# If someone is eating food before a meal to whet his appetite many poskim hold that the birkat hamazon covers those foods even prior to the meal and as such one should not recite a bracha achrona.<ref>Mishna Brurah 176:2:3</ref> However, since this is a dispute one should avoid eating more than a kezayit before the meal.<ref>Shaar Hatziyun 176:9</ref> Examples of this include wine, liquor, or salty foods before a meal.<ref>Mishna Brurah 176:2:3, Vezot Habracha (p. 81)</ref> This exemption only works if one eats these foods immediately before the meal<ref>Mishna Brurah 174:24</ref>, such as within fifteen minutes.<ref>Vezot Habracha (p. 81)</ref>
# If one drinks a drink before a meal one should not make a bracha achrona if one is going to drink during the meal. If one is not going to drink during the meal one should recite a bracha achrona.<ref>Mishna Brurah 174:25, Vezot Habracha (p. 82). The Magen Avraham 174:14 writes that according to those who require a bracha rishona on drinks in a meal the drink before the meal is coming to exempt the bracha of the drinks in the meal and as such doesn't require a bracha achrona. Additionally, according to the Baal Hameor for any drink that one continues to drink in the meal it would not require a bracha achrona since it is considered like one long drinking. Vezot Habracha proves from the Shaar Hatziyun 174:38 that the main reason to accept the Magen Avraham is the first reason and not the second one.</ref> However, wine and
liquor whet a person's appetite and don't require a bracha achrona before the meal.<Ref>Biur Halacha 174:6 s.v. v'afilu</ref>
# According to Ashkenazim, if a person ate [[Pat Haba Bekisnin]] such as cake before the meal since birkat hamazon might cover the [[Pat Haba Bekisnin]] no bracha achrona is recited on the cake before the meal.<ref>Mishna Brurah 176:2. Biur Halacha explains that since every definition of Pat Haba Bekisnin is questionable whether it is bread and if it is bread then certainly birkat hamazon covers it, one should not recite a bracha achrona on it before the meal.</ref> Some Ashkenazim argue to make a bracha.<ref>Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe 3:33 writes that cakes nowadays are so filled with a majority of sugar, oil, and sweeteners in comparison to the flour that they are certainly [[Pat Haba Bekisnin]]. If so, there is no question that they aren't bread and birkat hamazon doesn't exempt them.