Slow English

Podcasts about Australia for intermediate learners of English

Podcast 54 – What Australians Eat


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Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack
Podcast Number 54 – What Australians Eat


When it comes to food, I think Australians are amongst the luckiest people in the world. High quality food is relatively cheap here and there is plenty of it. What is more, you can buy just about any type of food you can think of and it is always fresh. So it’s a little surprising to find out that our diet is not as healthy as it could be. In fact, over the last 15 years, it seems that Australians are increasingly choosing foods which are not good for their health, mainly in the form of fast food. In this podcast I would like to tell you a little about what Australians eat.

Australians take it for granted that, if you are hungry, just make a visit to the local supermarket and there you will find everything that you need, always fresh and really quite cheap.


Fresh fruit and vegetables are always available, depending of course on what is ‘in season’ at the time. I love to eat fresh fruit and our weekly groceries always include fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi fruit and often fresh berries when in season. I love to make a fresh fruit salad which can last 2 or more days in the fridge. It’s great for a snack, as well as for dessert at meal times. Fresh meat is also readily available, such as beef, chicken, pork, fish and every other type of meat you can think of. Chicken is probably my family’s favourite meat, especially the breast meat which is great for using in stir fries and other dishes. There is also nothing better than a juicy beef steak cooked on a barbeque. We have a gas barbeque on our back porch where we often barbeque meat for our evening meal. Meat somehow tastes better when it’s been barbequed outside on a warm summer evening. Add a mixed salad and perhaps some microwaved vegetables such as corn or potatoes and you have the perfect evening meal.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to find out that, over the last 15 years, more and more Australians are eating less and less fruit and vegetables. In fact, in the recent Australian Health Survey, it was found that we are eating around 30% less of these. On an average day, around 1 in 4 Australians eat no vegetables at all. What is more, only 7% of Australians eat the recommended amount of vegetables, which for adults is 5 serves. The survey shows that the average Australian gets around 35% of their energy from highly processed foods such as alcohol, cakes, lollies, cereal bars, pastries, biscuits and soft drinks. Hmm, not exactly good for you and nothing like fruit and vegetables.

One of the reasons for our move away from fresh foods is our love of fast food. In fact, in 2013, 55% of Australians visited a fast food restaurant in any 4 week period. Many Australians visited a lot more frequently than that. So what are the most popular fast food restaurants in Australia? According to the Roy Morgan Research organization, the most popular is McDonalds, which sells hamburgers and a range of other fast food. Second is KFC which sells fried chicken.


Third is Subway which sells different types of bread rolls filled with different meats and salad.


Fourth is Hungry Jack’s, which sells hamburgers and is similar to McDonalds. Fifth is Domino’s Pizza, which obviously sells Pizza. Regular customers of these fast food restaurants use them a lot. For example, McDonalds customers, on average, visit them around 2.7 times in any 4 week period. Subway customers go around 2.3 times and Hungry Jack’s customers visit 2.2 times. These are averages, so many people are visiting a lot more often than this.

Australians obviously love their fast food. It is so convenient and, unlike home cooking, it requires no effort, other than getting yourself down to the local fast food restaurant. It also tastes pretty good because it is usually high in fat. Eating too much fat will actually make you overweight because it’s high in calories. Being overweight, or worse still, obese, is a serious issue for your health and is a major and increasing health problem in Australia. 3 out of 5 people in Australia are overweight or obese and for children it is 1 in 4. Eating more fruit and vegetables helps to stop you from becoming overweight, since they are much lower in calories, especially vegetables. In addition, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables in the right amounts can help prevent a whole range of serious diseases. According to the World Health Organisation, a diet high in fruit and vegetables can help prevent such serious diseases as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Personally, my wife and I do sometimes go to a fast food restaurant like McDonalds or to Subway.


McDonalds now have some healthier alternatives like warm chicken salad, which is low in calories and made with lots of fresh vegetables. The other thing I like about McDonalds is that they tell you how many calories each meal has. So it is possible to buy something at McDonalds which is low in fat and low in calories. Subway is another restaurant I like to buy from. They also tell you how many calories each meal has and they use fresh ingredients with large amounts of salad.

Australians really have no excuse for not having a healthy diet. It just requires the right decisions when deciding what you put into your mouth.

If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Or, you can send me an email at I would love to hear from you. Tell me where you live, a little bit about yourself and what you think of my Slow English podcast. I will write back to you, in English of course. If you would like to take a short quiz to see if you have understood this podcast, you will also find it on my website. Goodbye until next time.


Podcast 54 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?

You can take the quiz as many times as you like.


amongst = to be with others
alternatives = another way of doing something
average = normal
barbeque = a way to cook food, usually outside
berries = a type of fruit
breast meat = the meat from the chest of a chicken
calories = a way to measure how much energy is in food
cereal bars = a type of food made from cereal
choosing = to make a decision
convenient = when something is easy to make or to buy. It needs very little effort
corn = a type of vegetable, yellow in colour
depending = when one thing changes because of another
dessert = that part of the meal that you have last, usually sweet. For example, ice cream or apple pie
diet = what people eat
energy = your body uses energy to live. You make energy with the food you eat.
excuse = the reason you give for not doing something
fast food = food that is made in a restaurant and you don’t have to wait long for it
frequently = often
fresh = when something is new or has just been prepared
fridge = a short way of saying ‘refrigerator’
fried = cooked in oil
groceries = the food that you buy for your family
hamburgers = a type of food made from a bun with meat
in addition = as well as
in season = that time of the year when certain fruit and vegetables are growing
include = as well as
increasingly = more and more
ingredients = the different foods that you use to cook something
juicy = when something has a lot of juice and it tastes good
kiwi = a type of fruit
lollies = sweets
luckiest = to have a lot of luck, more luck than other people
microwaved = when something is cooked in a microwave oven
mixed = when there are more than one type
obese = very fat
obviously = when something can be easily seen or understood
overweight = when you are fat
plenty = lots of something
porch = a small flat area at the back or front of a house, with a roof but no walls
prevent = stop
processed = changed
recommended amount = the amount that an expert tells you in the right amount
readily = easily
relatively = when compared to other things of the same type
requires = needs
serious diseases = sicknesses that are dangerous
snack = something that you eat between the main meals of the day
stir fries = a way to cook food with a wok (in this case, plural)
surprising = when you don’t expect something
survey = when the same questions are asked to many people. For example, what food do you eat?
take it for granted = when something is there and you always expect it to be there
variety = many different types
worse still = when something is not as good


  1. Hi Rob,

    you are doing a great job, mate, congrats on your website & FB site.
    I am very pleased and grateful.


  2. I restart the quiz on and on, but my best score is 8. Your explanation on question no.8 helps me understanding more and I can answer the question correctly. Thanks Mr. Rob

    • Hi Lufti Annisa,
      Many thanks for your message. You are doing well on the quiz if you can get 8 out of 10. If you can understand my explanation for question 8, then your English is very good. Well done.
      Have a great day.

  3. Hi Rob,

    This lesson make me hungry. Many thanks for your hard working. I have a suggest, should you make more podcast tell about other city and state in Australia ?. I think When we mention to Australia ,almost foreign people know Melbourne and Sydney, Victoria and New South Wales state,however we don’t know much about Perth, Brisbane, Canberra,… or Queensland, West Australia state. Of course we can find these information easily on internet but it will be better and more interested if audience can do both learn English and know more about Australia

    • Hi Tuyen,
      Many thanks for your comment. I am pleased you find my podcasts useful. That’s a great suggestion you have made. I have lived in both Canberra and Perth, and I have visited Brisbane, so I k now quite a bit about them. I will do a podcast about one of those. Great idea!
      Have a great day!

  4. Hi, Rob:
    I have a question about Question 9.
    According to article 3 out of 5 people in Australia are overweight or obese and question is 3 out of 5 Australians are obese. or mean each one could be right, am I right? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your excellent comment. Being overweight means that your Body Mass Index is from 25 to less than 30. Being obese means that your Body Mass Index is 30 or more. The podcast says that 3 out of 5 Australians are either overweight or obese. That’s around 12 million Australians. Some of them are overweight, and others are obese. Now Question 8 says that 3 out of 5 people in Australia are obese. That can’t be true, since some of those 12 million (3 out of 5 Australians) are only overweight. So Question 8 must be False, since not all of them are obese. I hope that makes sense. Thanks again for your great question. You are doing really well Paul. Have a great day.

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