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Dating: First Date Foods to Avoid For a Good First Impression

By Edited Aug 11, 2016 4 11

Want to Make a Good Impression?

It’s your first date and you are trying to make a good impression. A nice first date with dinner at a trendy restaurant is certainly in order, but if you want to make a good first impression you had better be careful what you eat. You see, there are some meals that are just better left for a meal down the road once the courting period is over.

If you want to avoid the distraction of looking like a mess and having food in your teeth, you will want to avoid these foods on your first date. After all, you don't want to end your date in a hurry. You want to finish your meal.

Leafy Greens

I know, a salad is a typical starter at any restaurant. Well, go ahead, but you need to know that those little pieces of lettuce can stick in between your teeth and give your date something rather unpleasant to look at all night long.

If you are going for the salad, at least make a point to check out your smile soon afterwards either in the bathroom or, if you can get away with it, on a shiny object. The peace of mind that comes with knowing there is not a green speck in your teeth will be worth it.

Too Much Alcohol

Don't Drink Too Much on Your First Date
This isn’t really eating but it is worth mentioning. A drink is a great way to enjoy the night and the company. Keep it simple though. A beer, a glass of wine, or a mixed drink will all be fine for the first date. A shot of tequila is best left for another time. It's not what to do for a date.

While we are on the topic, a big obnoxious tropical drink with straws, umbrellas, or huge chunks of fruit is also on the avoid list. That is, unless you are on a tropical island. Keep it simple and classy.


Spices make most meals better, but a lot of pepper is going to get you into trouble. First of all it’s not really that classy to douse everything in pepper. But the main reason to watch out for this spice is that it will stick with you.

Like leafy greens, pepper is one of those things that just seems to cling to teeth, and it doesn’t help that it’s black. Sometimes it seems like there is no removing it without a toothpick. If you can handle it, just avoid it.


If you are going specifically to a burger joint, then go for it. Otherwise, leave the burger in the kitchen. The problem with restaurant burgers (which also makes them really great) is that they are big, juicy, and messy, and you have to eat them with your hands.

You really don’t need your date to see grease dripping from your burger onto your plate or, worse, your shirt. Ketchup won’t win you any points either. Plus, it’s hard to put a burger down and take small bites. It’s not the greatest choice if you want to have a conversation.


Pasta is a Food to Avoid on a First Date
Many of us are pasta lovers, but ordering this delicious dish on a first date is a recipe for disaster. There are two problems with pasta. The first is that it is hard to eat it elegantly. Inevitably some will fall from your fork or hit you in the chin.

The second reason is that pasta is almost always accompanied by sauce or cheese. These are two more culprits in the dripping category and the sauce will stain as well, so your shirt will be a constant reminder to your date that you are a sloppy eater. Save the pasta until you are a few dates down the road.


I really don’t think we need to elaborate on this, do we? Not only do you look like a pig eating wings, your hands and face are covered in sauce. If you need a towel to clean up, you picked the wrong meal.

Wings are for watching football with the guys, not your first date. Enough said.

Chicken Fingers

Avoid not only chicken fingers, but anything else that could be construed as children’s food. Here is a good rule of thumb. If something also comes on the kids menu, stay away from it on your first date. That would include things like macaroni and cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich, or anything shaped like an animal.

Your date is probably looking for a certain amount of maturity. Of course almost everyone likes chicken fingers, but this is a first date, so ramp up your order a notch. Here's some relationship advice. Stay away from finger foods.

So What Can I Eat?

Use Silverware on a First Date
Here are some ideas for a first date. The perfect first date meal would be something along these lines. If you have an appetizer, start with the soup. You can take small spoonfuls while enjoying your conversation and you won’t get dressing all over your face. Just take it slow and you won’t spill. Soup is a classy way to start.

For your main course use your silverware. Anything that is normally eaten with your hands is a bad idea. Try to stay away from grease and hot runny sauces. A grilled chicken breast with broccoli would be grand. A salmon filet with rice and steamed vegetables would be great. Get the idea?

For desert, go for it. If you are still doing well it won’t matter. It would be wise to avoid anything covered in chocolate sauce, but you can take small bites and be careful. And another thing, share with your date. The desert can bring you together.

A Word About Where

Now that you know what to do on a first date, here is a word about good first date places to eat. Start with the atmosphere. Not too quiet and not too loud. You want to talk without feeling like you have to talk the entire time. A nice restaurant with background music is a good choice for a date. Avoid televisions. If a touchdown or reality show catches your eye your date may notice.

A restaurant with good food is a good idea. Skip places with lots of kids and go for a place with a more mature crowd. Nothing will overtake a date more than a few active kids at the next table.

A tablecloth is a great idea. Wood is not bad, but if the tables are made of any other material you might be shooting a little low.

Choose wisely and you will enjoy the company of your date instead of wishing you had picked another spot for dinner on your first date. Stick to this simple guidance and you will be fine.



Oct 18, 2011 5:12am
Hmm.. I think you just need to learn how to proper eat pasta! Love Pasta for a date :)
Oct 18, 2011 11:53am
I love it too, but the splatter potential is high. It does remind me of Lady and the Tramp though - a good date moment.
Oct 18, 2011 11:31am
Very good tips on what kinds of food to avoid on a first date. Lobster and crab legs are others. Congratulations on a great feature.
Oct 18, 2011 11:54am
Mmmm, crab legs. Crab legs are great if they are cooked properly, but if they don't crack well you end up wrestling with them a bit.
Oct 19, 2011 12:22pm
Great tips on first date foods to avoid. And, congratulations on it being a Featured Article.
Oct 19, 2011 1:00pm
Congratulations on having your article featured. I haven't been on a first date in some years, but I can appreciate the value of your tips.
Oct 20, 2011 4:15am
Congratulations on being a featured article. Very good and sensible advice for a first date. I for one can't imagine why a person would order a burger when dining in a restaurant, especially when on a date.
Oct 20, 2011 11:11pm
Sometimes a person just needs a burger, but I'm with you. It's just too messy for me most of the time. Now if I'm in the backyard with a grill, that's another story.
Oct 21, 2011 3:46pm
Nothing quite like getting all dressed up, and especially if she is in a white dress, for BBQ Ribs. :)
Oct 25, 2011 2:52am
I can't believe even food can leave a big impact on your first impression. Nice.
Jun 16, 2013 9:07am
Good article. I agree with aguy- a rack of Memphis ribs would be the ultimate!
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