Picture it: You and your perfect someone are sitting down for a romantic dinner date. The lights are dimmed. The harpist plays softly in the background. Slowly, you two lean in for the kiss…and he plops a Tic Tac into your mouth. What. Just. Happened?

Sometimes, the inevitable transpires, spoiling an otherwise great evening. Fortunately for you, inopportune meal choices are completely avoidable. From bad breath to a gloomy next morning, these are the foods that’ll ruin the perfect date and the ones you should opt for instead.

Pining for Pasta?

Eat This: Mac and Cheese


Photo by Parisa Soraya

The perfect, filling cheese-to-pasta combination that everyone loves. Even your date will want a bite! Mac and cheese is much neater than spaghetti and won’t leave you with garlic breath.

Not That: Pasta with Pesto


Photo by Pankaj Kaushal

Pasta with Pesto is one of my personal favorite dishes, it is hard to refuse a heaping bowl this Italian delicacy. Unfortunately, it is a dish best eaten alone. No one looks charming with a green smile.

Bent on Having Bread?

Eat This: Plain Dinner Roll with Butter


Photo by Alina Polishuk

Found on the table at almost every restaurant before dinner, you rarely have to worry about unforeseen consequences from eating one (or five). Just don’t lose your appetite for dinner!

Not that: Garlic Bread


Photo by Luna Zhang

Resist the temptation to shovel this garlic-y goodness down your throat while waiting for your main dish. Garlic scares more than just vampires away.

Hungry for Hen?

Eat This: Half a Roasted Chicken


Photo by Amanda Shulman

Nothing provides variety quite like this meal; you have the breast, the leg, and a wing. This can be eaten in any setting, from a fancy Italian restaurant to the pub down the street.

Not That: Saucy Wild Wings


Photo by Lauren Beane

Even though they are the perfect sports bar appetizer, there is no way to stay clean if utensils can’t be used. Hidden behind a wall of used napkins, you know it’s a bad sign when your date points out the splotch of sauce that mysteriously appeared on your forehead…

Seeking a Side Dish?

Eat This: Peas


Photo by Elizabeth Farrell

This is a vegetable everyone loves. Small and green, peas go well with every type of cuisine, from risotto to fried rice. You know you can always find this to order, no matter where you and your date decide to eat.

Not That: Beans


Photo by Kelly Logan

Beans beans, the Magical Fruit. The more you eat, the more you…Especially if you intend to have some “after dinner” plans with this special someone, you definitely don’t want the chance to finish that statement.

Craving Corn?

Eat This: Corn Bread or Corn Pudding


Photo by Meredith Simmons

There has to be some way to eat corn at your date’s family barbecue. Instead of corn on the cob, stick with the other corn options. You know you will be able to find cornbread AND corn pudding at every outdoors family gathering.

Not That: Corn on the Cob


Photo by Tiare Brown

To put it plain and simple: There is no sexy way to eat this. Your date stares lovingly across the table, only to find you viciously gnawing away like a dog with its favorite bone. There’s plenty of opportunities to unleash your inner beast, just not at the dinner table.

Fancy some Fish?

Eat This: Baked Salmon


Photo by Yonatan Soler

Another versatile dish, you can expect to find this brain food at every type of restaurant. Light and healthy, you won’t feel too full and lump-like to participate in any after dinner activities.

Not That: Sushi


Taken by Nicolle Luftman

While it is hilarious to laugh at each other’s futile attempts to use chopsticks, save it for a different Japanese dish. The majority of sushi is prepared with raw and undercooked fish. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I wouldn’t want to risk salmonella crashing my date.

Dreaming of Dessert?

Eat This: Sorbet


Photo by Katherine Richter

light and refreshing end to dinner is perfect for setting the mood for the rest of the night. With a huge variety of fruity flavors, feel no guilt as you find another excuse to prolong the evening.

Not That: Bowl of Fruit


Photo by Kristine Mahan

bowl of fruit will not cause residue to remain in your teeth. It will not make your breath smell. It will not give you a food baby. However, knowing you just unnecessarily spent $7 on a cup of berries can certainly spoil the mood, especially when the check comes.