The Bachelor may show all of the drama during dates, but we've always wondered what happens when cameras aren't rolling—and, more importantly, what the food situation is like when you can't do your own grocery shopping (or make a Taco Bell run). Three former bachelorettes—Lauren Bushnell and Olivia Caridi, from season 20, and Ashley Iaconetti, from season 19—gave us the scoop on exactly what life in the mansion is like. And why you never see anyone eating during dates with the Bach.
The fridge was the stuff of dreams.
According to all three women, one huge perk of living in the Bachelor mansion (besides the possibility of finding true love, of course) was the insane amount of food available to them. The fridge was stocked with all of the staples—meats, dairy, eggs, juice, fruits, and veggies. In fact, 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," Bushnell said. The pantry also had every ingredient you could ever want, including plenty of candy and snacks.
Healthy options ran out fastest—at first.
With the knowledge that you'll be on national TV fresh in your mind, it's easy to practice some disciplined eating early on. Producers kept the kitchen stocked to meet the demand, though it was hard to keep up. "There [were] like 60 fresh avocados in the kitchen at all times," Iaconetti said, and "there was spinach everywhere," according to Caridi.
That craving for all things green didn't last long, though—especially as tensions rose and the contestants got closer to the grand finale.
"At the beginning, ... everyone would eat the lettuce and the vegetables and stuff like that 'cause everyone's trying to look good and healthy, then as the week progressed, I noticed the cereal started running out, and then it was the Oreos," Bushnell explained. "All of the unhealthy junk food started progressively running out too."
Oreos were the real knight in shining armor.
It seems that the Bachelorettes, like us mere mortals, just couldn't stay away from the Oreos. According to Caridi, it was a critical part of the girls' go-to late night snack. "We went through a lot of Oreos and peanut butter," she said. Given the stressful circumstances the girls were under, it's no surprise that, according to Caridi, they were "emotional eating all the time." Can we even blame them?
The producers were sort of food fairy godmothers.
Though the ladies generally had to fend for themselves food-wise, the producers sometimes showed off their own cooking skills and whipped up dishes for everyone. According to Iaconetti, "there were a couple days where the producers would cook a huge meal, like you'd come down to the kitchen, and there'd be a gazillion eggs Benedict."
There was also a wish list.
While at the mansion, there was a grocery list where contestants could write down things they were craving, or that they needed to meet their dietary needs. They could even request certain items like makeup, 'cause mascara was definitely in short supply with all those teary moments. "The producers were very accommodating to us as far as getting us what we needed," said Caridi.
The mansion didn't come with a live-in chef.
Unfortunately,the gorgeous LA mansion that's home to the Bachelorettes during the first week and a half of filming doesn't include a chef, so the ladies are on their own when it comes to feeding themselves. Luckily, this wasn't too much of an issue for anyone at the house. Most of the ladies kept it simple: omelets for Caridi, avocado toast for Iaconetti, and, according to Bushnell, cereal for the twins (Haley and Emily Ferguson). However, those who knew how to cook often took advantage of the tricked-out kitchen to off their skills. During Caridi and Bushnell's season, for example, Shushanna Mkrtychyan made some incredible Russian dishes.
Family dinners weren't really a thing
Unlike other reality shows where family dinners are a staple (Jersey Shore, anyone?), family dinners are not common on The Bachelor. As Caridi points out, it's hard to have a family dinner with the busy shooting schedule and the one-on-one dates with the Bachelor that constantly take the girls out of the house. There's also the issue of not being able to fit 20-plus women at one dinner table.
According to Iaconetti, however, the boys on The Bachelorette have it a little different. "I hear that the guys in The Bachelorette are a little more family-ish about cooking," she said. "They make these huge Thanksgiving meals every day."
Saying yes to the show means saying no to In-N-Out (and Starbucks, and Chipotle, and everything good in this world).
"You had to give up those cravings ... I know there were a couple times when I was craving an In-N-Out burger ," Bushnell said. "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]."
Though Bushnell did say that once the whole house got pizza and Caridi recalled an occasion in Vegas when the producers delivered some much-needed In-N-Out, given the inability of the girls to leave the house, outside food is hard to come by. "There are no Postmates at The Bachelor mansion," joked Iaconetti.
But at least the rose ceremonies are catered
The rose ceremonies can often take hours to film (when you take in the actual ceremony, the cocktail party, and all the one-on-one moments with the Bachelor), so there's always catered food to provide sustenance throughout the ordeal, several sources said. The food is nothing fancy—it generally includes things such as pigs-in-a-blanket and mini sandwiches—but it is definitely welcome by all of the contestants.
"After the rose ceremony, we basically shove food in our faces because it's like, 'ok, you made it through another week, celebratory meal,'" Iaconetti said.
No, they don't usually eat the food when they go on dates
If you follow The Bachelor closely, you've probably noticed that the incredibly delicious looking food in front of the incredibly good looking people often goes untouched during dates, and well, it often just goes untouched altogether.
But the ladies want to make it clear: There's no rule that says they can't dig in, but the stars are advised not to eat on camera because it's not the most flattering thing, and the mic will likely pick up the chewing sounds, which doesn't exactly scream romance. According to Bushnell, there's also a more emotional/realistic/relatable reason why no one eats on the dates: "You're nervous, you're talking — it's like a first date, and you have all these cameras around you, so the last thing you want to do is be stuffing your face with food."
Iaconetti, on the other hand, had no reservations about eating the food in front of her during filming. Citing a date on Bachelor In Paradise where she wasn't about to pass on some tacos, she pointed out that it's totally possible to eat on camera.
"I think I may be the only girl in Bachelor history to eat on a date, but it's proof that you can if you want," she said.
For those who opt out of shoveling food in their mouth on TV, however, there's lots of room service involved. Before heading off to the evening portion of their dates, the stars are taken to hotels to get dolled up. While there, they have unlimited access to whatever's on the hotel menu.
They were never short on booze.
"I'd say over food, the alcohol was the priority, as far as making sure it was always available to anyone who needed it," said Caridi. All three ladies attested that they were never required or forced to drink, but that the booze was always there in case someone wanted it (which makes it all the more fitting the show released its own line of vino). Additionally, considering the stars are sequestered in the house with no access to TV, phones, or the Internet, sometimes the only thing to do was make mimosas and hang out at the pool, or see what cocktails they could craft with their endless supply of ingredients.
Traveling didn't mean they got to hit up the hottest local restaurants.
Given the extreme secrecy during filming, the Bachelorettes only leave the hotel for dates, so they're often chowing down on the inn's food, served buffet-style. "the food in the Bahamas was just cold french fries and chicken nuggets," Caridi explained. Womp womp.
Iaconetti insisted it wasn't all that bad, since buffet time generally translated into social hour. "We have no TV, we have no internet, we have no phones—all we have is talking to each other, and food to distract us and to entertain us, so we very much look forward to those hours."
They had to get creative to burn off those Oreos.
Everyone on The Bachelor looks HOT, right? Well, you'd be shocked to learn that the contestants have no gym equipment to battle the "Bachelor 4 or 10" (as Iaconetti referred to the weight gain). In fact, according to Caridi, the only way to stay in shape while on the show involves running (or lunging) up and down a hill on the mansion property. Yeah, we'll pass on that.
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