top of page
French food vocabulary

Learn French food vocabulary: La nourriture

Talking about food (la nourriture) is part of our daily conversations. Whether you are making your favorite recipe, eating at a restaurant, buying groceries, or discussing what you will eat for lunch with your family members, you will need to use your vocabulary of food in French.

In this lesson, you will learn French food vocabulary and you will discover a  list of common terms related to food in French, like types of foods, meals names, a menu composition at the restaurant and useful verbs used with food.

Affiliate disclosure: this site contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on some links and make a purchase, I will earn a little commission at no extra cost for you.

1. What are the different types of foods in French language?

Food in French language can be called la nourriture, les aliments or les produits alimentaires.

There are several categories of aliments in French. You can have the following classification :

  • Les fruits et légumes => fruits and vegetables

  • Les viandes -poissons => Meats – fish

  • Les produits laitiers => Dairy products

  • Les boissons => beverages, drinks

  • Les céréales et dérivés => cereals and derivatives

You already can check the fruits and vegetables lesson and I will dedicate very soon a lesson for the other types of food.

2. Daily Meals in French – les repas de la journée

The French word for meal is le repas. We generally have  3 meals a day. Here is the list of the daily meals in French language with their English translation and a picture that you can easily pin for later.

  • Le petit déjeuner => Breakfast

  • Le déjeuner => lunch

  • Le goûter => after- school snack

  • Le dîner => dinner


Note : You will see later that the names of the meals above can also be used as verbs.

French food vacabulary meals of the day-min.jpg

3. A typical Menu composition at the restaurant

While having lunch or dinner at a French restaurant, you must make sure you know your food vocabulary to be able  to understand the menu or what the server says. He might ask you questions like “Qu’est que vous prenez comme plat principal?” which means "What main course are you taking"? And you don't want to feel disarmed. 

Here are common parts of a typical French meal taken  at home or in a restaurant :

  • une entrée, un hors-d’œuvre => a starter, appetizer

  • un plat principal => a main course

  • un dessert =>a  dessert.

It is common in France to take un apéritif  which is an alcoholic beverage taken before starting to eat.

Menu composition in a French restaurant-min.jpg

4. Verbs and phrasal verbs for food in French

Verbs are essential in sentences and it will be very useful to learn some verbs and phrasal verbs that you can use with French food vocabulary. Here is a list of common French verbs you can use to say I am eating, I am drinking, and more. They come with their English translation and examples of sentences.

  • Avoir faim => To be hungry; le repas n'est pas prêt? J'ai faim ! (Food is not ready? I am hungry)

  • Manger => to eat; je mange du riz. (I am eating rice)

  • Boire => to drink; j'aime boire du café (I like to drink coffee)

  • Petit-déjeuner => to have breakfast; nous petit-déjeunons tous ensemble. (We all have breakfast together)

  • Déjeuner => to have lunch; elle déjeune à la cantine de l'école. (She has lunch at the school canteen)

  • Goûter => to taste; goûte ce gâteau et dis-moi comment c'est. (Taste this cake and tell me how it is)

  • Dîner => to have dinner; je dine demain avec mes amis (I am having dinner tomorrow with my friends)

  • Consommer => to consume; Il ne consomme plus d'alcool depuis son accident (He is no more taking alcohol since his accident)

  • Déguster / savourer => to enjoy, to savor; Son repas était ellement délicieux qu'il l'a savouré sans attendre. (His food was so delicious that he enjoyed it without waiting.)

  • Grignoter => to snack, to nibble; Il faut que tu évites de grignoter si tu veux perdre du poids.( You have to stop snacking if you want to loose weight).

  • Acheter à manger => to buy food; J'achète à  manger quand je n'ai aucune envie de cuisiner. (I buy food when I have no envy to cook)

  • Apporter à manger => to bring food; Quand ma tante était malade, je lui apportais souvent à  manger. (When my aunt was sick, I used to bring her food.)

  • Faire à manger / Préparer à  manger => to cook food; j'adore faire à manger quand je reçois des invités.(I like to cook food when I have guests).

4. Practice your knowledge of food vocabulary with this quiz

Now that you have learned French food vocabulary, here is a little exercise for you to practice. It's more a guessing game, with sentences and you have to find the missing words. 

Happy practicing!

Related lesson

Fruits and vegetables

Our recommendation for more French


bottom of page