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Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. Headshot

Best Foods to Order on a First Date

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Have you ever been on a first date? Chances are high that you have, and reading just the first sentence of this blog may have even caused you to venture back into your mind and reflect upon your most memorable first date. You probably planned your outfit, talked to your friends about strategy and maybe even scoped out the establishment where you were going to eat -- but if there is one thing you probably didn't do, it's most likely devising your food strategy. Yes, the foods that you are eating on your date may be one factor worth evaluating. That's because the culinary creations (and nutrients that they contain) that you and your date consume may influence your mood, sexual desire, alertness and energy levels. So as it turns out, food may be more of a factor than your great outfit in terms of bringing you one step closer to planning a second date. Here are five to consider ordering!

Appetizer: Chicken Satay
If you're heading off to an Asian restaurant, you're in luck! Order some chicken satay and you'll be well on your way towards a better mood (making you less nervous), which may translate to a more attractive personality on date number one. That's because the protein in the chicken and the peanuts in the sauce will help boost your neurotransmitters, making you feel more relaxed. A 2011 study found that nut consumption helped to boost serotonin levels and increased feelings of happiness among individuals with metabolic syndrome. The protein in the chicken may make you more alert due to increases in dopamine and/or norepinephrine, making you ready for any first-date scenario!

Drink: Bloody Mary
If brunch is on the menu for your first big meeting, skip a celebratory glass of champagne and go straight for the Bloody Mary. The tomato juice is loaded with healthy carotenoids which may actually cause you to be more attractive to the guy or gal sitting across from you, as indicated in a recent a recent study in the journal PLos ONE. Researchers ran two experiments and found that ingestion of carotenoids (the components that give fruit and vegetables their vibrant color) over the course of just six weeks was associated with "healthy looking" human skin-color that was found to be "attractive" to the opposite sex.

Main Dish: Scallops With Pepper
These may just be the perfect order for the date at a seafood restaurant. That's because scallops are chock full of the zinc, a mineral that may have an effect on sexual function. Zinc can be found in oysters, shellfish, lean cuts of beef, chicken, beans and almonds. A 2010 study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that oral zinc supplementation helped boost testosterone levels in men with kidney disease. Speaking of testosterone, make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before your first date, guys. A small 2011 study in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that lack of sleep had a significant effect on testosterone levels. According to a new study, sprinkling some pepper on your scallops may help by blocking the formation of new fat cells. Why is that important? Because fat cell growth may lead to obesity, and obesity has been associated with a reduced ability to concieve in women. A 2007 study found that a subfertile, ovulating woman's chances of conceiving decreased as her body mass index (BMI) increased. Just in case the date is going well and you're planning for the future, this may be an important detail to be aware of!

Side Dish: Asparagus Drizzled With Olive Oil and Rosemary
Want to show your date that you'll be around for a lifetime of happiness? You can do it with olive oil! A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been shown in one study to prolong life span (a factor that most would say is an important when choosing a mate). Stay away from the fats that are solid at room temperature, however (like saturated and trans fat). They'll up your risk for heart disease by damaging arteries as well as sexual organs. Asparagus is a fabulous source of folate, a B-vitamin associated with decreased levels of depression (an important component that may affect libido). Finally, why rosemary? A very small 2012 study found that aroma from rosemary essential oils actually helped to improve cognitive performance. So if your modus operandi is to knock the socks off your date via brain power, you'll want to make sure you've got rosemary somewhere on your plate!

Condiment: Red Pepper Flakes
Heading to an Italian restaurant? Think twice about sprinkling salt on your food and instead, reach for the red pepper flakes! These spicy specs contain capsaicin, a compound that dilates vessels and gets the blood flow moving, according to several studies. Plus, high intake of salt is associated with higher risk of high blood pressure, a real libido-crusher.

After Dinner... Ditch the Cigs
It's not a food, but unfortunately for way too many people, smoking can be a habit after a meal. It's a real no-no for first, second or 50th dates; that means, just don't smoke! Off the bat you'll be less desirable to the opposite sex due to breath alone, but from a physiological standpoint, chances are that your needed organs that are critical to a great sex life won't work as well due to the fact that smoking constricts your arteries and blood vessels... everywhere.

There are many factors associated with a great first date. Of all the things that can go right or wrong, it's good to know that at least you can control the food. After all, at the end of the day, choosing these foods certainly can't hurt your chances, so next time you have that big opportunity, choose your menu items wisely!

For more by Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D., click here.

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