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The Meals of the Day in Spanish

Generally speaking, there are three main meals that many people eat each day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do you know how to say the names of those three meals in Spanish? Let's see how the answer to that question depends upon where you happen to be in the Spanish-speaking world.


The Meals of the Day in Spain and Mexico

If you are in Spain or Mexico, the following are the names of the three main daily meals:


el desayuno (breakfast)


es la hora del desayuno

it's breakfast time,

Caption 7, Clase Aula Azul Acciones habituales y en este momento - Part 1

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la comida (lunch)


Todos los días, hago la comida a mediodía

Every day, I make lunch at midday

Caption 24, Ariana Mi Casa

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la cena (dinner)


y normalmente cuando llego a casa, me hago la cena,

and usually when I get home, I make myself dinner,

Caption 30, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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In the following clip, our Mexican friend Karla mentions all three of these daily meals as she tells us how, in her country, tacos can be eaten at any time of the day!


Eh... Puedes encontrar tacos en todas las esquinas, en todas las ciudades de todo México y puedes comerlo, en realidad, de desayuno, de comida o de cena,

Um... You can find tacos on every corner, in every city throughout Mexico, and you can eat it, actually, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner,

Captions 37-39, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Karla y los tacos - Part 2

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The Meals of the Day in Other Latin American Countries

In contrast, in most Latin American countries, the names of the three main meals are as follows:


el desayuno (breakfast)


Hoy es domingo y vamos a hacer el desayuno.

Today is Sunday, and we're going to make breakfast.

Captions 6-7, Quito Desayuno con Julia

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el almuerzo (lunch)


Al mediodía, preparo el almuerzo.

At noon, I make lunch.

Caption 14, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Maru

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la comida or la cena (dinner)

While some places use the word comida (e.g. Colombia), others use the term cena (e.g. Argentina). Let's hear a couple of clips:


¿Qué es la comida?

What's for dinner?

Caption 9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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Bueno, espero que lleguemos justo para la cena porque tengo un hambre que me muero.

Well, I hope that we are arriving just [in time] for dinner because I am dying of hunger.

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6

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The Word Almuerzo in Spain

As we have just seen, the main difference between the meals of the day in Spain and Mexico vs. other Latin American countries is the term people use to talk about lunch. However, if you happen to hear the word almuerzo in Spain, you should be aware that, in that country, almuerzo refers to a mid-morning snack. In addition, it is very common for Spanish people to enjoy an afternoon snack called la merienda. Let's hear Raquel and Marisa explain this in detail:


El almuerzo es lo que tomamos entre el desayuno y la comida. Pero además tenemos la merienda y la cena. La merienda suele ser a las seis de la tarde. Y la cena es la última comida del día.

The mid-morning snack is what we have between breakfast and lunch. But in addition, we have the afternoon snack and dinner. The afternoon snack is usually at six in the afternoon. And dinner is the last meal of the day.

Captions 30-33, Raquel Presentaciones

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That's all for this lesson. We hope you learned some new words today, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.


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