The best and worst food before scuba diving

Scuba diving is an exhilarating activity that allows us to explore the fascinating underwater world. Whether you are a seasoned diver or a beginner, it is essential to fuel your body with the right food before taking the plunge. The food you consume before diving can significantly impact your performance, energy levels, and overall experience. In this article, we will discuss the best and worst food to eat before diving, ensuring you make the most out of your underwater adventure.

The best and worst food before scuba diving

Diving requires physical exertion and mental focus, making it necessary to provide your body with adequate nourishment. By choosing the right foods, you can enhance your energy levels, promote mental clarity, and improve your diving performance. On the other hand, consuming the wrong foods before diving can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and even potential health risks.

The importance of proper nutrition before diving

Before we delve into the best and worst foods, let’s understand why proper nutrition is crucial before diving. When you dive, your body experiences increased pressure, which affects various physiological processes. It is essential to consume foods that are easily digestible and provide sustained energy to support your body during the dive. Additionally, certain foods can cause bloating, indigestion, or other gastrointestinal issues, which can be uncomfortable and affect your overall experience.

Scuba diving in Turkey
Scuba diving

The best food before diving

Diving with an empty stomach is not the best option, but you have to choose the kind of food that is appropriate.  To optimize your diving experience, consider incorporating the following foods into your pre-dive meal plan:

High-Protein Foods

Protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery, making it an important component of your pre-dive meal. Opt for lean sources of protein such as grilled chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes. These foods provide the necessary amino acids to support your muscles and help you stay energized underwater.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are a valuable source of sustained energy. Prioritize foods like whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. These carbohydrates are digested slowly, releasing a steady stream of energy to fuel your dive and prevent fatigue.

Healthy Fats

Including healthy fats in your pre-dive meal can provide a concentrated source of energy. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are excellent choices. These fats not only supply energy but also support brain function and help your body absorb essential vitamins.

Fruits and Vegetables

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables should be an integral part of your pre-dive meal. Opt for options like bananas, oranges, berries, leafy greens, and bell peppers. These foods help boost your immune system, enhance endurance, and provide hydration due to their high water content.

Food before scuba diving

The worst food before diving

While certain foods can enhance your diving experience, others should be avoided to prevent discomfort and potential risks. There is nothing worse than vomiting during a dive, and this can happen. Here are some foods you should steer clear of before diving:

Fried and Greasy Foods

Fried and greasy foods are heavy and difficult to digest. Consuming these food before diving can lead to indigestion, bloating, and discomfort, hampering your performance underwater. Avoid foods like french fries, fried chicken, and fast food burgers.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks can cause gas and bloating, which can be particularly uncomfortable during a dive. Additionally, these beverages may not provide the necessary hydration and can lead to an increased urge to urinate underwater. Opt for still water or natural fruit juices instead.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and digestive issues, which can be exacerbated underwater. Avoid dishes with excessive spices or chili peppers before your dive to prevent discomfort and potential distractions.


Alcohol should be strictly avoided before diving. It impairs judgment, affects coordination, and can increase the risk of decompression sickness. Save the celebratory drink for after your dive, when you can fully enjoy it without compromising your safety.

Hydration: The Key to Optimal Performance

In addition to consuming the right food, proper hydration is crucial before diving. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, cramps, and an increased risk of decompression sickness. Drink plenty of water in the hours leading up to your dive, and avoid excessive caffeine or sugary drinks that can have diuretic effects.

What to eat before diving?

Can I eat a heavy meal before diving? It is recommended to avoid heavy meals before diving as they can cause discomfort and make you feel sluggish underwater. Opt for light, nutritious meals instead.

Should I eat immediately before diving? It is advisable to eat a meal at least one to two hours before diving to allow for proper digestion. Consuming food too close to your dive can lead to indigestion or cramps.

Can I drink coffee before diving? While a moderate amount of caffeine may provide a boost of energy, it is essential to balance it with adequate hydration. Excessive caffeine consumption can have diuretic effects, potentially leading to dehydration.

Are there any food that can help prevent seasickness? Ginger has been known to alleviate symptoms of motion sickness. Consider consuming ginger tea or taking ginger supplements before diving if you are prone to seasickness.

Can I eat chocolate before diving? Chocolate contains caffeine, so it should be consumed in moderation. Opt for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, as it provides antioxidants and a lower caffeine content compared to milk chocolate.

In conclusion, by choosing the right foods and staying hydrated, you can optimize your diving experience. Prioritize nutritious options that provide sustained energy, support muscle function, and enhance your overall well-being. Avoid heavy, greasy, and spicy foods, as well as carbonated

The best and worst food before diving – let’s recap

Choosing the right food before diving plays a vital role in optimizing your performance and enjoyment underwater. Prioritize high-protein foods, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid fried and greasy foods, carbonated drinks, spicy dishes, and alcohol. Stay hydrated to ensure your body is prepared for the physical demands of diving. By nourishing your body properly, you can make the most out of your diving adventure.

costa rica divers instructor

PADI MSDT #384513


Peter "Pedro" Sawicki

My life has always been linked to sports commonly considered extreme. I once fell in love with big wall climbing, just as I am now in love with scuba diving. I climbed mountains, explored caves and took part in exploration expeditions. Through these experiences, I saw a large chunk of the world and learned a lot. Now I have been a professional diver and a scuba instructor for many years, and Costa Rica has become my second home. Check also my expedition project:


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