Translation:I eat meat and vegetables.
Yes, if you want to point out the topic is "meat and fish" you can use は. In this sentence, we omitted "私は" because the context is often clear, so the full sentence can be "私はにくとやさいをたべます。". In this sentence, the topic is "I," that is, you are talking about yourself. If you say "にくとやさいは食べます。" then the topic is "meat and vegetables," that is, you are talking about (or stress on) the food.
は is the topic marker so it indicates the focus of the sentence is on the thing before it and doesn't necessarily mean it is the object of the verb. A sentence like "魚は食べる" might interpreted as "Regarding the fish, [it/they] eat(s)" – i.e. the fish are the ones eating something – or it could mean "Regarding fish, [I/you/she/he/they] eat(s) them" – i.e. the fish are being eaten.
With "魚を食べる" on the other hand, the fish are definitely the ones being eaten.
In English, you only say that you do do something if you're adding emphasis.
"You don't eat meat and veggies."
"Yes, I do eat meat and veggies!"
Kind of a weird example, but you get the point.
The Japanese sentence, 肉と野菜を食べます, is constructed that way because 私 (I) eat 肉 (meat) and 野菜 (veggies). The 私は (は being the topic marker) is understood, so you don't need to put it in unless it isn't very clear from context. を marks the object of the sentence, in this case 肉と野菜.
(私は) [肉と野菜を] 食べます。
(わたしは) [にくとやさいを] たべます。
(I) eat [meat and veggies].
If you omit the 私, you also have to omit the は.
Don't worry, this all gets easier with time!
In this sentence, we omitted "私は" because the context is often clear, so the full sentence can be "私はにくとやさいをたべます。". In this sentence, the topic is "I," that is, you are talking about yourself, and actually this is the most general structure. If you say "にくとやさいは食べます。" that is also correct, but the topic is "meat and vegetables," that is, you are talking about (or stress on) the food, literally translated as "As for meat and vegetables, I eat them".
Is the order of the two things connected by と significant? That is, "I eat meat and vegetables" is a slightly different sentence in English than "I eat vegetables and meat", but looking at how different the word order is in Japanese makes me wonder if the placement of the two nouns has the same implications (i.e. that the first may be more significant).
A single character can have multiple pronunciations and so how you write it depends on what word you are trying to write. For example to write "食べる" (to eat) you would enter "taberu" if you're using romaji input or "たべる" if you're using kana input (e.g. the "flick" input on the Simeji keyboard). "ta" or "た" is one of the kun'yomi readings for "食". But the same character in "食事" (meal) has a completely different reading, so you would enter "shokuji" or "しょくじ". Here "しょく" is an on'yomi reading.
Unfortunately the text-to-speech isn't that great and sometimes it gives you the on'yomi when it should be the kun'yomi and vice versa. I would suggest you copy and paste the character into jisho.org to look up what it should be in the context you're trying to use it.
As a general rule of thumb when a single kanji is used by itself or with attached hiragana (like most verbs) it's the kun'yomi and if its a word with multiple kanji in a compound then you use the on'yomi. But there are many exceptions – "食" itself is one as that is read as "しょく" (on'yomi) when written by itself. There are even words where one of the kanji uses the on'yomi reading and the other uses the kun'yomi reading (e.g. "場所" is read as ばしょ where "場" takes the kun'yomi and "所" takes the on'yomi). Kanji often have multiple kun'yomi or on'yomi too. You kind of just have to learn the reading used for each word.
I have translated "I am eating meat and vegetables" and it marked it wrong. Why?
As far as I understand, を indicates the object of the sentence, differently from は, indicating the topic discussed. Is it correct? Can you tell me if I get the following examples right?
にくとやさいは食べます "(Regarding) meat and vegetables, I eat them" (meaning: in general, I eat meat and vegatbles)
にくとやさいをたべます "I eat meat and vegetables" (meaning (in this moment I am performing the action of eating)
It probably uses と so its easier to read the sentence in hiragana but it would be better to use や instead of と in the sentence as と suggests that you only eat meat and vegetables; nothing else. Wheres as 肉や野菜を食べます would suggest main examples of what you eat.
Its a small difference but one that I feel should be known about.
I've got a question I haven't seen come up yet. If i wanted to say I eat and drink something would you break it down with these same rules but have 'and' in between each?
Would you put the food and drink together and then put eat and drink verbs together?
Or is there some word I haven't been taught that's eating and drinking neutral, and how would you then form a sentence with that?
"I eat meat and vegetables" is correct but "I eat meat or vegetables" is not. Why is it not, if the same "to" hiragana character is used when asking for example "kore to kore wa masu ka?" and it translates "this one OR this one?" And how can I say then, "I eat meat OR vegetables"? Thank you so much.