Mexican Eating Habits you Didn’t Know About

In the United States, most of us are accustomed to a timely schedule of breakfast, then lunch, followed by dinner.Mexican Eating Habits explained by Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurant! However, in the Mexican culture, eating habits are quite different. In the US we eat around our work schedule, while Mexicans work around their eating schedule. This traditional Mexican style of eating roots back to Spain. Portion sizes and meal times in Mexican culture are different than our usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Some may consider Mexican eating habits on a “delayed” schedule.

Not only are their eating patterns different, but their diet as well is also unique. Mexicans generally eat a traditional diet consisting of healthy foods, rich in taste. The article below from goes into detail about the eating habits of the Mexican culture.

Eating Customs in Mexico

Like in Spain, you can expect to eat your meals in Mexico on what seems like a delayed schedule- possibly due to centuries of Spanish influence. To help you adjust, here’s a quick run-down of what to eat and when to eat it!

El desayuno (Breakfast)

  • Between 7:00am and 10:00am
  • Breakfast in Mexico can range from a simple cup of coffee to a huge spread featuring “huevos rancheros” (corn tortillas filled with fried eggs and a sauce of chili, tomato & onion).
  • Popular breakfast foods include sweet breads, tropical fruits, toast, granola and yogurt.

La comida (Lunch)

  • Between 1:30pm and 4:00pm
  • In Mexico, lunch is the main meal of the day- expect to eat a lot!
  • La comida typically consists of an appetizer, a soup or salad and the main course: seafood, meat or poulty, rice and/ or beans and of course some hot tortillas.
  • Get ready to chat before, during and after eating, as lunch tends to be a leisurely meal

La Cena (Dinner)

  • Between 8:00pm and 9:00pm.
  • Eaten in the evening, la cena is the lighter meal of the day in Mexico, often consisting of soup or tacos.

Mexican Eating Customs: Tipping

By law, a 15% IVA (value-added tax) is tacked on to all restaurant checks. However, unbeknownst to many European travelers from countries in which gratuities are included in restaurant tabs, in Mexico this isn’t the case. So, unless you want to risk angering a few waiters, the rule of thumb is to leave behind a 15% tip.

Mexican Eating Customs: Celebrations

Whether it be a family party or a national holiday, food – particularly those infamous “tamales” – plays a major role in pretty much every Mexican celebration. One of Mexico’s most important holidays, “El Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), places a huge emphasis on food. Families bake or buy special sweet bread known as “pan de muertos,” or bread of the dead.

The traditional eating habits of Mexicans cater to a lifestyle around their work and daily activities. While our hefty meal is dinner, Mexicans eat small portions during dinner time. In the Mexican culture, work ceases during the middle of the day (similar to our lunch break but for a longer period of time). Lunch is the biggest meal in the Mexican culture; it’s a leisure time to talk with friends and family. A Mexican breakfast can range from something light to a huge spread of food. From tipping to celebrations, Mexican culture brings a different set of habits than we are accustomed to in the United States.

At Ixtapa, we incorporate Mexican traditions, but we still suit our meals to follow American habits (a light lunch and big dinner). Our Mexican meals may not follow eating habits of traditional Mexico, but we include authentic Mexican flavors. If you have any questions about meals offered at Ixtapa, feel free to contact our locations!


  1. wow, I found a lot of information I hope that will impress my Spanish teacher, because I am doing a report on Mexican food, and the wed site helped a lot for me.


  3. Hey this helped a lot I’m doing a project on Mexican food I hope I get a good grade

  4. This information was SO helpful for my home economics assignment 🙂 Thanks!

  5. Thanks, Helped soo much!!!! I had to research differences in spainsh meals and got all the answers in one website!!! Thanks again

  6. This helped a lot but, can you tell me where I can find more information on eating customs for celebrations? I am looking for special occasions like a wedding, funeral or a baby being born. Any input is appreciated. Thank you.

    • Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina says:

      Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your suggestion! We will try to cover this in future articles.

  7. Gracias por su ayuda 🙂