Updated resume? Check

Business appropriate attire? Check

Positive outlook? Check

Grounded energy, mental clarity and balanced blood sugar? Check your recent food choices.

Food, mood and performance are so intricately linked. Your pre-interview meal says everything about your ability to bring your A-game to a job search. What will you munch on to best accessorize that polished resume and crisp professional wardrobe?

If you want to make a real impression, eat real food.

So what’s real food? Most obvious is the fact that real food is not processed or refined in such a way that it is stripped of essential nutrients — vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Real food is whole food, not broken or fractured. True north places your nutritional compass on foods that contain no mystery ingredients or preservatives.

Although there are certainly fast-casual restaurants that do serve whole foods, most traditional fast food won’t fuel your meeting as well as whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), nuts and seeds. For breakfast think fiber-filled oatmeal, sprouted bread with nut butter (no added sugar or additional oil), a small bowl of fruit (fresh or frozen) with Greek yogurt and brain-boosting walnuts.

Eat 100% whole grain bread. When a loaf of bread reads ‘whole wheat’ and the ingredients on the back label of the package list it as ‘enriched’ (wheat), it is far from a whole food. A sugary donut or a nutrient-stripped bagel will have your body running on empty before your interview begins. Both are prone to spike the blood sugar instead of stabilizing it. Both have a tendency to scatter your thoughts. Make smart food choices and an interviewer will take notice of your focused energy, optimism and grounded presence. 100% sprouted bread is high in protein and packed with live enzymes, oxygen, vitamins and minerals. The body thrives on true fuel.

Your pre-interview meal should be easy to digest. The more easily your body digests your meal, the lighter on your feet you will be, with more energy to make your case for being the ideal candidate for the job.

Career coaches will suggest being yourself in a job interview. To be authentic, it helps to eat authentically. Avoid dehydration, low blood sugar, mood swings and zapped energy by making mindful meal choices the night before and the day of a job interview.

Step away from the tempting energy stealers at breakfast: sugary coffee concoctions, softball-sized muffins and high protein bars which are most often no healthier than a candy bar. Determine a breakfast ahead of time which will ground you and provide sustainable energy.

Show the interviewer that you are a qualified candidate that’s fueled for endurance. Then, after your winning interview, treat yourself to an equally energized post-interview meal. Who knows, it might just inspire that winning thank you note that closes the deal.

Originally published at medium.com