Everyday conversations: Healthy eating! [audio]


Six students from around the world meet. What do they have in common? They are all exchange students studying at a U.S. university for a semester. Throughout the semester, they learn more English, learn about U.S. culture, and learn more about their fields of study. This series of Everyday Conversations is about these six students and their experiences during a semester at a university in the U.S. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

Three students (Ajay, Jana and Lucía) discuss healthy eating and exercise.

Ajay: Lucía, as an athlete, how do you stay fit and healthy?

Jana: I’d like to know too! I’ve heard so many people talking about the dreaded freshman 15.

Ajay: Me too. And the all-nighters that I’ve pulled haven’t helped. I get hungry when I stay up all night studying.

Lucía: Well, I can relate to that. I often snack when I study. The key is to choose healthy foods. I try to snack on vegetables a lot.

Ajay: But where do you buy them? You can’t buy produce in vending machines.

Jana: I get vegetables from the salad bar in the dining hall. Healthy eating isn’t such a problem for me. My problem is staying motivated to exercise. How do you do it?

Lucía: Well, I have my teammates. We help one another stay motivated.

Ajay: So I should get a running partner. Hey Jana, do you want to run with me tomorrow morning?

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

The word dreaded is an adjective and means causing fear. It can be used seriously (such as, a dreaded disease) or humorously (such as, my dreaded homework).

Freshman 15 is an expression used in the U.S. that refers to the number of pounds (15) students may gain during their first year of college. (Fifteen pounds equals nearly seven kilograms.) This number is not based on research, but many people refer to freshman 15 as a real and accurate amount.

An all-nighter is a night during which a person stays awake the entire time (often studying) instead of sleeping. To pull an all-nighter means to stay up all night, often studying.

A vending machine is a machine into which one puts money in order to receive drinks, food, etc.

Produce: fresh fruits and vegetables.

A salad bar is a place in a restaurant or dining hall with fresh vegetables, etc., where people can easily make their own salads.

A dining hall is a large room in a school, university, etc., where meals are served and many people can eat at the same time.

When a person is motivated, he or she is eager to do something and work hard to succeed.

Ready to learn more English? Our materials can help.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.