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Mexican Eating Habits

Mexican FoodReforma did a national “encuesta” (survey) of Mexican eating habits in May, and here are some of their results.

General: Mexicans drink lots of milk, like salty foods more than sweet foods, eat an average of 6 tortillas every day, and have a traditional domestic diet: soup, rice and stew, without leaving out salsa and beans…

Daily Bread

94% of Mexicans eat lunch every day, followed by 78% for breakfast and only 64% for dinner.

Weekly Foods

87% of the population eats chicken at least once a week, followed by red meat (79%), eggs (77%), milk products (66%), and fish (43%).

Lunch Time

Almost nobody eats before 1 pm (4%). 21% of the population eats between 1 and 2 pm, while 74% of the population eats between 2 and 3 pm or after 3 pm (about 37% each). In the center of the country where I am going, fully 47% of the population eats lunch after 3 pm!

Time to Lunch

Although you usually think of Mexican lunches as being rather leisurely affairs, the statistics show that only 5% of lunches go beyond an hour, with 57% of lunches going from 30 to 60 minutes and 37% taking less than 30 minutes. Where I will live, 7% go beyond and hour, 68% go 30 to 60 minutes (the highest percentage in the country), and 25% go less than 30 minutes (the lowest percentage in the country).

Dinner Time

Nationally, the largest portion of the population eats dinner between 8 and 9 pm (39%), followed by after 9 pm (37%) and before 8 pm (22%). In Mexico city, about 40% eat between 8 and 9, nearly the same percentage as those who eat after 9 pm.

Putting it On, Or In

77% of the population has tortillas with their food daily, while 58% put salsa on their food each day and 46% have a ration of beans.

What Kind of Tortilla Would You Like?

86% of the population generally eats only corn tortillas. The central part of the country (including Mexico City) is the most given over to corn tortillas, with 91% almost always sticking with maiz. Too bad for me – I like flour tortillas much better.

Favorite Fruit

The apple is the favorite fruit of Mexicans, cited as the best by 22% of those surveyed. It is followed by the papaya at 15%. In the center part of the country, apple and papaya are tied for first at 18% of the population.

Favorite Vegetable

Lettuce is the vegetable most frequently consumed nationally at 18%, but is followed closely by broccoli (17%) and carrots (17%). In central Mexico, broccoli is the most frequently consumed vegetable (18%). My favorite Mexican vegetable, squash, was only cited by 8% of the population as their most frequent vegetable, but happily 10% of central Mexicans said they ate it the most.


43% of the population says they snack between meals, and of those, the largest proportion snack on fruit (45%), followed by junk food (16%).


Central Mexico has the lowest proportion of people that drink soda daily (12%) or one or more times per week (55%). The northern folk are most prone to drink soft drinks, where 35% report drinking soda daily and 70% say they have a refresco one or more times per week.

Where Did You Get That Water?

72% from a garrafon (large container of purified water)
10% from the faucet (yikes – dangerous!)
8% from bottles (expensive)
5% from the tap through a filter (that’s probably me)
5% boiled (if you can’t afford the filter and can afford the time)

And For Dessert…

21% like flan the best, followed by gelatinous sweets (12%), cake (11%), fruit (9%) and ice cream (9%).

What Would You Like For Dinner?

Most people in Mexico just have a milk product and bread for dinner – having something to eat while watching TV is the key criteria for success en la cena.

There are more stats in there, but that’s all we have time to report today! Perhaps later we’ll return and talk about the consequences of this kind of diet and suggestions that have been offered to improve it. Perhaps!


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