Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Idioms, Proverbs & Sayings

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.


Eat to live, not live to eat.

Food contents

Which food is healthy and which is unhealthy, to your mind?

Are there any kinds of food you eat all the time? What are they?

What do you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Any food usually consists of:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fibre
  • fat
  • vitamins and minerals

What are they?

 Task 1. Match the terms with their descriptions. Pay attention to the words in bold.

1 proteinA a substance contained in foods such as meat, cheese and butter which forms an energy store in your body
2 carbohydratesB the indigestible part of a food found mostly in wholemeal bread, vegetables and fruit
3 vitaminsC body building substance found in foods such as eggs and meat
4 fibreD substances such as sugar and starch found in foods
5 fatE natural organic substances found in most foods which are necessary for growth

1 C

2 В

3 E

4 B

5 A

Food types and dishes


Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

1. I have a sweet tooth and can never say ‘no’ to cakes and biscuits.

2. I won’t have dessert, thanks. You’re lucky being so slim; but I’m afraid I have to count the calories. I have to be a bit calorie-conscious these days.

3. I like to eat the meal with something savoury, like cheese.

4. Ben’s a bit of fussy eater.

5. No, thanks, I won’t have wine. I’m teetotal.

6. Before I book the restaurant, do you have any particular dietary requirements?

7. I won’t have any more wine, thanks. I don’t want to overdo it.

Task 2. Rewrite the underlined parts of these sentences using the expressions you have come across above to describe food and drink preferences.

1. I never drink alcohol. (Use an adjective.)

2. I don’t really like sweet things. (Use an idiom.)

3. Are there things you can’t or mustn’t eat? (Use a formal/polite expression.)

4. Just a small portion for me, please. I don’t want to eat too much. (Use an expression that means the same.)

5. She’s become very careful about how many calories she’s eating. (Give two different ways of saying the same thing.)

6. Sasha is such a choosy person when it comes to food. It’s difficult to find things she likes. (Use an expression that means the same.)

1 I’m teetotal.

2 I haven’t got a sweet tooth.

3 Do you have any special/particular dietary requirements?

4 Just a small portion for me, please. I don’t want to overdo it.

5 She’s become very calorie-conscious. / She’s counting the calories.

6 Sasha is such a fussy eater. It’s difficult to find things she likes.

Expressions to describe food and meals

Preparing home-cooked food is a good way to make a balanced meal.

I adore pasta, pizza and Italian cuisine in general.

My grandmother makes mouth-watering apple pies / makes apple pies which make my mouth water every time I think about them.  

A nutritious breakfast is a great way to start the day, as it gives your body the nutrients and you get enough energy.

Try to avoid processed foods like flavored nuts and cereal bars. It is much healthier to eat organic food.

Choose lean meats and poultry and vary your protein choices.

Chances are, you’re looking forward to a hearty, flavorful, savory meal to enjoy in your sweats at the end of a long day. 

This dreamy salad works great as a dip, so feel free to break out a bag of tortilla chips on the side.

What I really need is a hot shower, a square meal, and a full night’s sleep.

I had no desire to cook, so I bought a ready meal in a nearby supermarket.

I feel like making a greasy slap-up meal tonight.

I’m going to call the Japanese restaurant and order a takeaway.

Eating sugary, salty, fatty foods doesn’t make you feel less stressed.

The average American now eats 10 servings of refined grains each day.

Is money tight? Do you need to save on your food budget? Here are more than 20 frugal meal ideas to get you started and help you keep your grocery bill down!

A nice place to have a substantial meal during a day out.

a box lunch – a cold meal, such as sandwiches and fruit, that is given to someone to eat later, especially at a conference or meeting

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Expressions to describe breakfast

a continental breakfast – a breakfast consisting of bread and butter, coffee or tea, and sometimes pastries or croissants

a cooked breakfast – a breakfast of cooked food that is traditional in the UK, usually including eggs, bacon, toast, and tea or coffee

Expressions to describe snacks

cream tea – a small meal eaten in the afternoon consisting of tea with scones, jam, and cream

Eating a quick snack instead of the main meal can be harmful for stomach.

Expressions to describe products

Whole-grain bread is a healthy and delicious alternative to packaged supermarket breads

Plain, unsweetened yogurt can offer many health benefits.

Both regular and low-fat dairy products can be an important part of a healthy diet but portion control is still important.

specific dishes

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

bubble and squeak – a food made from cold cooked potatoes and cabbage mixed together and then cooked in a large pan

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

casserole – food prepared in a casserole dish

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

chilli con carne – chilli made with meat

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

a cottage pie – a meal made from small pieces of cooked meat, especially beef, covered with a layer of cooked potato and baked in an oven

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

fish and chips – a meal consisting of fish and long thin pieces of potato, both cooked in very hot oil

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

a fritter – a food made by covering a piece of food in batter and cooking it in hot fat

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

fry-up – a meal of fried food, especially consisting of eggs, bacon, and sausages

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

haggis – a Scottish food made from the inner organs of a sheep that are cut up, mixed with grain, and pushed into a bag to be cooked. The bag is traditionally made from a sheep’s stomach.

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

hotpot – a meal that consists of meat and vegetables cooked slowly in the same container in the oven

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

jambalaya – a food made from rice, shellfish, and chicken. Jambalaya was originally a Cajun food, from the southern US.

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

kebab – a food consisting of small pieces of meat and vegetables cooked on a stick

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

kedgeree – a meal made from fish, rice, and eggs

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

macaroni cheese / mac’n’cheese – a meal consisting of macaroni in a cheese sauce

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

meat loaf – a type of food made from a mixture of small pieces of meat, bread, and eggs, baked in one piece

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

omelette – a flat round food made by mixing eggs together and cooking them

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

pot roast – a meal consisting of a large piece of meat cooked in a container with a small amount of water, usually served with potatoes and vegetables

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Scotch egg – a boiled egg covered with small pieces of bread and meat and cooked in oil

scrambled eggs noun

eggs that are cooked with their white and yellow parts mixed together

shepherd’s pie noun

a meal made from small pieces of cooked lamb covered with a layer of mashed potato and baked in an oven

shish kebab noun

a meal consisting of small pieces of cooked meat on a stick. It is often simply called a kebab.

shrimp cocktail noun

a prawn cocktail

sinigang noun

philippine english a rich meat or fish soup with a sour flavour

sosatie noun

south african pieces of spiced meat grilled on a skewer

soufflé noun

a food that you make with eggs and bake into a high round shape

spaghetti noun

a meal consisting of spaghetti and a sauce

Spanish omelette noun

a flat round food made of eggs mixed with vegetables, usually cooked potatoes

steak tartare noun

a food made from steak that is minced (=cut very small) and eaten raw, mixed with raw egg and onions

stew noun

a dish made by cooking vegetables, and usually meat or fish, slowly in liquid

tagine noun

a slow-cooked North African stew that normally includes some kind of meat, vegetables and sometimes fruit

terrine noun

a cold food made by cutting cooked meat, fish etc into very small pieces and mixing it with vegetables and herbs

toad-in-the-hole noun

a British food made from sausages cooked in a mixture of eggs, flour, and milk

Welsh rarebit noun

a meal of cheese sauce poured over bread and cooked

Yorkshire pudding noun

a British dish that consists of flour, milk, and eggs mixed together, baked in an oven, and usually served with roast beef

crepe – a light thin pancake

croquette – a food made from a mixture of pieces of fish, meat, or vegetables pressed into a circular or tube shape, covered with breadcrumbs, and cooked in oil

cutlet – a food made from pieces of vegetables or nuts pressed together into a long flat shape and cooked in oil

dumpling – a small solid lump of cooked food made from flour and water, sometimes eaten with meat or added to soup

Expressions to Describe Places to Eat and Actions

I usually dine at a restaurant that’s in a walking distance of my home.


We’re dining in tonight. / We’re dining out tonight.


I first thought those strawberries were too expensive, but when I tasted them I understood that their quality justified the bill.


I went to a diner starving hungry yesterday and ate the whole roast chicken.


– Would you like more chips?
– No, thank you, I’m already full-up!

– Would you like more chips?

– No, thank you, I’m already full-up!


I knew that we were going to go to a restaurant that’s why I didn’t eat much at home so that not to spoil my appetite.


I think street food is a staple around here. You can find bustling food stalls all around our nation, and they are my go-tos for a cheap and cheerful meal. I mean gourmet restaurants are nice and all, but street food is what our country is all about.


Actually, I’d like to think that cooking is my forte. I developed a passion for culinary arts when I first watched the cooking show Masterchef. Since then, I have learnt a lot of recipes and I can easily whip up a good dinner.

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Task 3. Match sentences 1-10 with a second sentence A-J. Use the key words in bold to help you.

1. A lot of people are allergic to nuts.
2. Many people do not trust genetically modified foods.
3. Organic vegetables are more expensive but are better for you.
4. We refuse to eat battery chickens.
5. We prefer to eat free range meats.
6. The harvest has been very bad this year.
7. Following the floods in Mozambique, there was a terrible scarcity of food.
8. There has been an outbreak of salmonella, listeria and other food poisoning in Perth.
9. Too many people don’t eat a balanced diet.
10. Fast food is very popular.

A. This is because they are cultivated naturally, without using any chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
B. There wasn’t enough to feed everyone affected by the disaster.
C. They are not sure that altering the composition of cells to change certain characteristics is safe.
D. It’s good to know that the animals were given enough space to express their natural behaviour.
E. Terrible weather conditions have prevented the crops from ripening and reduced the yield.
F. A lot of people are in hospital as a result.
G. Unfortunately, a diet of burgers, pizzas and fried chicken is not very healthy
H. They physically react very badly.
I. This is because they spend their life confined in a small cage.
J. They don’t consume sufficient quantities of the different food groups.

  1.  H
  2.  C
  3. А
  4.  I
  5.  D
  6.  E
  7.  B
  8. F
  9.  J
  10. G

Words Easily Confused

Food, meal, cuisine


Food is the most general word, referring to anything you can eat. A banana is food. A hamburger is food. A salad is food. 

The word food is usually singular – so you should say “I ate a lot of food last night” not “I ate a lot of foods last night”.

But there are some exceptions – we use foods when talking about several food types, for example, 

At the international festival, I tried foods from around the world.”


The word dish has two meanings:

1) a physical object used to hold, cook, and serve food. When we talk about washing the dishes, we are washing the plates, bowls, pots, pans, spoons, forks, etc.

2) it can also refer to one prepared item of food, like a lasagna or a fruit salad. 


The word meal refers to the customary time/occasion of eating food. Most people eat 3 meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meal also refers to all the food eaten during one of these occasions – so one meal can include multiple dishes. Dinner is one meal, but you might have chicken, rice, salad, and ice cream. Each of those is one dish, and when eaten all together on one occasion, they are a meal.

A meal may include many dishes.


The word cuisine describes a typical manner/style of preparing food. We usually use this word with with country adjectives (Italian cuisine, Brazilian cuisine, Moroccan cuisine) or ethnic or regional adjectives (Cajun cuisine, Jewish cuisine, South Indian cuisine). In everyday English, however, many people simply say “food” when talking about getting something to eat:

I love Chinese food.

Do you want to try some Ethiopian food?


Read this short text. Answer these questions.
a What is it not acceptable to do at mealtimes in China?
b How is eating similar or different in your country?

In China, the sorts of plates / dishes served at the three main meals are pretty much the same – soup, rice or noodles, and meat and vegetables. Each person has their own bowl of rice and a couple / pair of chopsticks, but helps themselves to the soup, meat and vegetables directly from the communal plates in the centre of the table. It is perfectly acceptable to reach across the table to take food. 

To eat the rice, the diner raises / rises the bowl to their lips and pushes the grains into their mouth with the chopsticks. The diner must finish all the rice. To leave even a tiny amount is considered bad manners.

Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary

Here are some more words which are often confused. Choose the correct word in each pair.

a That pudding was nice. Can I have the receipt / recipe?
b In some religions, people fast / diet for periods of time.
c Crisps and hamburgers are sometimes referred to as junk / rubbish food.
d Most people prefer bottled water to tap / running water. Some people prefer sparkling water to flat / still water.
 Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary
g Waiter! Could we have another look at the menu / list, please? And could you bring us the wine menu / list, too?
e There are two main tastes: ‘sweet’, like cakes and biscuits, and ‘savoury / salty‘ , like crisps and cheese.
f Don’t you think James is an excellent cooker / cook?
  Food, Cuisine and Nutrition Vocabulary