10 best pre-date foods for guys

The right foods can help you make a good first impression.
© MSN Healthy Living // © MSN Health

From trying to say all the right things to worrying if you’ve got all the right moves, a first date can feel like a stroll through a social minefield. The potential for awkwardness can turn the most charming Casanova into a jittery Jerry.

Sure, where you eat – if food is part of the plan – is important. But what you eat in the hours before, and during, a first date can be all it takes to make sure you’re at your best mentally, physically and in the bedroom, too, should the date go really well.  

Here’s some food for thought on 10 of the best foods for a guy to rely on to calm pre-date jitters, rev up libido and make sure you don’t torpedo the date with a brutal case of bad breath.

-- By Gina Roberts-Grey for MSN Healthy Living

1 of 12 Man spraying cologne (Tim Kitchen/Getty Images)

Chia seeds

Whether you’re tired after a long day at the office or drained from a tough pre-date workout, look to chia seeds to rev you up and provide the prolonged, sustaining kind of energy a man would look for before a date. This energy comes from the omega-3s and complex carbohydrate found in the ancient seeds, which also improve stamina and endurance, says Jordan Mitchell, a certified dietitian in Old Lyme, Conn.  

Mitchell says men need only about 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to reap their benefits. “Chia seeds can be eaten straight, blended into a smoothie, or sprinkled over oatmeal, salad, pasta, and just about anything.”

2 of 12 A bowl of chia seeds (FotografiaBasica/Getty Images)

Avocado

The Aztecs referred to avocado trees as “testicle trees,” but perhaps they should have called them pre-date jitter trees instead. Mitchell says their bland texture is soothing to your sensitive stomach membrane and good to calm a case of pre-date jitters. And if the jitters grow into a full-blown case of nausea, the antioxidant glutathione in avocados will help detoxify your body. “It clears out your system and keeps your stomach running smoothly,” says Mitchell.

Eat about one half cup of avocado a few hours before your date. “If the date is in the evening, lunch is a good time to eat avocado,” says Mitchell.

3 of 12 Sliced avocados (Kirk Mastin/Getty Images)

Cherries and apples

David W. Grotto, a registered and licensed dietitian, author and member of the Advisory Board for the Chicago Food and Nutrition Network says you’ll keep pre-date halitosis at bay with a handful of fresh Bing cherries or an apple.

“Apples and cherries contain natural antibacterial properties that fight not only the bacteria that leads to bad breath but also contribute to dental carries and promote gingivitis,” he says.

A study in the Journal of Dental Research found that polyphenols in apples decreased the activity of foul-smelling bacteria that forms in the mouth after eating sugary foods. And cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which put a serious hurt on methyl mercaptan, the stinky gas that is released from decaying food trapped on the tongue and between teeth.

These foods are helpful as part of a battle plan leading up to the big date and beyond but won't do much to mask a smelly meal. So if garlic, onion or limburger cheese is on the menu, look to the old standbys of mints, toothbrush and toothpaste or a portable flask of mouthwash to tackle immediate food odor.

4 of 12 Cherries (MOIRENC Camille/Getty Images)

Vegetable risotto

Worried your overactive armpits will stink out your date before you’re through the first course? If perspiration is a potential problem, layer on plenty of antiperspirant, steer clear of ordering red meat and instead opt for the veggie risotto.

Researchers in Prague found that guys who gobbled red meat had body odor women found offensive. On the flip side, dudes who dined on meat-free foods like vegetable risotto or salads were judged as far more pleasant and attractive to the ladies’ sniffers. The women in the study also found men who avoided meat had body odor that seemed more masculine than their meat-eating counterparts.

5 of 12 Vegetable risotto (Svariophoto/Getty Images)

Ginger

Neka Pasquale, a chef who is also trained in Chinese medicine, suggests incorporating a little fresh ginger into your diet. “Ginger improves circulation throughout the body, including sexual organs,” she says. One of the most commonly prescribed herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, fresh ginger is pungent and warming. “It enters the stomach and lungs and promotes circulation,” Pasquale adds.

You can incorporate ginger into the date meal by grating a 1/4 inch knob into a stir-fry, or blending the fresh root into an Eastern-inspired salad dressing. “And if you need some breath help post-dinner, try a chewy ginger candies  made with real ginger root,” adds Pasquale.

6 of 12 Ginger root (Pbnj productions/Getty Images)

Unsalted nuts

Prevent pigging out on your date (and grossing out a potential Mrs. Right) by downing a handful (six to 12) of unsalted nuts about 30 minutes to an hour before the date starts, says Dr. Rachel Berman, a registered dietitian and author.”  Nuts like almonds, pistachios and pecans are loaded with healthy fats and protein. Berman says that combination will take the edge off a ravenous appetite so you won’t eat everything in sight, but won’t leave you too full for a romantic dinner and dessert. 

7 of 12 Walnuts (Gregor Schuster/Getty Images)

Crab or lobster

Crustaceans are great if you’re lacking confidence or are in a bad mood before your date. Dr. Darya Pino Rose, a neuroscientist and author, says that crab and lobster help boost your mood by revving up your serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that boosts mood.

“The tryptophan, an amino acid in crab and lobster, converts to serotonin,” she says.

One king crab leg or lobster tail provides a significant dose of tryptophan. But pair it with one cup of cooked spinach and your mood is sure to soar. “Spinach is rich in vitamin B6 and the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin occurs more efficiently in the presence of vitamin B6.”

Don’t wait till the date to splurge on seafood. Pino Rose says you should dive into lobster or crab the night before or for lunch the same day for the greatest effect. “The creation of serotonin can take several hours, but the effects seem to linger in the brain.”

8 of 12 Crabs (Gentl and Hyers/Getty Images)

Watermelon

When natural gases build up in your gut, the result is belching, flatulence or both. But if those gases don’t sneak out, they build up in your belly, causing bloating.

Berman says while it may sound counterintuitive to eat foods with high water content to reduce bloating, water is exactly what you need. “Watermelon’s high water content is evident in its name. And foods with high water content are thought to be able to help to reduce bloating by flushing out the toxins that cause it,” she says.

A cup or two of watermelon 10 to 12 hours before your date can help shed some of the excess gas and beat the bloat.

9 of 12 People eating watermelon (Image Source/Getty Images)

Pineapple

To make sure your stomach isn’t churning into the wee hours of the morning (or during dessert), Berman suggests capping off a meal with a few chunks of pineapple. “It contains an enzyme called bromelain which may help improve digestion.”

Bromelain breaks down protein into smaller segments to aid digestion. And a University of Maryland Medical Center study says pineapple has been used for centuries in South America to treat indigestion. So it’s especially helpful if you threw caution to the wind and, instead of worrying about how you might smell afterward, sank your chops into a filet, burger or other protein.

10 of 12 Sliced pineapple (Stockbyte/Getty Images)