From a French Perspective: Different ways of eating

When should we eat? Which way is better to eat?

Eating is essential for the body, but the rhythm of the meal can change according to people, metabolism, age, sex and even varies by the country or the region. Each country in the world has unique eating habits: 3 times per day, with people, a sandwich in the street… What are the differences between France and the USA?

 France is a country where food is really important. Many people think French people are cooking all the time, with big dinners and a lot of cheese, wine, bread and cream. Sometimes, this kind of meal can be found in France, but that’s usually for big occasions, like a wedding, Christmas, or a birthday.

French people are like those in any other country: between work, school and other activities, finding the time to cook is hard and people eat quickly, but not always healthy.

Even if France evolves, French will keep some habits like eating 3 times per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). They eat most of the time together at a table. There is also a kind of meal at 4pm called “le goûter”. It’s mostly sugary and kids love it. It seems to be common for people in America to eat lunch while working or on the go. In France, you have to take a break and eat with colleagues, friends, or family.


Many nutritionists say that eating together is good for your health. By eating together, it’s possible to take time to eat, enjoy the food, have a conversation with someone, and even try new foods. Eating together has a lot of advantages, especially for children. They take time to enjoy the food, prepare the dinner with members of the family, and discover new foods and ways to cook. Eating is an essential activity, but it’s also a social experience and it’s good for the family to cook and eat together!

Some social rules at the table are different between France and the USA. For example, in France you have to use a fork and a knife and you aren’t allowed to put your elbow on the table. It’s also very rude if you don’t place both of your hands on the table. This is not necessarily the case in the USA.

If you go to France, be careful if you have to cut cheese: each cheese has its unique way to  be cut!


Sometimes trying to find ideas to cook with few ingredients, new foods, with a special diet or without time is really complicated.  If you need advice, you can go to a website like:

If you are feeling adventurous and want to test your French, you can find some French recipes on this website:

Bon appétit!

Written by Clara Lerond


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