What is food?

Food is a substances consumed by a living organism by way of eating or drinking in order to maintain life and growth. Animals gain energy and nutrition from food. Any product intended to be eaten or drunk or used as an ingredient in the process of producing such products is typically considered to be a type of food.

Most food originates from plants and animals. Vegetables, fruit, grasses, legumes and nuts are examples of vegetation-based products, while dairy products, meat, poultry, eggs and seafood are examples of animal-based products. Mushrooms, water and salt are examples of foods that come from neither plants or animals.

What are meals and snacks?

Food production processes, such as agriculture, have allowed most people in developed countries to have immediate access to food when they wish to eat it.

Snack foods, which are small quantities of food eaten periodically between meals, are becoming increasingly popular. Snacks offer an energy boost and quench hunger, but often contain preservatives, sweeteners and flavoring that can be unhealthy. Serious concerns have been raised about snack foods and their contribution to obesity, especially in the United States.

However, people continue to eat most of their food in a small series of one or more meals during the day, often eaten together socially with family and friends. The number, size and time of meals during the day are often influenced by one's social beliefs and environment. One's climate, culture, occupation working hours may be contributing factors. Cultural and religious beliefs may lead people to partake in feasting or fasting, such as the Muslim Ramadan festival.