What to Eat (And What Not to Eat) Before You Meditate

Just like the foods you choose to eat before working out can affect your performance, your meditation session can also be negatively or positively impacted by what you decide to put in your stomach. After all, meditation is basically exercise for your brain!

Those who are trying to stick to a meditation habit may unknowingly be making it harder on themselves by timing their sessions improperly around their meals and snacks, or by simply choosing the wrong foods to eat throughout the day. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake or calm your mind, perhaps your diet could be partly to blame.

Before we jump right into some of the foods to enjoy and avoid before meditation, it’s important to note that most meditation teachers and seasoned practitioners recommend waiting at least 1 to 2 hours after eating before meditating. The significance of this general rule has to do with digestion, which is what the body focuses on after eating. If you try to meditate right after eating, you’ll almost undoubtedly struggle with staying alert because much of the blood gets drawn to the digestive system, causing the mind to naturally begin to doze off.

Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean you absolutely must adhere to this general rule. For many people, having a light snack within an hour of meditating can actually be a big help. Here are some healthy suggestions:

Fresh fruit. You can’t really go wrong with fruits like bananas, berries, apples, pears, and other low-sugar fruits. This is what your body needs to  produce glucose, which can help boost concentration and alertness while meditating.

A couple squares of dark chocolate. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate promote blood flow to the brain, which enhances memory, learning, and focus. Just remember to stick to having no more than a couple pieces to avoid overdoing it on the fat content and calories.

A handful of almonds. Almonds contain healthy fat, protein, and some carbs along with vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. They make a perfect snack when you need to curb hunger and boost energy almost anytime throughout the day, whether you’re preparing for a physical workout or a mental one.

A green smoothie. The great thing about green smoothies is that you can experiment with all sorts of ingredients. Leafy greens, celery, cucumber and other veggies are loaded with antioxidants that help the brain, and you can add fruits for a sweeter taste plus a glucose kick too. Avocados, flaxseed, and coconut oil will also add a nice brain-boosting portion of healthy fat.

Water. Some people find that meditating on a completely empty stomach — often in the morning before breakfast — is most beneficial. Aim to drink a glass of water before you meditate to wake up your brain, rehydrate your entire body, and help you avoid falling back asleep.

Remember to keep your portions in check. It can be easy to overdo it on the chocolate or almonds — especially if you’re pretty hungry but want to get a good meditation session in before a real meal.

Now let’s look at some of the worst foods and beverages you could choose to eat or drink before meditating:

Caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda. In general, high amounts of caffeine should be avoided since this stimulant can make it more difficult to calm the mind and/or enter a deeper state of meditation. This, of course, is largely dependent on the individual. Some people do find it helpful if they really struggle with staying awake through meditation, so it really comes down to weighing the pros and cons against each other in terms of how you’re affected by caffeine.

Simple carbohydrates. Foods and beverages that are mainly just sugar like fruit juices, cookies, pastries, white bread, white pasta and others may cause your blood sugar to spike, leading to a crash later that will make you feel sluggish and drowsy. And as already mentioned earlier, you definitely don’t want to be meditating when you’re feeling drowsy.

Heavy foods rich in fat, sugar, starch, creamy sauce, or cheese. This really brings us back to the initial point about avoiding big meals before meditation. A hamburger and fries or big bowl of fettuccine alfredo is going to be a big job for your body to digest, and it’ll most likely put you down for a nap rather than allow you to have a good meditation session.

If you think about what you eat before you meditate the same way that you think about what you eat before you do physical exercise, you should be good to go. It really all comes down to choosing healthy, natural foods and sticking to small portions.

Related Articles
5 Ways to Meditate If Meditation Scares You
6 Subtle Habits You Didn’t Know Were Causing You to Overeat
10 of the Healthiest Portable Snacks You Can Take Anywhere

Photo Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo

88 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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David M.
David M2 years ago

That's probably good, but after one has done enough formal (like sitting) meditiation, one can meditate all the time--even when eating anything (though I'd recommend a vegan diet done healthily, to have the most meditative mind.)

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Frances M.
Frances M2 years ago

Thanks.

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Elaine W.
Past Member 2 years ago

Good ideas.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Jax L.

Thank you!

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Jax L.

Great Article!

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Cat L.
Cat H2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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