins are stored there.

Limit your dairy product consumption as it burdens your digestive system and slows you down. So choose soy milk if you wish to eat your muesli. I just go with the fruits in the morning and a black coffee. Which should be substituted by tea, but hey, no one’s perfect. If instead you are used to your bread roll, make it whole grain and use organic 100 % fruit jam, no butter.

 

food for flutists - apple

Food for flutists – at lunch


For lunch choose anything that is easy to digest, as a musician’s day is still long. This means NO SALAD for lunch, NO RAW VEGETABLES. They get your blood to your stomach and will use your energy for breaking those down. Vegetables are better cooked, maybe steamed, and of course NOT FRIED. Go with the whole grain version of whatever you choose and add high value protein (fish, eggs). Avoid beans and lentils for lunch, your neighbor in the orchestra will thank you! Same goes for onions and garlic. As desert go with another fruit. I usually finish with an espresso, but I live in Italy. You might go with tea or warm water option. The warm water is another trick I learned from the Asian world. A glass of warm water can work miracles. They also use it first thing in the morning. You might want to try that!

 

In between meals go with the fruit and nuts options, dark chocolate and fruit juices if you need more energy. Cut down on sugar. Drink a glass of warm water or tea to calm your cravings.

 

Food for flutists – in the evening


At dinner and I’m talking about having finished playing the flute, studying, performing or rehearsing, go with the good stuff that takes all night to digest: Salads, raw vegetables, beans and lentils. Make sure you take in more protein at lunch than at dinner. As dinner is for integrating good fats (olive oil, fatty fish) and carbs. Yes, carbs in the evening helps you digest what you eat and the energy valley after the first peak will get you to sleep more deeply and fast.

A cup of tea or a glass of warm water is always beneficial, unless you can’t go to the restroom in the hour after consumption!

Be sure to check which foods to avoid and what a healthy food pyramid looks like ——> here.

 

A flutist’s menu – food for flutists


 

So what is your ritual before going out there on the stage? Chocolate like I do, strictly 90%?

Lindt Excellence Bar, 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate, Gluten Free, Great for Holiday Gifting, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)

What do you eat in the mornings? Would you like a link to organic coffee and an espresso moka?
The Moka is what we use in Italy when we are not with George Clooney… 😂

Bialetti 06800 Moka stove top coffee maker, 6 -Cup, Aluminum

The Bean Coffee Company Organic Il Chicco (Traditional Italian Roast), Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)

Also check out my article on life design for musicians, as living healthier starts with more time and satisfaction. ——-> life design for musicians.

Is there any advice you can give us?

I’d be more than happy to know how you do it and maybe learn and add something to my list
of food for flutists.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience below in the comment section.

 

Have a happy flute meal,

Janie

founder of

3 rules to play together in a music group

 

topflute.com

myflutelife.com

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Food for flutists – what to eat to enhance performance”

  1. Hi Janie,

    top notch stuff!

    I’m not a flutist, but have experienced these same stomach problems before in situations where the o’ so beautiful sounds my stomach is making, aren’t really appropriate…so your blog came in really handy for me anyway!

    I really enjoyed your three suggestions at the start of the post, and I hadn’t thought of or heard of dark chocolate as something that could be helpful. Thanks for that one! Also, it was helpful to read “Eat until you feel 8 parts out of ten full, not more.” I guess I just out of habit go until I’m 10 out of 10 full… :p I will definitely be more careful with that from here on!

    And, of course…one of your lasts tips very much hits me right in the gut: Avoid too much coffee! I guess I know this, but have a hard time controlling my coffee intake, so it’s helpful to read this. Thanks!

    Keep up the good work,
    Joachim

    Reply
    • Dear Joachim, thank you for sharing your experience and reading Food for flutists. I’m happy that you found the information useful to improve your performance and well being. You are so right about the coffee. But at least we can try to drink the good stuff! Organic expresso. You should try it with a piece of dark chocolate. It’s delicious!
      All the best,
      Janie

      Reply
    • Dear Yama, you are very welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read Food for flutists. We are always happy to be able to provide helpful information.
      Janie

      Reply
  2. I think you have a touch or refined touch for the subject. Very informative and well structured articale.
    Food is very important subject, because our health depends on it. I would be grateful to the magical flute that opened awareness to choice of quality of food that one should eat when performing, or in general when eating.

    “Listen to the flute” by Rumi

    Listen to the reed (flute), how it is complaining! ***
    It is complaining about the separations:

    I want a heart that is torn, torn from separations, ***
    so that I may explain the pain of this love.

    Whoever has been parted from his source; ***
    seeks to return to the days of origination.

    Everyone became my friend from his (own) reasons; ***
    yet none searched out the secrets I contain.

    My secret is not far away from my lament, ***
    yet, eye and ear do not possess that light to understand it.

    Body is not hidden from soul, nor soul from body, ***
    Yet, none has the license to perceive the soul.

    It is the fire of love that inspires the reed, (not just the wind!)***
    It is the ferment of love that completes the wine.

    Who has ever seen a poison and an antidote like the reed? ***
    Who has ever seen a consort and a longing lover like the reed?

    In our sorrow the days of our life become unseasonable, ***
    The days have become fellow travelers of burning grief.

    If the days passed, say go it matters not, ***
    But You, You remain, for nothing is as pure as you are

    The raw do not understand the state of the ripe, ***
    Hence my words must be brief, so Farewell!

    O Boy, break your bonds, and be free, ***
    How long will silver and gold enslave you?

    If you pour the whole sea into a jug, ***
    will it hold more than one day’s store?

    The greedy eye, like the jug, is never filled, ***
    Until content, the oyster holds no pearl.

    Only one who has been undressed by Love, ***
    is free of defect and greed.

    Hail, our sweet-thoughted Love, ***
    healer of all our ills,

    Our Plato and Galen, ***
    remedy for our pride and our vanity.

    With love this earthly body could soar in the air; ***
    the mountain could arise and nimbly dance.

    Love gave life to Mount Sinai, O lover. ***
    Sinai was drunk; Moses lost consciousness.

    Pressed to the lips of one in harmony with myself, ***
    Like the reed I would tell all that could be told.

    But without a common tongue, I am dumb, ***
    even if I have a hundred songs to sing.

    The Beloved is all; the lover just a veil. ***
    The Beloved is living; the lover a corpse.

    If Love withholds its strengthening care, ***
    the lover is left like a bird without wings.

    How can I have awareness of before and behind, ***
    when the light of my Beloved is not before and behind?

    Love wants these words to manifest. ***
    (But) how is it that the mirror reveals nothing?

    Do you know why your mirror reveals nothing? ***
    Because the rust is not separated from its face!

    Friends, listen to the tale of this reed, ***
    For it is the story of our life, indeed!

    I hope you like this words told by the flute…..

    Reply
    • Wow, you have me completely blown away by those beautiful words. I will research Rumi and find out more about the poetry. Thank you so much for sharing. Your comment is a blessing from the heart. I hope my readers will read it and enjoy the lines as much as I have.
      Blessings and might you be addressed by the love of the flute and never separate,
      Janie

      Reply
  3. Hi Janie,

    Thank you for yet again an amazing article! If I may add one more thing for your readers. A friend of mine, who’s very into the health part of food once told me that eating a banana also calms the nerves. Therefore it’s also a very good thing to eat before a performance if you experience a bit of anxiety ;).

    All the best!

    Virendra

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Virendra! That is very good to know, thank you for sharing. That makes a lot of sense, it helps me calm down before performing. All the best and I am happy to welcome you to my site again!
      Janie

      Reply
  4. Hi Janie,
    First of all, thanks for making me pull my ears while at work… my colleagues thought I’ve gone crazy 🙂
    I never played the flute but I can imagine the energy it required just to blow through the instrument for hours.
    However, I found your diet tips to be very helpful for example the Japanese 8/10 golden rule which I am guilty of, also about red meat which I never knew about.
    Overall I like your articles and the touches of humor.
    Cheers,
    Fred

    Reply
    • Hi Fred, I can only imagine your colleagues!! Well laughing also makes for a healthier and happier person. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and trying out my bonus tip 😄. I hope what is good for a flutist can be even more important if you do not have to do athletic musician rehearsal. So happy to know you like my posts and articles. I’m very thankful for your comment on food for flutists and wish you all the best.
      Janie

      Reply
  5. Maybe you are not a doctor but you explained the things just like a doctor. Similarly, I am not a flutist, but I enjoyed your article more than a flutist because I found these are not only the diets for flutists but these are great tips for a healthy body.

    I personally don’t have an in-depth idea about the ways to upgrade a flutist’s performance, but what I understand, a flutist needs to be highly energetic while performing. Because there needs high pressure, it involves many up and down and needs to be continuous for a long time. All of these need high energy as well as a proper diet.

    I love the way you co-ordinated different types of foods to a fluter’s performance, and all with proper reason. One of my friends is a wonderful fluter, and he is associated with a local band. This article will be very helpful to him. Thank for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your wonderful comment! I have been to many doctors and took what helped me and left what didn’t so that might be helpful to some one else as well. Thank you so much for your thourough review and positive statement. I sure hope I can help your fluter friend! Playing the flute is athletic in many ways so providing enough energy in continuous release is crucial. If he plays in a band he will also drink the occasional beer, I guess? It reintegrates minerals and some important B vitamins. Of course, it would be recommended non alcohhoolic. But hey, can’t take away all the fun! I ususally drink beer with zero alcohol if I crave one during the day (it is way better than soft drinks) and have a normal one after a concert. But it doesn’t have to become a routine. I guess doctors would be against it😉. But also in the Harvard chart I put in the article, mild consumption of alcoholic like beer and wine is not totally discarded. Let me know how your friend does it! All the best and thanks for coming by and taking the time,
      Be in touch,
      Janie

      Reply

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