Food and Diet. Vocabulary with Revision Audio File.

Diet and types of food

When we talk about diet we mean the kind of food and drink that a person or a group of people eat or drink. In our diet there are many different kinds of food,
for example legumes, such as beans, or vegetables, such as green beans or artichokes. Vegetables are often called veg. Veg, or vegetables, and  fruit should be the most important elements in our diet. But are they?

Another constituent of our diet is dairy. Dairy products, or simply dairy, are all those products which are made from milk, such as yoghurt, butter, or cheese. Some people say that eating a lot of dairy is very unhealthy, and some people say that we shouldn’t eat any diary at all.

Another important part of people’s diet is meat. There are different types of meat, we have red meat, which is not very healthy, and we have white meat, which is usually poultry. Poultry is the meat of birds, such as chickens. White meat is said to be healthier than red meat, because it contains less fat and less calories.

The second biggest source of proteins in our diets is fish and seafood. As you probably know, fish is very popular in the UK, fish and chips, but the way they cook it is not very healthy. Seafood is used to refer to food such as oysters, prawns, clams, etc. Seafood is a good source of proteins, but we must be careful, because seafood can easily go off, that means that it becomes bad and if you eat seafood that has gone off, you can get food poisoning.

Finally we could mention the drinks. Popular drinks in people’s diets are water, wine and beer, juices, or soft drinks. A soft drink is a type of refreshment which is usually sweet, and doesn’t contain alcohol, such as cola. Soft drinks are also called sodas.

When we go to a restaurant, if we take a look at the menu, we have a section for starters, main courses, and deserts. Starters are for example salads, soups or pasta, and main courses are usually meat or fish. And then the favourite among many people, deserts, which are usually fruit or sweet things. People who are on a diet try to avoid deserts. To be on a diet means to eat less food or to eat different kinds of food to become thinner or for medical reasons. We can also use the expression to go on a diet, if you go on a diet that means that you begin a diet.


Unhealthy diets

Unfortunately in the world we live, cooking is perceived more and more as a waste of time. People want to eat fast and without having to spend time cooking. That’s why fast food, also called junk food, and ready meals are more and more popular all around the world.

I suppose you all know what fast food is: hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, crisps, and soft drinks are the most common examples. In the United States people say French fries, or just fries, instead of chips. And it is important that you learn the difference between chips, or French fries, and crisps. Crisps are the sliced potatoes that are sold in bags whereas chips are what you eat for example at McDonalds with your hamburger. People usually buy fast food in restaurants to take away; this means that you take the food to eat it away. If someone says, “Today, I’m going to have a takeaway,” that means that they are going to order food at a restaurant to eat it at home, at work, or in the street.

Ready meals are in many cases frozen meals, food that you only need to remove from the freezer, heat in the microwave and eat. Frozen meals are very popular in the USA. As it is the case of junk food, frozen food is processed food which usually contains a lot of additives, for example the famous E-numbers, such as E110.


Healthy diets

Luckily the number of people who are aware of the relationship between the food we eat and our health problems and actively try to eat healthy is also increasing. The demand for organic food is on the rise, which means that it is increasing. More and more people try to avoid food additives and buy fresh products. Many people are becoming vegetarians or vegans. A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat. Some of them eat eggs and dairy, such as cheese, yoghurt, or milk, and others don’t. Vegans are the most radical vegetarians, and they don’t eat meat, or any product coming from animals, not even honey. Vegans eat al lot of veg, fruit, seeds and seaweed. Seeds are nuts, sesame, corn, sunflower seeds, etc., and the term seaweed refers to the sea vegetables or sea plants.


Ways of cooking

Finally let me mention some words that describe the different cooking methods that we use. We can fry food, which is putting it in a pan with oil. Fried eggs with bacon are a very popular and quite unhealthy breakfast in the USA or the UK. We can boil food, putting it in a pot with water. We always boil rice or pasta. We can bake food, by putting it in the oven. And we can also steam food, using the water steam to cook it. Steamed vegetables are delicious and very healthy. And if we want to preserve food, we can freeze it, by putting it in the freezer, and later on, when we want to eat that food, we just have to defrost it. Ah, and very important in the modern cuisine, we can heat up food, by putting it in the microwave.

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