What Did Ancient Times People Eat?

In ancient times, people’s diets were vastly different from what we eat today. Without the convenience of modern farming and transportation, ancient people had to rely on locally available food sources. Let’s explore what people ate in the past.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians ate a diet that was primarily vegetarian. They consumed bread made from wheat, barley, and emmer.

Vegetables like beans, lentils, onions, cucumbers, and garlic were also a part of their daily meals. Fruits such as figs and dates were eaten as desserts. The wealthy Egyptians could afford to add meat to their diet; they ate beef, mutton, goat meat, and pork.

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks had a varied diet that consisted of grains like barley and wheat. They also consumed vegetables such as onions, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Fruits like grapes and olives were a staple in their diet. Meat was considered a luxury item and was only consumed during special occasions.

Ancient Rome

The ancient Romans had a diverse diet that included grains like wheat and barley. Vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic were also commonly eaten.

Fruits like apples and grapes were consumed in abundance. The wealthy Romans could afford to eat meat regularly; they ate beef, pork, lamb, goat meat, chicken, and even snails.

Ancient China

The ancient Chinese primarily ate rice along with vegetables like cabbage, soybeans, peas, onions and garlic. They consumed small amounts of meat such as pork or chicken for flavoring rather than as the main course.

Ancient India

Ancient Indians followed a vegetarian diet that consisted mainly of rice along with lentils or dals which provided them with essential proteins. Vegetables like cabbage, spinach, and potatoes were also a part of their daily meals. They also ate fruits like mangoes and bananas.


In conclusion, ancient people’s diets varied greatly based on their location and socio-economic status. However, one thing that remains constant is that the food they consumed was locally sourced and unprocessed. By exploring what our ancestors ate, we can learn about the importance of a diverse and healthy diet.