10 Healthy Eating Habits to Improve Your Job Search Stamina

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What you put into your body determines how well you perform. That’s true when it comes to taking tests, playing sports, and yes — even searching for a job.

If you skip meals, eat junk, overload on caffeine, and don’t hydrate (basically, all the things your mother ever told you not to do), you’re more likely to feel fatigued and lack focus. And unfortunately, that can translate into not landing your dream job.

Here’s why and how to form eating habits that will make you happier, healthier, and less stressed during your job hunt:

The power of food

So much of the dieting industry focuses on how foods will make you look, but let’s shift and look at the way foods (and drinks) make us feel:

  • Eating too much junk food can lead to a higher risk of becoming depressed.
  • Drinking too much caffeine (more than three or four cups of coffee per day) is linked with insomnia, anxiousness, headaches, and a feeling of unhappiness.
  • Being thirsty/dehydrated makes you fatigued and negatively affects mood, attention, and memory.

In contrast, experts from the National Institutes of Health highlight that a healthy diet can help you:

  • Have more energy for work (that includes searching for a job, too!)
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Improve how you manage stress

Make the change

Eating healthier is similar to searching for a job — they’re both much easier said than done. Not to mention, they can be tedious and frustrating.

So why put yourself through the challenge of changing your eating habits? Same reason you’re committed to finding the role that’s right for you — the payoff is well worth it. 

Eating better = feeling better = improving your job search stamina. 

Small steps, big results

Most people know the basics of a balanced diet: Eat lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and lean protein foods. Also, limit salt, added sugars, and saturated and trans fats. 

But knowing the “what” is much different from understanding the “how” of healthy eating. 

Here are 10 starter tips that will help you make real improvements in your everyday eating and drinking habits:

  1. Up your veggie intake by incorporating them into your go-to dishes. For example, spinach can go well with pasta. Or try peppers in tacos.
  2. Ditch sugary drinks and opt for water instead. For more flavor, add a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of 100% juice to your water.
  3. Use fruit as the foundation of your dessert. Apples microwaved with cinnamon, nutmeg, and some nuts or granola sprinkled on top are especially delicious!
  4. Make it easier for the future you to grab a healthy snack by cutting up fruits and veggies (carrots, sweet peppers, oranges, etc.) and putting them in to-go baggies.
  5. Add healthy fats to your diet by swapping canola oil for extra-virgin olive oil.
  6. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods — they’re typically chock-full of sodium.
  7. When shopping for pasta, crackers, cereals, and bread at the grocery store, look for whole-grain as the first word in the ingredients list.
  8. Get creative with protein and feature black beans, chickpeas, tofu, nuts, or seafood in your main dish.
  9. Choose baked or grilled food (instead of fried) at restaurants and at home.
  10. Last but not least, indulge every once in a while! Healthy eating is all about balance.

Change can be overwhelming, so don’t feel like you need to try all these tips right away. Maybe just pick one to work on every day. And if that still feels like too much, switch to focusing on one per week.

Remember: It’s not a race to see who can eat the healthiest the fastest. What matters most when changing your diet is creating meaningful habits that will last a lifetime.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.