A cultural group provides guidelines regarding acceptable foods, food combinations, eating patterns, and eating behaviors.
Compliance with these guidelines creates a sense of identity and belonging for the individual.
In either case there must also be proper disposal facilities to avoid environmental and health problems.
There are innumerable flavors and food combinations.
Etiquette and eating rituals also vary depending on whether the meal is formal, informal, or special (such as a meal on a birthday or religious holiday).
A meal is usually defined as the consumption of two or more foods in a structured setting at a set time.
The more a person is exposed to a food—and encouraged to eat it—the greater the chances that the food will be accepted.
As the exposure to a food increases, the person becomes more familiar and less fearful of the food, and acceptance may develop.
The components of a meal vary across cultures, but generally include grains, such as rice or noodles; meat or a meat substitute, such as fish, beans, or tofu; and accompaniments, such as vegetables.
Various food guides provide suggestions on foods to eat, portion sizes, and daily intake.