Landing a job interview really feels like an accomplishment in itself. You've perfected your resume, you've written the freakin' cover letter (why is this still a thing?), applied to several companies, and finally have your Big Chance. Now the nerves kick in. Beyond the requisite interview prep—thinking of smart questions, outlining your strengths and weakness, etc.—it's wise to consider what you're eating beforehand, too.
"The last thing you want to be at a job interview is excessively nervous or hyper," dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade says. "You also don't want your stomach growling or gurgling during the interview." She suggests eating a carbohydrate-rich snack, like a banana, a cup of yogurt, or a cup of whole-grain cereal, one hour before your meeting: "It will prevent hunger while providing you with the energy and mental clarity to ace the interview." Nutritionist Amy Shapiro also suggests going for a fistful of whole grains along with nuts and seeds because they promote the production of the mood-boosting, relaxing hormone serotonin. To be alert and focused, nutritionist Sara Vance suggests green tea for its calming L-Theanine component as well as its dose of caffeine, which is less than a cup of coffee contains—"it will provide energy, but won't make you jittery," she says. If your interview is in the morning, Vance says to try a breakfast combining healthy protein and fat (e.g., eggs with avocado and more veggies) to stabilize blood sugar, which, when low, "can increase feelings of anxiety and mood imbalances."
All three nutritionists warn against relying on food with refined carbohydrates. Whole grains keep your blood sugar steady and help you focus, Palinski-Wade says, so impulse-buying that muffin, munching on cookies, or eating a bagel for breakfast won't do you any favors. "They can instigate a blood sugar crash, leaving you shaky in your meeting," Shapiro adds. Coffee and soda are other things to avoid hours before a job interview. "Caffeine is a stimulant and can in increase heart rate and anxiety," Palinski-Wade explains. "In addition, caffeine can be a GI stimulant, so if you are one to get an upset stomach with nerves, this can make the situation worse and possibly increase the risk of diarrhea." Nightmare. Keep these tips in mind, though, and that interview will be smooth sailing.
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