Food lies at the heart of any Spanish-speaking society. Weddings, birthday parties, and everyday rituals are all centered around food, making it a social and fun way to not only learn about a new place but boost your language skills too! To help your child feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen and beyond, we’ve compiled a list of essential Spanish food vocabulary words that will work up an appetite and get your child ordering like a champ.
Learning Spanish Starts in the Kitchen!
Why should my child learn food vocabulary? At TruFluency Kids, we believe in teaching things that will actively help young learners communicate confidently and effectively in a Spanish-speaking country, at a future bilingual job with coworkers, with future friends, and more. While learning food-related vocab might not seem as important as learning greetings, numbers, or other basics, it can actually be more useful than one, two and three. Here are some reasons food vocabulary is so important for young learners:
IT GIVES THEM CONFIDENCE
Chances are your child, like any kid, loves snacking! But what happens when they are in a new country and don’t know how to ask for meals or know what’s on the new menu? Learning the basics (and being familiar with some of the food items) will help your child feel comfortable and secure when visiting somewhere new.
IT MAKES TRAVEL EASIER
Food is a great conversation starter! When traveling to a Spanish-speaking country or connecting with locals, your child will want to sit down for meals, connect with others, and get a sense of how people eat. Food vocab will give your child the tools they need to start a conversation and immerse themselves in a new culture. And what’s more useful than asking for what you need: food!
IT’S EASY TO INCORPORATE INTO EVERYDAY LIFE
Think about how important food is to you and your child’s daily routine. Next time your child grabs an apple or asks for a glass of milk, they’ll immediately think back to the Spanish vocab they learned!
Getting The Kitchen Learning Ready
You’re probably wondering how to enforce Spanish food vocabulary without a textbook. If you want to help your child remember what they learn and stimulate them on a visual level, consider putting labeled post-it notes on all of the products in your kitchen. It’s cheap, easy, and a great way to naturally promote learning. To check your child’s progress, ask them to repeat what’s on the post-it note each time they use a food product. If your child doesn’t read yet, make sure you use this new word every morning as you eat the food. Keep the notes on for as long as you can! You’ll barely even notice them after a few days.<
Spanish Words for Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit – Fruta (froo-tah)
What’s better than fresh fruit? You can put it in a pie, sprinkle it over yogurt, or just eat it fresh out of the box! Fruit-related terms will come up everywhere, from the kitchen to the local marketplace. Here are some essential fruits to label in your kitchen. Once your child has mastered these Spanish terms at home, encourage them to repeat them back to you at the supermarket.
Apple – Manzana (mahn-sah-nah)
Orange – Naranja (nah-rahn-hah)
Lemon – Limón (lee-mohn)
Strawberry – Fresa (freh-sah)
Grape – Uva (oo-bah)
LANGUAGE LEARNING TIP
If your child is a visual learner, try writing the name of the fruit in the related color. For example, when you label a grape, write down the Spanish term in purple. This will help your child remember what they have learned and visualize the word next time they speak.
Vegetables – Vegetales (veh-heh-tah-lehs)
Vegetables are a part of a healthy diet and an impressive vocabulary! Vegetales is the common Spanish word for “vegetables”, but you can also use the word verduras (vehr-doo-rahs). Next time you are making a salad or shopping for produce, encourage your child to recall the Spanish names of the vegetables you are using. Consider labeling these foods in Spanish next time you open your icebox:
Carrot – Zanahoria (sah-nah-oh-ryah)
Lettuce – Lechuga (leh-chu-gah)
Onion – Cebolla (seh-boy-yah)
Pepper – Pimiento (pee-mee-ehn-toh)
Tomato – Tomate (toh-mah-teh)
How To Promote Language Learning Through Food
Staple foods – Alimentos básicos (ah-lee-men-tohs bah-see-kohs):
Once your child has mastered fruits and vegetables, they can move on to some other essentials. You’ll find these staple foods in Spanish kitchens in both Spain and Latin America.
Corn – Maiz (mah-ees)
Rice – Arroz (ah-ros)
Beans – Frijol (free-hol)
Flour – Harina (ah-ree-nah)
Potato – Papa (pah-pah)
Bread – Pan (pahn)
LANGUAGE LEARNING TIP
Try making a torta or a fresh loaf of pan with some of these essential ingredients! Engaging your child in a hands-on baking activity will help them apply their knowledge in a practical and fun way. Every time you add an ingredient, ask your child to repeat the Spanish word for it.
Herbs and spices – Hierbas y especies (yer-bas ee eh-speh-see-yes):
Spices are an important part of any meal, and will add a kick to your child’s vocabulary!Pepper – Pimienta (pee-mee-en-tah)
Salt – Sal (sahl)
Cinnamon – Canela (cah-neh-lah)
Spanish Immersion And Food Vocabulary
Meat – Carne (kahr-neh)
In Spanish cultures, it’s common to eat meat for lunch or dinner. Even if your child is a vegetarian, this vocabulary will help them navigate restaurants and communicate with local food vendors.
Red meat – Carne (kahr-neh)
Beef – Carne de res (kahr-neh deh rehs)
Chicken – Pollo (poh-yo)
Pork – Carne de cerdo (kahr-neh deh sehr-doh)
Fish – Pescado (peh-skah-doh)
LANGUAGE LEARNING TIP
When your child learns about a new animal product, try drawing the associated animal and its Spanish name on the same flashcard. For example, if you are learning about leche, draw a small cow with the word vaca beneath it. This will help your child associate animals with the products they are learning about.
Egg – Huevo (weh-voh)
Milk – Leche (leh-cheh)
Cheese – Queso (keh-soh)
Language Learning and Food: The Perfect Match!
Who knew a kitchen could be a classroom too? By encouraging your child to learn Spanish food vocab, you’ll help them enjoy new cultures and incorporate learning into their everyday routines. While learning vocab is important, hiring a private tutor will help solidify your child’s knowledge and give them real-time feedback on their pronunciation. Ready to help your child learn Spanish in a natural and conversation-based atmosphere? Click HERE to join a small online LIVE session at TruFluency Kids Spanish today!