ESL Eating Vocabulary

English Expressions for Eating

To pig out
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To eat a large quantity of food in one sitting.

“We really like to pig out when we go to the barbecue restaurant.”

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To pick at
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To move your food around with a fork and take just small bites, if any. This is usually done when a person is not really hungry or doesn’t like the food.

“My son just picked at his dinner. He didn’t like what I had prepared.”

To wolf down
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To eat something very quickly.

“I had to be at school by 2:00 PM, so I wolfed down a sandwich right before class.”

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Light meal
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A meal that doesn’t have anything with high calories or a lot of meat. A salad is an example of a light meal.

“I’ll just have a light meal for lunch since we are going to my favorite restaurant this evening.”

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Eat something to hold you over
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To eat something small so you won’t be too hungry before you are able to eat a full meal.

“Have an apple to hold you over until we get to the restaurant.”

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Dine or eat out
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The act of leaving your house to eat at a restaurant.

“We don’t eat out a lot anymore. It is too expensive.”

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Throw together (a meal)
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To quickly prepare a meal with the food items that you can find in your home at the time.

“Nobody wants to go out to eat. Let’s just throw something together here. I think I have some vegetables in the refrigerator.”

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To be stuffed
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To eat so much that your stomach is full.

“We were all stuffed after that great meal my mom prepared.”

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To watch what you eat

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To be aware of what you are eating and limiting the fattening foods.

“Sara needs to watch what she’s eating. She gained 20 pounds last year.”

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Home cooked meal
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A meal prepared at home with fresh ingredients.

“There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal after being on the road for months.”

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Eat like a bird
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To eat very small amounts of food.

“My wife eats like a bird. She can barely finish even the smallest servings.”

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Eat up
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To finish eating the food that is in front of you.

“Eat up kids. It is almost time to leave.”

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Well balanced meal
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A healthy meal that has all of the major food groups represented.

“If you want to get stronger you have to consistently eat a well balanced meal.”

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Picky eater
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A person who dislikes most food.

“My daughter is a picky eater. It is rare that she will like what I prepare for dinner.”

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Eat on the fly
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To eat a meal while you are heading to a destination. This can be while walking or driving somewhere.

“I don’t have time to sit and eat with you. I’ll have to eat on the fly.”

  • Conversation Activity for Eating Expressions
  • Script for the Conversation Activity on Eating Vocabulary
  • Listening Activity for Eating Vocabulary
  • Eating Expresions Reading Worksheet
  • Eating Vocabulary Worksheet II
  • Eating Vocabulary Matching Worksheet