Asparagus with boiled eggs

The morning of your job interview…just eat it.

There are many ways that you can prepare for your job interview (see here), but one method of preparation that you may not have thought about involves nutrition. Here are 4 dietary tips to help you perform your best during your job interview:

1)      To Clear Your Mind

Eat omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health and antioxidants can enhance cognitive function. Excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and fatty fish (like salmon and tuna). Foods high in antioxidants include grapes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, green tea, and red beans.

2)      To Give You Energy

Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates. These nutrients will help you stay full for longer and help regulate your blood sugar. Excellent protein sources include eggs, chicken, turkey, and beans. Complex carbohydrates include whole-grains, legumes, and vegetables.

3)      To Calm Your Nerves

Eat magnesium and Vitamin B6. Low magnesium may reduce your ability to deal with stress. Vitamin B6 is important in the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which influence mood. Excellent sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and yogurt. For Vitamin B6, beans, chicken, bananas, potatoes, and avocados are all great sources.

4)      Wait! What About Coffee?!

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, then go ahead and have your normal cup of joe. Research has shown that coffee may enhance memory. However, if you’re not a usual coffee drinker, then opt for water. Coffee may make the jitters worse, and since coffee is a diuretic it may also lead to more trips to the restroom.

Okay, great – so now you know what nutrients and foods you need, but how do we translate that into an actual meal? Here is a list of meal ideas that incorporate all of the recommended nutrients to help you get through your job interview:

  • Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries and Toasted Walnuts
  • Whole-Grain Waffle with Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter) and Sliced Bananas
  • Greek Yogurt with Chia Seeds and Fresh Mixed Berries
  • Whole-Wheat English Muffin with Smoked Salmon, Red Onion, and Sliced Tomato
  • Sandwich with an Omega-3 Fortified Egg, Whole-Wheat Toast, Spinach, and Avocado
  • Whole-Wheat Pita with Hummus, Tuna, Lettuce, Tomato, and Cucumber

About Natasha Chong Cole, MPH, RD

Natasha Chong Cole is a Registered Dietitian and currently a doctoral student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Public Health degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University.  Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as a clinical dietitian and nutrition consultant, specializing in health and wellness, intuitive eating, and weight management. Her research interests include interventions in childhood obesity prevention, and the influence of parental feeding practices on the development of food intake behavior in infants and toddlers. 

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