A few questions that get asked a lot by divers are, what constitutes a good pre-dive breakfast? Is it okay to eat before you dive? Is having breakfast before a dive necessary? What kinds of surface interval snacks are beneficial? Today we attempt to answer some of these Scuba Diver Diet questions below.
Breakfast and Scuba Diving
Contrary to what many divers think, for a normal morning 2 tank dive, one should always have proper breakfast before their dives. Your body usually burns calories to stay warm underwater, and the exercise of swimming and diving require a large amount of energy In the form of calories. A good breakfast provides your body with the necessary source of fuel to expend while diving while preventing you from spending your dive shivering constantly.
What kind of breakfast should a scuba diver have before a day’s diving?
Try to eat something that will give you a long lasting energy supply. It is recommended that a light breakfast free from heavy fats, sugars and oils is best. A breakfast of cereal, fruit, yogurt, toast, muffins, bagels and even egg , will give you sufficient slow burning energy, your body needs to keep you warm during your dive. Try to restrict yourself to eat bland, non-greasy and non-acidic foods, trust me you don’t want heart burn underwater. Also be sure not to overeat, eat just enough to last until lunch.
A key recommendation for divers is to drink plenty of fluids in the morning. Tea, juices, and water are key to preventing dehydration on the boat or while diving. Avoid excessive orange Juice consumption as its acidic nature may make you sea sick. Consumption of too much coffee before a dive is also not recommended as caffeine acts as a diuretic which brings on dehydration. Dehydration can play a significant role in DCS so consume plenty of water before your dive or restrict yourself to decaf, or tea instead.
The saying about eating before you swim, giving you cramps is a myth. However try not to eat anything within 45 mins – 2 hrs before your dive, mainly to allow your system to digest before you set out on a boat to prevent yourself from being queasy and sea sick while on the rocking boat. For those that get seasick easily, stay away from a heavy breakfast and try foods like ginger snaps, dry toast, cheese and crackers which usually help absorb the stomach acids, making you feel better.
Are Surface Interval Snacks Ok?
During your surface intervals, between dives, we recommend you snack on some high-carbohydrate foods, such as bananas, fruit, granola bars, energy bars, cereal bars, yogurt, cookies and biscuits to give you instant energy for your next dive. Ensure you also re-hydrate yourself between dives by drinking plenty of water or a sports drink. Bananas are perhaps the most popular surface interval snack, although some boat captains don’t allow bananas onboard their boats, citing an old superstition that bananas bring bad luck to sailors. Try to avoid heavy starchy foods during your surface interval; your aim is to replenish your energy and fluids for your next dive after which you can eat whatever you like.