What the women on The Bachelor typically eat

Since The Bachelor's inception to network television in 2002, we've learned quite a few secrets about the series. From what's required to get on the show — a psychological evaluation and an STD test — to just how long the Bachelor gets to spend with finalists — "a total of less than 48 hours," according to season 13's Jason Mesnick — fans now know a lot of what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite reality show. But, there is one secret that has always perplexed fans. With the cameras nearly always rolling, why do we never see anyone eating? Even on dinner dates, you'd be lucky to catch a contestant chewing. So, what's the deal? 

Contrary to what the series shows and what you may assume, the women do, in fact, eat. And you might be surprised to learn just what it is they consume during their time on the show. Here's everything you need to know about the best kept secret in The Bachelor history.

All the avocados you can imagine

Three former contestants on The Bachelor, season 19's Ashley Iaconetti and season 20's Lauren Bushnell and Olivia Caridi, revealed to Delish some details about the food situation during their respective seasons. For one, being on the show meant sharing a communal refrigerator. Yikes. Nevertheless, Busnell said it was "so stocked full that sometimes it's even hard to see what's in the fridge, so you really have to do some digging." Although the bachelorettes had plenty of staples to choose from, including meat, dairy, and eggs, it was the fresh produce that was the most popular and often in high demand. "There was spinach everywhere," Caridi recalled. "There [were] like 60 fresh avocados in the kitchen at all times," Iaconetti told the publication.

Bushnell revealed that the contestants from season 20 especially gravitated toward "the lettuce and the vegetables and stuff like that" during the beginning of the show because "everyone's trying to look good and healthy." 

Whatever they want

While The Bachelor house is far from being a prison, it is true that the contestants aren't actually allowed to leave the fortress mansion to pick up some groceries or even head out for a quick dinner. Instead, the bachelorettes make a grocery list and a show handler does the shopping. If we're being honest, that doesn't sound all that terrible — especially considering no food is off limits.

"We were allowed to write whatever we wanted on the grocery lists," former contestant Jaclyn Swartz told Refinery29Of course, that's not to say the women went wild with their food choices. Swartz explained that many women were vegan and gluten-free at the time, so that automatically meant there were some food groups they just weren't going to eat. As many of her housemates were sticking to a gluten-free diet, Swartz said she often put "gluten products" on her portion of the list. And Nutella — because how could you not?

Oreos and peanut butter

Not being able to leave the mansion also means not being able to go for any snack runs. "It was so tempting cause we're in California, so In-N-Out's maybe like 10 minutes away, and you just kind of had to bite the bullet and go raid the snack pantry [instead]," Lauren Bushnell told Delish.

Luckily for the bachelorettes, though, junk food is abundant. Although greens were a big hit during season 20, snacks still had a place in the contestants' diets. Olivia Caridi told the publication that she "went through a lot of Oreos" — as did Lauren Bushnell. But it wasn't just these two contestants who favored the chocolate sandwich cookies, it became a lot of the women's preferred midnight snack — and some of that was because they were, according to Caridi, "emotional eating all the time." In addition to eating their weight in Oreos, Caridi said peanut butter became popular food to snack on.

Cheese balls, pretzels, and more

Although Jaclyn Swartz was in an earlier season of The Bachelor, she had a similar experience to that of Lauren Bushnell and Olivia Caridi — at least when it came to food. "There is always stuff to snack on in the house," she confirmed to Refinery29. Although women in Bushnell and Caridi's season may have stuck with sweet snacks like Oreos and peanut butter, Swartz revealed that salty snacks were not overlooked. "They had huge glass jars filled with cheese balls, pretzels, and things along those lines," she explained.

While the women had an array of goodies to choose from, not every contestant partook in raiding the snack pantry. In fact, some even chose not to request snack foods from the producers during their time on the show. Season 14's Tenley Molzahn, a holistic nutritionist, for example, told Refinery29: "Because I'm gluten-free, I always packed a few of my own snacks."

"A gazillion eggs Benedict"

What exactly happens after the women on The Bachelor add their desired ingredients to the grocery list? While a handler is responsible for delivering the groceries, there's no chef on premises to do the cooking. That's right, the bachelorettes have to whip up whatever it is they want to eat. 

For most women, that means sticking to a fairly simple diet. Ashley Iaconetti told Delish that she often made avocado toast while Olivia Caridi said she made and ate omelets. Other women preferred not to cook at all, like twin sisters Haley and Emily Ferguson who, according to Bushnell, opted for cereal. 

Iaconetti further revealed when speaking to Delish that sometimes the ladies would be treated to a meal they didn't have to make themselves. "There were a couple days where the producers would cook a huge meal," she explained, "like you'd come down to the kitchen, and there'd be a gazillion eggs Benedict."

Doritos galore

Courtney Robertson, season 16 winner and author of I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain spilled some tea about her time on the show in an interview with Allure. While she said that many of the women would slim down prior to being on the show, being in the mansion was a much different story. "I gained weight through the process," she revealed. "There's a lot of food and alcohol at your disposal, which is hard." Although she said she would try to "start drinking later in the night," sometimes the stress of it all got to her. "I remember overdoing it one night and waking up with an empty bag of Doritos in my bed," she said.

In addition to having round-the-clock access to unhealthy foods, Robertson said the women only had a finite amount of time to work out in the gym. "You get 30 minutes, which is pretty short," she explained.

Everything for every diet

In an interview with College Candy, Season 17 contestant Katie Levans remarked on just how much there is to eat when shooting The Bachelor. "Oh my god, there's so much food," she revealed to the site. "It's weird, but the mansion becomes your home so it's kind of like a really jacked up, well-stocked sorority house."

Since many of the bachelorettes have their own dietary needs, Levans explained that the producers basically provide a ton of different things for the women to eat. "The pantry, fridge, freezer, etc. were all overflowing with food to accommodate everyone's dietary restrictions — I'm vegetarian, Catherine [Ligaya]'s vegan, Kacie [Boguskie]'s gluten-free," the former contestant revealed. No diet was excluded. Like many of the women from later seasons, Levans said season 17 also included a whole lot of snacks and candy. "I recall eating so so so many M&Ms," she told the site. 

"Hotel food all day and night"

Although contestants on The Bachelor are holed up at the mansion for some of the time, some lucky ladies will eventually get to travel. If they don't get eliminated first, that is. Jaclyn Swartz told Refinery29 that traveling doesn't mean getting being able to taste the local cuisine. "When you're at hotels, it's hotel food all day, all night. I literally memorized every hotel's menu — front to back — when I stayed there," said the former contestant.

Even for those who don't have the pleasure of traveling, every woman who is invited to be on the show stays at a hotel just before filming begins. That doesn't mean it's all that glamorous though. "You are pretty much locked in and can only order room service for every meal," Ashley Spivey from season 15 revealed. "The hotel we were at didn't have the healthiest options and I literally ate a burger and fries for days."

Catered food is occasionally provided

When watching the rose ceremonies from the comfort of your own home, everything seems to happen so quick and seamlessly. However, former contestants told Delish that the ceremonies can actually take hours to film. And, because of that, its one of the only times meals are provided. The meal is catered and although it's mostly simple finger foods (like small sandwiches and pigs-in-a-blanket), the women are excited to celebrate with some eats. Plus, they must be thankful it's a meal they don't have to prepare for themselves. Because, really, who wants to cook after the stress of making it through a rose ceremony? No one, that's who.

Ashley Iaconetti told Delish what the scene is like as soon as the Bachelor finishes handing out roses. "After the rose ceremony, we basically shove food in our faces because it's like, 'ok, you made it through another week, celebratory meal.'" That sounds about right. 

Not much dinner on dinner dates

If your biggest pet peeve is watching the Bachelor take a bachelorette on a dinner date and never actually eating dinner, we hear you. However, former bachelorette Jaclyn Swartz explained why this happens when speaking to Refinery29. "The food on dates is usually good," she revealed, "but the catch is that you aren't supposed to eat it!" She continued, saying, "No one wants to watch people stuffing their face on a date. If you're eating, you aren't talking."

If you're thinking it's totally cruel to put two starving people in front of a plate of delicious-looking food, you should know they're not actually hungry. Swartz said the women actually eat before their date, usually while they're getting ready. This is another time when the ladies don't have to do their own cooking. "The producers will bring room service to your room, or a plate of food to where you're getting ready in the house," Swartz revealed.

"Every single kind of alcohol"

Although you may not see much eating taking place on The Bachelor, producers don't make much of an effort to hide the booze. Nevertheless, there seems to be even more alcohol off-screen. Katie Levans confirmed to College Candy that there's "so much" alcohol available. In fact, she added that there is "no shortage of every single kind of alcohol you could imagine (in the house and in the limos)…" That's right, even the limousines are fully stocked with liquor.

Despite there being all the alcohol one could ever want, Levans told the site that it's "a self-serve situation and you choose whether or not to partake." Those who don't want to, don't and those who do, well, obviously do. Former season 17 contestant Leslie Hughes told The Daily Beast that the alcohol is constantly flowing because "it's how they get you to be more talkative, more sensitive." Food, it seems, does not have the same effect.