This is one of my child's problems. That is he often eats cakes, snacks, etc before main meals (lunch, dinner) and therefore he has no appetite when coming to lunch / dinner.

My mother tongue is Vietnamese and we often say "Please spare your gut for dinner" (translated from Vietnamese into English). I am not sure it is ok to say like that. Native people may have some common / idiomatic expressions in this situation.

Note: I saw this expression by chance in the dictionary "Don't spoil your appetite by eating between meals."

  • I have never heard the "gut" phrase, but say your linked: "Don't spoil your appetite by eating between meals." – Weather Vane Jan 20 '20 at 12:38
  • Or, more succinctly, "Don't spoil your dinner!" – Kate Bunting Jan 20 '20 at 12:45

No - I've never heard this expression before (Native British English speaker). It is not "idiomatic".

Idiomatic alternatives would be:

Please save your appetite for dinner


Do not spoil your dinner/appetite.


Gut isn't very synonymous with appetite. Spare is also not a word you want to use unless significant suffering (not desire) is involved.

However, this sounds better:

Please save your stomach for dinner.

  • It isn't idiomatic English, though. – Kate Bunting Jan 20 '20 at 17:42

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