Emma diving on Koh Tao. There's lots of curries in Thailand so find out what to eat and what to avoid before scuba diving.
Check out my tips on what food to eat and what to avoid before each scuba dive.

Going scuba diving and don’t want to burp curry into your regulator during the dive? I’ve been there and done that, and it ain’t nice. So here is an instructor’s guide on what to eat before diving to ensure no gassy bubbles from the mouth or from the rear!

What to Eat before Diving

It is normal to feel slightly nervous before a dive, even if you have dived hundreds of times. This is because at the end of the day, it is not normal for people to breathe underwater, and there is always a slight risk when diving. Read more about what divers should do for their own safety here.

If your stomach is giving you trouble or you have some butterflies flying around inside, then you should stick to food that is starchy and solid such as;

  • Bread
  • Plain pasta
  • Rice that is not too oily (avoid fried rice, and stick to plain rice)
  • Potatoes
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Solid fruits such as bananas or apples for energy
  • Oats / Porridge
  • Nuts
  • Meat pie or Sausage Roll

These types of food will usually settle your stomach, and if it does come back out, at least it will be solid!

Food to Avoid Before Diving

A lot of recreational diving is done in warm climates during a tropical holiday. This might mean you will be trying and eating exotic and spicy food that your stomach is not used to. Here are some things to avoid just before a scuba dive;

  • Spicy curries and soups
  • Heavy meals that take a lot of energy to break down, such as a giant steak or saucy ribs
  • Anything that is too oily
  • Acidic Fruits such as oranges and pineapples
  • Juicy and watery fruits if you already have an upset stomach
  • Asparagus, Cauliflower, Brocolli, Brussel Sprouts; as these can cause digestion problems and bloating

Why Am I so Hungry after Scuba Diving?

The best part of the surface interval after a scuba dive is biting into something warm and satisfying. Usually to warm you up after a dive, but also to satisfy that hunger after a dive. So why are we so hungry after scuba diving?

The most logical answer is that we burn a lot of energy and calories when scuba diving. Kicking your fins, swimming in a current, breathing in nitrogen, these are things that can keep the heart rate up. Before and after a dive, you will be lifting a heavy scuba tank, donning and doffing equipment, being in the sun (or the cold), and these will also help you burn energy.

When you burn energy, you will need more fuel, which is food. This is why we are usually hungry after a scuba dive, and why you need to keep your energy levels up!

I’m So Tired After Scuba Diving!

If you’re feeling tired after scuba diving, then you will need food to keep your energy levels up. You should also keep hydrated with a bit of sugar. These foods are great for a surface interval to keep your levels up and ready for the next dive!

  • Bananas, which is a great source of energy and potassium (to stop those underwater cramps!)
  • Nuts, such as macadamia nuts, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts (try to avoid salty versions)
  • Sandwiches
  • Meat Pies / Sausage Rolls / Pizza
  • Chips (but be aware these are very salty and will make you even more thirsty)
  • COOKIES – sometimes you just need some sugar!

Scuba Fit Meals

Here is my ideal scuba fit and ready meals on a scuba diving trip, and what to eat before each dive;

Before an early morning dive: 2 Boiled Eggs, Toast

AM Surface Interval: Bread with butter/jam. Or a hot veg/meat pie.

Lunch: Sandwich with salad, or Omelette on Rice

PM Surface Interval: Something slightly salty, like nuts or chips

After Dives: A big meal of WHATEVER YOU WANT + Beers!

What is your favorite pre or post-dive food? What meal do you want after a long day of diving? Let me know in the comments below.

Emma was terrified of the ocean but dove into her Open Water 7 years ago and hasn't looked back since! She worked as an underwater videographer for several years and is now a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She currently runs a dive shop on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand and is the founder of Down To Scuba.

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