A meal is an instance of eating, specifically one that takes place at a specific time and includes specific, prepared food. meals occur primarily at homes, restaurants, and cafeterias, but may occur anywhere. regular meals occur on a daily basis, typically several times a day. special meals are usually held in conjunction with such occasions as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and holidays. a meal is different from a snack in that meals are larger, more varied, and more filling than snacks.