You’ve been going through your gear for a week. Your trip is booked. You’ve been practicing your breathing exercises. In short: You’re ready to go on your next diving trip. Before you jump into the water, there is one thing that you may not have considered: your diet.

What you eat during the days leading up to a dive can have a significant impact on your diving experience. Let’s take a look at the best and worst foods to eat before a dive.

Importance of Nutrition

First, it’s important to understand why you need good nutrition for a dive. You’re just floating around in the water; what does it matter if you skip breakfast or load up on junk food the night before? Between exploring caves and being surrounded by tropical fish, it can be easy to forget that diving is a form of exercise.

You’ll want to support your muscles with the proper fuel before a dive in the form of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein. This will ensure you stay satiated for the length of the dive. What’s more, it’ll help you avoid underwater fatigue. The last thing you want to experience is fatigue before having to swim to the surface and get yourself back on the boat.

Foods to Avoid Before a Dive

We would recommend starting to change your eating habits several days before the dive. The easiest way to begin this is to cut out troublesome foods.

Fried Foods: Enjoying a piece of sauteed chicken is fine but if your meal is deep-fried, this can be a problem for diving. Fried foods tend to sit in the stomach, digest slowly, and cause indigestion. Remember, you’re underwater and if you are getting indigestion, you won’t be able to find relief.

Oil-Based Foods: Continuing with the idea above, foods that are heavy in oil or butter will quickly become problematic, especially as your body is diving down.

Alcohol: Having a few drinks pre-dive may sound like a good idea but the reality is alcohol before a dive is unhealthy and dangerous. Alcohol consumption promotes dehydration in the body, making you more susceptible to decompression sickness. What’s more, alcohol might cause you to make more mistakes, which is the last thing you want to do when you’re deep below the surface of the ocean.

Best Foods to Eat Before a Dive

One week before your dive, begin to focus on natural and wholesome choices. Try to avoid consuming processed foods, if you can.

Complex Carbohydrates: Unlike simple carbohydrates that digest quickly and spike blood sugar, complex carbs break down over the course of several hours, providing a steady release of energy. Examples include sweet potatoes and brown rice without oil-based condiments.

Lean Protein: As mentioned above, scuba diving is a form of exercise and your muscles will appreciate the amino acids coming from healthy protein sources. Examples include lean chicken or turkey breast, and eggs.

Water: Staying hydrated is going to help immensely with preparing your body for the dive; most notably, it will decrease your risk for decompression sickness.

On the Day You Dive

Here are a few general tips to keep in mind when the big day arrives:

· Eat a light meal no more than 2 hours before your dive – For example, if you dive at 10 a.m., don’t eat after 8 a.m.
· Stay hydrated up to 30 minutes before dive time
· Snack on bananas and other simple carbohydrates in between dives
· Have fun and stay safe

What is your pre-dive routine?

Do you have favorite pre-dive foods? Have you ever made the mistake of eating fried foods before a dive? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.


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